Last night I dreamed of these brown sticks in cellophane wrappers. The sound of crunchy plastic unraveled. The smooth yet sticky, dried-syrup-like surface that easily gives way to the pinch of two nails. An ever so lightly sweet, fruity, malty breath whizzing up as your nose closes in…
I woke up feeling as though there were some of those pieces melting on my tongue. But the best part of eating a banana tootsie roll, if I may call it so despite it having no relationship to the Tootsie Roll, is, like with the real Tootsie rolls, the chew. You chew it and notice it get smaller, but not any less sweet or less gummy. And it’s only as sweet as a just ripe banana, yet with an alluring touch of coconut.
The chewy banana candy is a Mekong delta specialty, where siem bananas grow more easily than rice. The stout, dense, supple bananas either make their way into che, bread pudding, wrapped and grilled in sticky rice, flattened and sun-dried, or cooked in some recipes that are only passed down from mothers to daughters. I just know that whenever we traveled to or a friend of the family came back from the My Tho, Ben Tre region, I got a bag of keo chuoi – banana candy (pronounced somewhat like |keo jui|), or keo dua (|keo yua|) – coconut candy. Banana candies are less sweet and less strenuous to the jaw than the coconut ones; some are coated with roasted sesame seeds, some contain crushed peanuts or ginger bits, but I like the plain, pure, consistent banana kind the best.
– Keo Chuoi (banana chewy candy) –
– 3 bags of whole dried bananas
– 1 coconut
– 1 ginger root, roasted and crushed peanuts (if you like some texture variation)
– Sugar, 1 tsp lime juice
– cellophane candy wrapper
Slice thinly the dried bananas, coconut, and ginger. Stir banana and sugar in a skillet on low heat (add at least half as much sugar as banana), add coconut (and ginger if wanted), stir constantly to avoid them burnt. Add lime juice to keep the mixture gooey. Add peanuts when the mixture is homogeneous and start to harden. Take out, flatten and smoothen the surface (add a sesame coat now if you want), wait until cool then cut and wrapped in cellophane wrappers.
If you can’t find dried bananas, try using a blender to mix banana, coconut, and ginger together, and do every subsequent step the same way.
(Recipe not yet tried :-P, translated from Vietfun)
Ze kwik-n-easy vay:
Vua Khô Bò & Ô Mai (loosely translated: “King of Beef Jerkies and Dried Huamei“)
2549 S King Rd #A-B
San Jose, CA 95121