Monday, May 7, 2012

Recipe: Banana Coconut Pudding

My sister-in-law introduced me to the idea of coconut milk as a high-fat option for Lil Guy. Right now he loves bananas so I searched the web for a recipe with both ingredients.
I wish I found this recipe earlier because, while I'm not into making my own homemade baby food, this is an easy way to add fat and flavor to bananas for babies and toddlers.

This recipe could probably stand for a little tweaking by a better cook than me but my first go around I tried this combo:

4 large bananas
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Peel the bananas and cut into small slices. In a medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk to boil, then add the sugar and cinnamon. Stir to dissolve. Add the bananas and bring back to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about ten minutes until bananas are soft. Let cool a bit, then put mixture through blender to even out any lumps. Alternatively, you could pulse the bananas to a paste first and then add to saucepan.

Lil Guy wasn't a fan of the pudding on the first try but the recipe made about four small bowls. We gave it to him again the next day and he was a fan...maybe it just needed to sit in the fridge overnight for his taste?

Despite purchasing unsweetened coconut milk, I found the pudding to be too sweet for my taste so might lessen the sugar next time. Plus, I might try this custard version as another option (but beware it includes honey as an ingredient, which shouldn't be served to children under age one).

Alternative Versions:
Banana Vanilla Haupia from The Food Network
Banana Coconut Pudding from Epicurious

Turns out that bananas and coconut milk are a popular recipe in southeast Asian countries. The balance of ingredients and preparation create a range of dishes, from bananas in a type of milk sauce to something resembling more of a pudding texture.

Thai Style
Indonesian Style
Indonesian Style II
Vietnamese Style
Laotian Style
Cambodian Style

I was interested in comparing the nutritional quality of coconut milk to whole milk to half and half - see photo below. Note that the serving size of the half and half is 1/8 that of the other two options so when comparing, you'll find that cream definitely gives you a big caloric bang for your buck. Whole milk definitely has more calories - more than twice as many. But it also has more cholesterol and carbs. Coconut milk is a better source of Vitamin A and B12, which is also important for CFers. 
L-to-R: Target Brand Half and Half, Horizon Organic Whole Milk,
Trader Joe's Unsweeted Coconut Milk
So...verdict is that coconut milk might be a nice suitable substitution for milk in recipes where you want to give that coconut flavor. We hope to try more curry-and-coconut based recipes when Lil Guy gets older (and mom becomes a better cook).

Update: I tried making the custard version recipe and while I wasn't a big fan of the result, Lil Guy loves it! We made the recipe exactly and served it chilled.

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