Moonlight bananas

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At a little family-run restaurant called Moonlight, lit only by tiny candles and a necklace of miniature coloured lights garlanding a large pot plant, we were once given - as an extra to our meal - bananas cooked in coconut with a hint of lime. The bananas in Burma are far better than any we get here so I have added a little cardamom and salt to enhance the dish. All over Asia, salt is often added to coconut milk in sweet things - it really brings out the flavours.

Ingredients

  • 6 small bananas
  • 1 lime
  • 50 g golden caster sugar
  • 400 ml tin coconut milk
  • ½ level teaspoon salt
  • seeds of 4 cardamom pods, finely ground

Method

Heat the oven to 170°C/Gas 3. Peel the bananas, slice in half crossways and put into a bowl. Grate the rind from the lime in fine strips, using a zester if you have one; put on one side. Squeeze the juice into a cup, stir in the sugar and then pour onto the bananas, turning them with a wooden spoon so they are well coated. Arrange the banana pieces in a fairly shallow ovenproof dish, such as a 23-24 cm round flan dish, in which they fit in a single layer with a little room to spare.

Tip the coconut milk into a bowl and whisk with a fork until smooth, adding the salt and cardamom. Stir in the lime rind and then pour the milk over the bananas. Cover the dish with foil and cook on the centre shelf of the oven for 25-35 minutes until the bananas are very soft.

Serve the bananas either warm or at room temperature.

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