Textures excite me. Chewy, sticky, crunchy are types of textures that make me fall in love with a particular food or ingredient. Tonight I decided to explore a new dessert featuring ‘sticky rice’. Sticky rice is a particular type of glutinous rice that exudes much more starch and therefore has a ‘sticky’ consistency. Under the right circumstances, it can be downright glue.
Joe worked late again (i.e. tax season), so I had plenty of time to play around in the kitchen. I contemplated what to do with several bananas destined to turn brown any day. I didn’t feel like cake or muffins, nothing that soft interested me. I wanted something chewy and with substance. I remembered there was a bag of sticky rice in the cupboard from the last time I tried to make a mango sticky rice dessert. The bells went off in my head and I decided to combine the two together.
Banana sticky rice is actually a Thai dessert steamed in a banana leaf. I made it without banana leaves, as I didn’t have any on hand (actually, I’ve never had them on hand). I really wanted to add the element of crunch, so I thought a blend of toasted coconut and nuts would go nicely as a topping. And, while I was at it, I thought maybe a dipping sauce could be fun (i.e. kinda like dessert sushi).
So, if there are any Thai people reading this, I apologize. I apologize for adding a crunchy topping and dipping sauce to your dessert, and for referring to it as dessert sushi. But, it really turned out good …
Banana sticky rice w/cinnamon coconut sauce
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1 cup glutinous rice (uncooked)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
dash of cayenne
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Begin by heating sugars, salt, 1 cup of coconut milk, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of rice in a pot over medium heat. Stir rice while bringing to a full boil, then partially cover and cook for 20 minutes or until moisture is fully evaporated. Leave pot on the stove but turn off the burner. Give the rice a stir. Place the lid fully on the pot and allow the rice to self steam for 10 minutes. Remove lid and allow to cool to room temperature.
Take a piece of foil about 1 foot wide and place half the rice mixture onto it, creating a square about 1/2″ thick. The rice should be the same length as your banana. Place banana at one end of rice and use the foil to roll the banana up until the sticky rice is fully wrapped around the banana. Seal both ends and place into a steamer. Repeat with remaining mixture and banana. Steam over medium heat for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature. I placed mine into the freezer for about 30 minutes.
To create the dipping sauce, combine the remaining cup of coconut milk, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, cayenne and 2 tablespoons white sugar. Bring to a boil and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
For the topping, place coconut, almonds, and sesame seeds on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 350 oven for 7-10 minutes, or until mix becomes lightly browned.
I tried unwrapping one of the rice rolls and realized it probably wasn’t going to work. It was very sticky and started to fall apart. I rolled it back up in the foil, then used a sharp knife to slice it into pieces. The foil gave it the stability it needed and cutting was much easier. Before serving, I sprinkled the tops with a bit of the topping. You can either drizzle the top with sauce or dip the roll into the sauce.
I’m not a huge banana lover, especially when the bananas are heated. However, this was so freaking good — seriously, I loved this. The rice is sweet, sticky and chewy, while the banana is soft and creamy. The topping adds a bit of a toasty crunch and sends it over the top. It was so good that I forgot to use the sauce at first. The sauce adds another dimension and was good too.
I will make this again — it would work great for entertaining. When Joe came home, he was tired and beat from such a long work week. He saw the plate of banana sticky rice and his eyes lit up. He tried a piece and loved it too, which is saying alot because he’s not a huge fan of sweets.
Oooops — when I first published this I forgot to mention I also added a dash of cayenne to the dipping sauce. I like the spicy-sweet combination.