Monday, May 03, 2010



Source: Planet Barbecue by Steven Raichlen (Workman, 2010)
Method: Direct grilling
Advanced preparation: The sauce can be prepared a day ahead.
Serves: 4

To paraphrase Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, if you grill it, they
will come. Such is the case for a Bangkok grill mistress named
Saisuwan. Five years ago, she scraped together enough cash to set up a
pushcart on Chareunkrung Road behind the Sheraton Hotel. Her grilling
skills became so legendary, guidebooks from all over the world sing
her praises. Saisuwan serves just one dish—but what a dish—grilled
bananas slathered with coconut-caramel sauce. You can eat them for
breakfast, as a snack, or for dessert—and the moment you finish,
you'll very likely find yourself returning for seconds. And if you
happen to find yourself near the Sheraton Hotel in Bangkok, you'll
recognize Saisuwan by her trademark white cap—and by sweet scent of
bananas grilling over coconut shell charcoal.

For the coconut-caramel sauce:
1/2 cup palm sugar or light brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
8 apple bananas or 4 conventional bananas

You'll also need: flat bamboo skewers (optional)

1. Make the coconut-caramel sauce. Combine the palm sugar and coconut
milk in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking
to dissolve the sugar. Briskly simmer the mixture until thick, dark
brown, and very flavorful, about 5 minutes, whisking often. Remove the
pan from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Place
the sauce in a deep bowl. It can be prepared up to a day ahead and
refrigerated, covered. Let the coconut-caramel sauce return to room
temperature before using.

2. Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high.

3. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Peel the bananas
and skewer them through one end, if desired. Grill the bananas until
they are lightly browned and partially cooked, 1 to 2 minutes per
side. Dip the bananas in the coconut-caramel sauce (That's where the
skewer comes in handy) or brush the bananas on all sides, using a
basting brush, and return them to the grill. Continue grilling the
bananas until they are golden browned and sizzling, 1 to 3 minutes per
side longer. (Use a bamboo skewer to test for doneness; it should
easily pierce the banana.)
4. Transfer the bananas to a platter or bowls. Spoon the remaining
coconut-caramel sauce.

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