November 5, 2010

Pengat Pisang (Banana Savoury)

I must confess that I'm not a massive fan of sweet stuff.  For instance, I love my chocolate bitter, coffee thick (and bitter) and food chilli hot.  As rules are meant to be broken, I make exceptions when it comes to comfort food, though.  I grew up eating Pengat Pisang as it was our family's regular dessert.  We used to live in a kampong (village) in Singapore where bananas were in abundant supply.  I just knew when my mum was making this delectable dessert because I could smell the fragrance of palm sugar and pandan leaves even before she could announce what was brewing.  When palm sugar and pandan leaves hobnob in a recipe, it is Chanel No. 5 in the pan! 

As bananas are now in season, I decided to bring a little nostalgia
to my kitchen by way of this Pengat Pisang

As I was typing this post, I contemplated several times for the English term of this traditional Malay dessert.  "Pisang" is banana all right, but I just couldn't translate "pengat".  I didn't want to lose sleep over this matter and so, I decided simply on the abovementioned English term for it.  If you have any suggestion for the translation, I would love to hear from you.  Coconut milk is the central ingredient; sago seeds give excellent gooey texture; and sweet potato I love and have included in this concoction to break the monotony of bananas.  It is truly delicious, delicately sweet, unpretentious and best of all a very easy dessert to make.  Just my kind of food. 

Instead of palm sugar, I used brown sugar as I couldn't get hold of the former at the point of making this.    Ceteris paribus, this Pengat Pisang made me feel like my mum (who's in Singapore) was right there in my kitchen!

I love it lukewarm especially on a cold night

Serves 4 (small dessert bowls)

3 bananas - sliced 1/2 inch diagonally
1 sweet potato - washed and diced
200ml coconut milk
650ml water
2 pandan leaves
5 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp sago seeds
A pinch of salt


1.  Put sweet potato dices and pandan leaves (tied into a knot) into a medium pan with 600ml water over medium heat.  Bring to a boil.  Cook for a further 5 minutes until sweet potatoes are softened.

2.  Add coconut milk, sugar and salt.  Stir gently and let mixture simmer for 2 minutes.

3.  Wash and strain sago seeds before adding to the mixture.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until sago seeds turn transparent.

4.  Add bananas, stir gently and cook for a further 5 minutes.  Mixture will thicken.  Turn heat off and serve dessert hot or cold.  Pandan leaves can be discarded.

Fearlessly Simple & Home Cooked

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