I had the most unusual craving the other night for my mother’s homemade banana ice-cream. Reminiscing about my childhood, my mouth started salivating when I came across a particular flashback.
It must’ve been at least 15 years ago, where hot and sticky afternoons went hand in hand with homemade chilled snacks such as shaved ice bowls dressed with rose syrup, store-bought vanilla ice-cream topped with condensed milk, or almond agar agar jelly with canned fruit salad.
I remember running past the kitchen, the heart of the family home. Used to seeing my mother cook up various delicacies in her spare time, I was fascinated by the unusual set up this time. The bench space was covered with chopping boards, ripe sugar bananas, a butcher knife, roast peanuts, coconut cream and a heap of sandwich bags and Glad Wrap.
I watched as she flattened bananas with the butcher knife, drizzled them with coconut cream and crushed peanuts.
She told us it was a popular street food snack she had enjoyed as a kid in Vietnam but having never seen such an odd package, we couldn’t help but tease my mother’s ugly creation.
Several hours later, these frozen treats were polished off without a mention of how hideous they looked.
Some memories are stored in relation to an emotion, some are graphical and some sensual. This flashback was all about the anticipation of peeling back layers of cling wrap, the aroma of roast peanuts, and the creaminess of the coconut cream mixed with the ice cold banana.
I mentioned this craving to my mother last week and to my delight, I was reunited with the gorgeous flavours last night. Yum, yum, yum!
Kem Chuoi (Vietnamese banana ice-cream)
4 sugar bananas (also known as lady finger bananas)
1 cup coconut cream
⅓ cup roasted peanuts, crushed
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar
Cling wrap or sealable sandwich bags
Wooden sticks or skewers (optional)
In a small saucepan, bring the coconut cream to boil, adding a pinch of salt and sugar. Allow to cool.
Place a square of cling wrap on the chopping board, place a peeled banana at the centre and flatten with the side of a butcher knife.
Insert wooden stick or skewer to the middle of the flattened banana if you want to create a Paddle Pop style ice-cream otherwise leave this step out.
Add coconut cream and top with crushed peanuts. Then wrap firmly. Repeat process with remaining bananas then freeze until firm.
This is like a poor man’s ice-cream (I can say that because thankfully, bananas are cheap again)! It’s so easy to make though and there’s a richness to it that satisfies any sweet tooth.