Today we ate lunch at Miyazaki, a Japanese teppanyaki restaurant in Seacon Square, where the meal is cooked hot and fresh in front of you on a griddle. There are two cooks for each customer: one to cook the vegetables the other to cook the meat. Each new order is announced by the cook, and that announcement is greeted with a loud chorus of “Hai!” Amen. Yes. The precision of lunch was quirky and earnestly militaristic, but the meal still managed to be delicious. And reasonably so. Less than Baht 600 (about US$19.00) for two.
The nice thing about Bangkok is we have no shortage of food to please every foodie’s palate. Soi Thong Lo is our equivalent of Restaurant Row in New York (46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues). Thong Lo offers Korean, Japanese, Australian (burgers and steaks), Mexican, Chinese, American, and Thai food from Sukhumvit to Petchburi.
The rainy season is previewing in Bangkok. We have started to get the odd shower, which cools the heat to a dull steam that threatens to overwhelm the senses and makes everyone retreat to the coolness of air conditioned malls and restaurants. Before the heat had reached its apogee I bought some young coconut jelly in coconut juice at the market outside Suan Luang. I decided to tinker with a sturdy favorite, Banana Tea Bread, and came up with this Banana-Coconut Bread. It has a crunchy coating because of the turbinado sugar baked on top, and the coconut is chewy; it held its texture and flavor. I doubled the recipe to give me 4 mini-loaves. I gave away two to my sisters-in-law, and I will leave one in Bangkok for Andy and take the other with me to Salaya.
Here I have given the measurements for 1 loaf of banana-coconut bread. I doubled the recipe to make four mini-loaves.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 40 minutes
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped fresh young coconut jelly
1 teaspoon rum, vanilla, or coconut extract
1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup superfine sugar or 1/3 cup superfine sugar and 1/3 cup sifted brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup demerara or turbinado sugar (I used turbinado)
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
Heat the oven to 350˚F. Spray the inside of 2×7 inch mini loaf pans or 1×8″1/2 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, put the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Stir with a whisk to combine.
In a medium bowl, mash the banana. Add the chopped coconut jelly, and the extract. Blend well.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine. Add half the banana mixture. Add half of the remaining flour and mix until just combined. Add the remaining banana mixture and combine. Add the remaining flour. Scrape down the bowl after each addition.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pans. Tap the pan(s) gently on the counter-top to eliminate any air bubbles. Sprinkle the top of the loaf/loaves with the demerara or turbinado sugar. Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top.
Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven to wire cooling racks. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan before unmolding. Run a knife blade around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread. Gently remove from the pan. Cool thoroughly. Serve warm or at room temperature.