Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sauteed Bananas in Coconut Rice

This morning's breakfast started out as a recipe for a Thai "dessert." The Thais normally have fresh fruit to conclude their meals, but enjoy sweets - what we would call dessert - as snacks to tide them over until the next meal. For that reason, Thai sweet dishes tend to be too rich and filling to be eaten with a regular meal, but I thought it would be just right for breakfast.

The original recipe was for bananas stewed in coconut milk with a lot of sugar. For my adaptation, I started by cooking two servings of sprouted brown rice (four ounces dry) in the rice cooker. While that was steaming, I simmered half a cup of coconut milk with a knot of crushed lemongrass. I added Muscovado to the coconut milk a pinch at a time and can't have put in more than a teaspoon total. Because the Thais like their sweets salty, I added five or six drops of fish sauce. When the rice was ready, I sliced and sauteed three ripe bananas with a little butter and a pinch of Muscovado. I scooped the rice into a little mound in each bowl, poured on the lemongrass-infused sweetened coconut milk, arranged the bananas on top, and garnished it with cilantro.

This was sweeter than I expected for something with so little added sugar. The saltiness of the fish sauce was undetectable as such, but accented all the other flavors beautifully. The natural sweetness of the bananas and the richness of the lemongrass-infused coconut milk made this a very filling breakfast.

Many traditional societies use coconut milk liberally and enjoy good health. Coconut milk is not only delicious, but an excellent natural source of lauric acid, which helps our bodies fight infection. Enjoy!

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