Top Cambodian Banana Desserts
Cambodian cuisine is known for its unique flavors and the creative use of ingredients. One particular ingredient that shines in Cambodian desserts is bananas. Banana is not only a delicious and healthy fruit but also a versatile ingredient that can be transformed into mouthwatering desserts.
In this article, we'll explore some of the top Cambodian banana desserts that you must try when visiting this beautiful Southeast Asian country.
1. Rolled Banana Rice Cake (Num Ansom Chek)
Rolled Banana Rice Cake, also known as Num Ansom Chek, is a delicious and traditional Cambodian dessert. It is a popular treat enjoyed during special occasions and festivals, particularly during the Khmer New Year.
This delightful dessert showcases the unique flavors of sticky rice, bananas, and coconut, all wrapped in banana leaves and steamed to perfection.
Rolled Banana Rice Cake (Credit: Luke Nguyen)
The preparation of Rolled Banana Rice Cake involves a few key ingredients. Sticky rice, also known as glutinous rice, is the main component. This type of rice has a sticky texture when cooked, making it perfect for this dessert.
Ripe bananas are used to provide a natural sweetness and a soft, creamy texture to the filling.
- Sticky rice: This is the primary ingredient in Num Ansom Chek, which helps bind the cake together. Rice is soaked and then cooked until it becomes soft and sticky.
- Ripe Bananas: The bananas are mashed and mixed with other ingredients to create a smooth and flavorful filling.
- Coconut Milk: Coconut milk adds richness and a delightful tropical flavor to Num Ansom Chek. The creamy coconut milk complements the sticky rice and bananas, enhancing the overall taste of the dessert.
- Banana Leaves: Banana leaves are an essential component of Num Ansom Chek as they are used to wrap the cake before it is steamed. The leaves impart a subtle aroma to the dessert and help keep the ingredients moist during the cooking process.
How to Cook
Step 1. Drain the soaked sticky rice and rinse it with fresh water until the water runs clear then drain well. Mix glutinous rice with coconut meat and some coconut milk.
Step 2. Steam banana leaves for a few seconds to make it more pliable. Place a spoonful of cooked sticky rice on the banana leaf, spreading it out into a thin layer. Then peel the banana and place it onto the rice layer.
Step 3. Carefully roll the banana leaf, tightly enclosing the filling. Secure the ends with cooking twine or toothpicks.
Step 4. Place the rolls in a pot and boil over medium heat for about 30 - 40 minutes until the flavors meld together. Once cooked, remove the rolls from the steamer and let them cool slightly.
Rolled Banana Rice Cake Cooking Steps
2. Fried Banana Fritters (Chek Chien)
Fried Banana Fritters, also known as Chek Chien, is a popular and delightful Cambodian snack. These golden, crispy treats feature ripe bananas coated in a sweet batter and fried to perfection.
The combination of the naturally sweet bananas and the crispy outer layer makes Chek Chien an irresistible treat for dessert lovers.
Fried Banana Fritters
In Cambodian cuisine, Chek Chien is a beloved street food and a common sight at local markets and food stalls. It is a simple yet delicious dessert that can be enjoyed on its own or served with a drizzle of honey, a dusting of powdered sugar, or a scoop of ice cream for an extra indulgent touch.
- Ripe Bananas: Choose bananas that are fully ripe, with yellow or slightly speckled skins. Ripe bananas not only provide a natural sweetness but also have a soft and creamy texture that works perfectly in the fritters.
- All-Purpose Flour: All-purpose flour is used to create the batter for the fritters. It helps to coat the banana slices evenly and provides a light and crispy texture when fried.
- Rice Flour: Rice flour is often combined with all-purpose flour to enhance the crispiness of the fritters. It adds a delicate crunch to the exterior of the fritters.
- Sugar: Sugar is an essential ingredient for adding sweetness to the batter. The amount of sugar can be adjusted according to personal preference.
- Water: Water is used to create the batter by combining it with flour and sugar. The amount of water may vary depending on the preferred consistency of the batter.
- Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil is used for frying the banana fritters.
How to Cook
Step 1. Combine the all-purpose flour, rice flour, and sugar. Mix well to ensure all the dry ingredients are evenly incorporated. Gradually add water to the dry ingredients while whisking. Continue whisking until a smooth batter forms.
Step 2. Peel the ripe bananas and cut them into halves or quarters, depending on your desired size for the fritters.
Step 3. Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan over medium heat. The oil should be deep enough to fully submerge the banana slices. Dip each banana slice into the prepared batter, ensuring it is evenly coated on all sides. Cook the banana fritters for about 2 - 3 minutes on each side, until they turn golden brown and crispy.
