Asian Crepes with Coconut Sauce and Grilled Bananas3
Editor’s Note: Please welcome Dora Siah of Provincial Paleo! I found Dora when I landed on one of her delicious-looking Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) recipes – grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free and nightshade-free! Sometimes it feels like eating AIP means you’ll never have anything decadent to eat, but Dora has obviously proved this wrong with her blog, and just look at those crepes. They make me want to pull them off the screen and eat them right up. Looking for more AIP recipes? You’ll find some of Dora’s recipes in The Paleo Mom’s new eBook, The Paleo Approach Dinner Club.
In South East Asia, many sweet treats and desserts are made with fresh local ingredients such as coconuts or bananas, and known across various cultures with different names. Growing up in Singapore, these sticky and chewy Kuih or Kueh could be found easily at shops or stalls selling nothing but such traditional treats. Many Kuihs can be easily made AIP or Paleo-friendly with a simple substitution of ingredients and make great tea time snacks.
One such treat I would like to showcase is Kuih Dadar or Kuih Ketayap, a popular Malaysian sweet treat. Traditionally, it is a vivid green rolled crepe stuffed with a fragrant grated coconut filling, which makes it easily portable as street food is very common in South East Asia. Flavoured with pandan or screwpine essence, this ‘vanilla of the East’ provides the bright shade and delicately herbal/grassy taste of the crepe. Pandan essence is traditionally made by pounding and squeezing pandan leaves to extract the fragrant green juice.
Pandan leaves are long, narrow leaves and are used in many Kuih recipes to enhance the final taste. They are not actually eaten, think of it like steeping vanilla pods in western baking. Pandan leaves can be found at Asian grocery stores, either packed in long bunches and sold in the fresh produce section or frozen section. If possible, purchase the fresh version as the scent diminishes somewhat upon freezing. Though recommended, it is entirely optional if unavailable.
As the traditional recipe requires wheat flour, I swapped it out with plantain flour to make it grain-free and thus AIP-compliant. The use of tapioca starch is traditional and provides a slightly chewy bite to the crepes. I decided to omit the addition of pandan essence since cooking or baking with plantain flour means that the final product is naturally brown and thus my version of Kuih Dadar lacks the bright green shade of the traditional crepe, but is lightly scented with banana and nonetheless equally tasty. The filling is naturally sweetened with dates instead of the traditional Gula Melaka or Malaysian palm sugar to yield a moist texture. The addition of pan-grilled bananas and a rich coconut sauce round up the treat and turn the crepes into an elegant dish that can be made ahead, perfect for a weekend brunch.
- 2 cups/ 272g dates, pitted
- 1 1/2 cup water, divided
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 4 pandan/ screwpine leaves, ends trimmed and knotted (optional)
- 1 cup/ 90g dessicated coconut flakes
- 2 cups/ 210g plantain flour
- 1 tbsp/ 8g tapioca flour
- 1 1/2 cup/ 360ml carbonated water or non-carbonated water + 1tsp baking soda
- 1 cup/ 250ml coconut milk
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (plus extra for cooking)
- 1 banana, mashed
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup coconut butter
- 1/2 cup boiling hot water
- Pinch of sea salt
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- In a small saucepan, combine the dates and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and bring to boil over medium heat. Lower heat to low, stirring occasionally until the dates become soft and pasty, for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and blend until smooth.
- Return date paste to the saucepan and add the remaining water, sea salt, pandan/ screwpine leaves and dessicated coconut flakes.
- Stir over medium-low heat until the coconut flakes are fragrant and moistened, about 10 minutes. Discard the pandan/ screwpine leaf and set the coconut filling aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the plantain flour and tapioca flour together. In a smaller bowl, combine the carbonated water, coconut milk, coconut oil, banana, and maple syrup. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, whisking to mix. Blend the mixture until smooth.
- Heat up a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and grease lightly with some coconut oil.
- Scoop 1/4 cup of batter and spread over the surface, swirling to form a thin layer. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface of the batter and the edges begin to curl off slightly.
- Place a heaped tablespoon of coconut filling in the middle of a crepe spread out into a short cylindrical shape. Fold the bottom of the crepe over the coconut filling, then fold the sides over towards the center, before rolling up the crepe (just like rolling burritos or spring rolls).
- Mix the coconut butter, water and sea salt together until well combined. Adjust the thickness by adding extra water, if necessary.
- Slice the bananas into half lengthwise and crosswise. Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Arrange the cut bananas in the frying pan and pan grill for 1 – 2 minutes per side, or until lightly browned.
Pandan or screwpine leaves are known as the 'vanilla of the East'. Substitute with 1 tsp of vanilla extract if preferred when making the coconut filling.
The coconut filling may be made 1 – 2 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
For a simpler presentation, place the coconut filling in the middle of each crepe and fold over into half.
The rolled crepes may be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in an ovenproof baking casserole lined with parchment paper and sealed with foil. Reheat for 10 minutes or until warmed through in an oven heated to 350ºF/ 180ºC.