Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Green Curry Coconut Banana Bread

So after baking a loaf of Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Banana Bread the other day I had a few bananas left over for yet another banana bread baking experiment.  I thought about returning to an old fave, but decided to just go nuts instead.  Momofuku Milk Bar has this green curry banana bread that I tried a bite of once upon a time, and since I had bananas and green curry paste I figured I could whip up a batch of my own.  I always think that coconut and curry go wonderfully together, plus I wanted some extra sweetness to balance out the heat of the Maesri green curry paste (which is pretty fearsome stuff), so I also threw in some sweetened shredded coconut.  I didn't have any sour cream or unsalted butter left, but I did have some leftover creme fraiche, eggs, buttermilk and vegetable oil, so I decided to use what I had to throw together a batch of banana bread.  I decided against the buttermilk because I thought the slight tang of it might not go well with the coconut and green curry paste, but I figured that eggs, creme fraiche and vegetable oil wouldn't clash with my vaguely Southeast Asian flavor profile.  I was a little hesitant about the creme fraiche at first but I love adding dairy products like creme fraiche, sour cream and buttermilk to baked goods for the richness and moistness that it produces, so I decided to just go for it and try it with the creme fraiche.

While the bread was baking I could only get the faintest whiff of the green curry paste, although the aroma of something banana-y and delicious wafted through the whole apartment.  Actually, I'm not even sure that I smelled the green curry paste so much as I might have imagined myself smelling it, but what can you do.  When I tasted the batter there was a subtle kick of heat and spice to it that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I thought about adding more green curry paste, but decided that I didn't want the taste of the green curry to completely overpower the taste of the banana and coconut.  And in the end I think I used the perfect amount of green curry paste.  This bread is fantastic.  The taste of the green curry is subtle, but definitely there.  It lingers on the tongue and gives the bread a savory quality lacking from most banana bread recipes.  It's definitely not in your face, but it's impossible to miss (even if you can't quite figure out what it is).  The sweetness of the coconut is subtle as well, but I think it really adds something.  The crumb is wonderful as well - super moist, with a nice crust that formed on the top.  Unlike the Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, this banana bread is more bread and less cake - both in terms of sweetness and the crumb itself.  I only baked the Green Curry Coconut Banana Bread today, but at the rate we're eating it I might have to go bake another loaf!  It's really that good.

Recipe after the jump!

Green Curry Coconut Banana Bread

2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large overripe bananas
1/4 cup creme fraiche
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp green curry paste
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9x5x3 baking pan with Pam, or other non-stick cooking spray.  

In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium-high, cream together eggs and sugar until pale yellow and thick.  Reduce speed to low and slowly pour in vegetable oil.  Add bananas, creme fraiche, vanilla, and green curry paste.  Mix at medium speed until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.  Gently fold in flour, baking soda, salt and shredded coconut.

Pour batter into prepared baking pan, using a spatula to spread the batter evenly in the pan.  Bake on the center rack in the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, roughly 1 hour.  Remove bread from oven.

Allow bread to cool completely on rack before removing from pan and serving.

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