Banana Sticky Rice Cakes

Floating market
Damnoen Saduak floating market, Samutsongkram province, Thailand. TAMVISUT / Getty Images
  • 50 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Ratings

A common, naturally low-fat dessert and snack in southern Thailand, these banana rice cakes are wrapped in banana leaves and then baked in the oven (or barbecued, as in Thailand, if you have the right weather!). This Thai recipe is easy and fun to make - just pick up some banana leaves (fresh or frozen) and some sweet rice at your local Asian food store. The rest you should already have in your kitchen. It makes a great potluck or party food!

What You'll Need

  • 1 package banana leaves (fresh or frozen; if frozen, thaw for at least 1 hour)
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup Thai sweet rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

How to Make It

  1. First, make the rice. Place rice in a pot together with the coconut milk, water, salt and brown sugar. Turn heat to high or medium-high. Stir until the coconut milk has dissolved and mixed with the water and rice.
  2. When coconut-water reaches a bubbling boil, stir to loosen any rice stuck to the bottom of the pot. Turn down heat to medium-low (around #2.5 on the dial, if your stove has numbers). Half-cover with a lid and simmer like this for 20 minutes, or until most of the coconut-water has been absorbed.
  1. Turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner. Cover completely with the lid and allow to continue "steam" cooking on its own for another 10 minutes. Leave to cool completely, or if you're in a hurry, put the pot in the refrigerator.
  2. When rice has cooled, you're ready to wrap. Lay out a banana leaf approximately 1-foot square. You can cut the leaves if they are too big.
  3. Peel one of the bananas and lay it along one end of the leaf: this is how long your cake roll will need to be (you will want to have enough leaf left on either side of the banana to tie it later). Remove the banana and scoop some of the cooled rice onto the leaf, patting it down to approx. ½ inch thick, and as long or longer than the banana. You will also want to make this rice "bed" twice as wide as the banana (so that when you roll it, the rice will completely surround the banana).
  4. When you're finished making the rice bed, lay the banana on it, pressing it gently into the rice (you can break the banana in half to keep the roll straight).
  5. Lifting up the banana leaf, begin to roll so that the rice completely surrounds the banana. Tuck the leaf under and continue rolling until you reach the end of the leaf. Try to roll as tightly as possible.
  6. Secure each of the 2 ends with string (it will look like a firecracker). Place the roll in the refrigerator and leave to set for at least 2 hours, or overnight. You should have enough rice left for one more roll.
  7. When ready to eat, heat the roll in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 325 degrees, or barbecue it, turning the roll to cook on all sides (banana leaf will turn brown).
  1. Serve by opening up the banana leaf and then slicing the rice roll into 2-3 inch sections. Remove from leaf and eat as is, or roll the rice "cakes" in dry sweetened shredded [baking] coconut (either plain or toasted).