Step 4. Once cooked, remove the fritters from the oil, and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
Fried Banana Fritters Cooking Steps
3. Banana and Tapioca Pearl Pudding (Chak Ktiss)
Banana and Tapioca Pearl Pudding, also known as Chak Ktiss, is a creamy and comforting Cambodian dessert that combines the delightful flavors of ripe bananas and chewy tapioca pearls.
This traditional dessert is loved for its smooth and luscious texture, as well as its natural sweetness.
Banana And Tapioca Pearl Pudding (Credit: Robert Danhi)
- Ripe Bananas: You should choose bananas that are fully ripe, with yellow skins and a sweet aroma.
- Tapioca Pearls: Tapioca pearls are small, translucent balls made from tapioca starch. They add a delightful chewiness and texture to the pudding, can be found in most Asian grocery stores.
- Coconut Milk: Coconut milk is a rich and creamy liquid extracted from grated coconut. It adds a luscious and tropical flavor to the pudding while providing a smooth and silky texture. You can look for canned coconut milk.
- Sugar: Sugar is used to sweeten the pudding. The amount of sugar can be adjusted according to personal preference and the natural sweetness of the bananas.
- Aromatic Ingredient: You can add vanilla extract to enhance the flavor and aroma. This optional ingredient adds a subtle and pleasant fragrance to the pudding.
How to Cook
Step 1. Slice the ripe bananas into small pieces.
Step 2. Cook the tapioca pearls according to the package instructions. Cook them until they turn transparent and tender. Add the bananas, coconut milk, and sugar. Stir well until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. If using vanilla extract for added flavor, you can add them at this stage.
Step 3. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Stir continuously to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Step 4. Continue simmering the pudding for about 5 - 10 minutes, or until it thickens to a creamy consistency. Keep stirring to avoid lumps and ensure even cooking. Once the pudding has thickened, remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly.
Banana And Tapioca Pearl Pudding Cooking Steps
4. Glazed Banana with Coconut
Glazed Banana with Coconut is a delightful dish in Cambodian cuisine. It combines the natural sweetness of bananas with the rich flavors of coconut to create a mouthwatering dessert. The dish features ripe bananas that are typically sliced and cooked in brown sugar syrup until they become tender.
Glazed Banana With Coconut (Credit Sarah Eden)
- Bananas: Choose ripe bananas for this recipe, as they will provide natural sweetness and a soft texture when cooked.
- Coconut meat: A staple ingredient in Cambodian cuisine, coconut meat adds a rich and sweet taste to the dish.
- Sugar: Sweetness is essential in Glazed Banana with Coconut, and sugar is used to create a syrupy base for cooking the bananas. The amount of sugar can be adjusted according to your preference.
How to Cook
Step 1. Peel the bananas. In a saucepan, add a generous amount of sugar, place the saucepan over low heat, and stir until the sugar has dissolved and turned light brown.
Step 2. Add the bananas to the saucepan, gently stirring to coat them with the syrup. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the bananas are tender and infused with the flavors of the syrup, then add the coconut meat and stir well. Be careful not to overcook the bananas.
Step 3. Once the bananas are cooked, remove them from the heat. Spoon the bananas into serving bowls or plates.
Glazed Banana With Coconut Cooking Steps
Best Places to Eat
Chanrey Tree Restaurant
- Address: Mondul 1 Village, Svay Dangkum Commune, Pokambor Ave, Krong Siem Reap 17252, Campuchia
- Opening Hours: 11:00 - 14:30 & 18:00 - 20:30
- Price range: $13 - $50
Chanrey Tree is a restaurant that serves traditional Cambodian cuisine in a contemporary courtyard setting in the heart of Siem Reap’s riverside district.
The restaurant offers a variety of dishes that are unique to Cambodia, including those that are passed down through generations. The chefs at Chanrey Tree use premium produce and ingredients to take these dishes to the next level and present them creatively.
Sugar Palm Restaurant
- Address: Street 27, Siem Reap, Cambodia (opposite Pannasastra University).
- Opening Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays - 17:30 - 21:30
- Price range: US $31 - 50
The Sugar Palm Restaurant and Bar is a restaurant chain that serves authentic Cambodian cuisine. The restaurant and Bar is known for its citrusy salads, comforting curries, and flavorful stir-fries.
It has also been visited by famous chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Luke Nguyen, who sought Chef Kethana’s expert advice for their television cooking shows. If you’re looking for authentic Cambodian cuisine, Sugar Palm Restaurant and Bar is definitely worth checking out!
These top Cambodian banana desserts offer a taste of the country's rich culinary heritage and its use of simple, yet flavorful, ingredients.
Whether you're exploring the bustling streets of Phnom Penh or wandering through the ancient temples of Siem Reap, don't miss the opportunity to savor these delectable treats that showcase the unique flavors of Cambodia!