Sweet Banana in Coconut Milk – Elephant Camp Dinner at Four Seasons Tented Camp

You know that feeling when you think you are one of the luckiest girls in the world? Well that’s exactly how I felt during our stay at the Four Seasons Tented Camp.

I wasn’t sure what to think of the specially themed dinners that were planned out in our personalized itinerary. I really had no idea what to expect…but the manager Vikas and Chef Pisan assured us that our dinners would be spectacular, which I found out later to be exactly that. Amazingly spectacular!

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After drinks and personalized vegetarian appetizers at the Burma Bar…we were escorted by a ranger through the exotic bamboo jungle by torch into the elephant camp where we were immediately greeted by our elephants Yuki and Pet… feeding them a dinner of sugarcane before the ranger lead us to our dinner. Spending time with our elephants at night was very intimate and just the beginning of many extraordinary touches to come…


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We were seated up on a platform overlooking the stars and sky and the table was lit only by candle light (Thank goodness for flash photography). Down below local artists using traditional northern Thailand instruments serenaded us. There was an outdoor kitchen where the chef’s crew was busy preparing our multi-course meal. 4 courses in all. Everything was incredible… soup, rice noodles, fish cooked over the fire in a banana leaf stuffed into bamboo served with plenty of delicious vegetables from their own organic garden and steamed brown rice…

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For dessert, I was really blown away. So blown away, in fact, immediately after taking one bite I knew I had to make this back home and share the recipe with all of you!

A traditional Thai dessert was served – Sweet Banana in Coconut Milk. The dessert was so simple, so comforting and so good. We enjoyed it by the fire the Four Seasons staff had ready for us to enjoy after dinner. We sipped wine, had ginger tea and enjoyed the view of the stars we normally don’t get to see living in the city lights back home.

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To make this dessert exactly like the chef prepared it requires the exotic pandanus leaf, which is abundant in Thailand and found all over the camp (in hindsight I should have stuffed some of these leaves in my pocket to take home!) I haven’t been able to find fresh pandandus leaf in the U.S. yet, so I used ground cardamon seeds instead, which is one of my favorite indian spices for adding fragrance and sweet aroma. I imagine this is what the Thai leaf did too. Cardamon worked so well that it tasted like I wasn’t missing any key ingredients at all.

Here’s my take on the recipe, along with instructions on how to make your own coconut milk too!  Making your own coconut milk is super easy. Can I get an applause for avoiding that dreaded carrageenan?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Food Babe's Sweet Banana in Coconut Milk
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Adapted from Chef Pisan’s Kloi Buad Chee at the Four Seasons Tented Camp
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces of coconut milk
  • 2 large bananas sliced ¾ inch thick
  • ½ tsp ground cardamon seeds or 1 pandanus leaf
  • ⅓ cup coconut palm sugar or less if you have ripe bananas
  • ⅛ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds toasted
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, combine coconut milk, sugar and cardamon/pandanus leaf and bring to a boil until sugar dissolves (Note – the cardamon or pandanus leaf will not dissolve)
  2. Stir well, reduce heat and add banana, cooking for 7 more minutes or until you see the banana turn golden yellow
  3. If using pandanus leaf, remove it and serve pieces of banana covered with ½ cup of coconut milk in a small dish
  4. Sprinkle with sesame seeds
Notes
Best served warm, but can also be served chilled on a hot day. ***Please buy all organic ingredients if possible***

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Food Babe’s Homemade Coconut Milk
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • The water & meat of one large mature coconut (alternatively, you can 1 and ½ cup dried unsweetened coconut)
  • 2 and ½ cups warm filtered water
Instructions
  1. In a high speed blender, combine coconut water, meat and filtered water and blend until smooth
  2. Using a strainer or nut milk bag, separate the pulp from the milk (Note – Don’t throw away the pulp, I’ll be sharing a recipe on how to use it soon)
Notes
Store milk in an airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days (Note – the coconut milk will separate, shake well before serving again) ***Please buy all organic ingredients if possible***

 

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After dessert, the surprises kept coming… out came several “Kongming” paper lanterns for us to launch into the sky, creating our own stars to wish upon. The sight was truly magical and we watched our lanterns for a very long time… symbolizing good luck and our worries to disappear.

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And to add even more romance to the night…This is what we arrived back to in our tent. “Wow!” was all I could say!

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Thank you Four Seasons Tented Camp and Chef Pisan for this delicious recipe and a spectacular night we will never forget.

XOXO,

Food Babe

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23 Responses to “Sweet Banana in Coconut Milk – Elephant Camp Dinner at Four Seasons Tented Camp”

  1. Nicole

    Haha the dog at the airport would have tackled you for sure if you stuffed those in your pocket!! Thank you so much for posting this recipe…anything to remind me of the wonderful food in Thailand :)

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Nicole)

      You know what? I found a banana from our resort in Borneo in my bag later… LOL. Surprised they didn’t search me more thoroughly after the dog attacked me at baggage claim!

      Reply
  2. chelsea

    Bullhooks (the instrument the man is holding in the second picture) are incredibly cruel. I hope the elephants were treated more humanely than it looks. :( On a positive note, this recipe looks amazing and I look forward to trying it sometime next week.

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to chelsea)

      Hi Chelsea! As you might know, elephants can be extremely dangerous to humans and kill more people than any other animal each year… with that being said, I never saw any of the mahouts (trainer) ever use their taming device during the 5 days we stayed at the camp. They have to carry these tools for precaution to protect us…

      The camp is the founding member of the The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation and was built in order to find a refuge for elephants rescued from the streets of Thailand and who were found in terrible condition. The funds generated at the resort support the cost to feed the elephants, the mahouts and maintain the camp grounds for them to live peacefully.

      I am such an animal lover – there is no way I could support an operation that is being cruel to any animal for entertainment purposes!

      Reply
      • chelsea (to Food Babe)

        Ahhhh I didn’t know that about it starting as a refuge, but I’m very glad to hear it! I’m also glad to know that as an animal lover you wouldn’t support an operation that was cruel! (I’m with you on that one.)

        I’d like to say that I really enjoy your blog. I found it after moving to Charlotte in September of last year. It was a little overwhelming here at first (moving here after living in Boone for 4 years while I was in school). As a vegan I often appreciate a lot of your restaurant recommendations. Uhhh, the Skinny Witch/Wich (can’t remember how they spell it) at Luna’s is so good. I doubt I would have tried it if I hadn’t seen a picture of it on here. I probably still wouldn’t know what Berrybrook Farms was either, even though I drove past it regularly. Now when I’m not in the mood to make some green juice for myself I run there and pick one up instead. :) So, thanks for making the transition here a little easier!

      • Fiona (to Food Babe)

        That’s good to hear. I was worried, too, since elephants are often so mistreated. It’s great that they are helping them!

      • pm jones (to Food Babe)

        Don’t be fooled. Tourists are the only source of income for their mahouts. Bull hooks are used brutally in “training” and “directing” elephants behind the scenes. When in public, mahouts are smart enough to hide their sharp, pointed bull hooks from the tourists. The elephants are conditioned to believe that a stick in the hand = excruciating pain from being hooked. They follow instructions for fear of pain. Mahouts also hide nails in their hands which are invisible to tourists. LOOK for scratches and puncture wounds on the ele’s head and ears. If ears are torn on edges, that is from bullhooks. Sometimes there are scars and wounds on trunks.

        There is plenty of evidence that elephants are peaceful, loving herbivores who respond very well to food rewards.. bananas and such are all that is needed.

        The best solution is to go to an authentic sanctuary, where elephants live free and do whatever they wish. no one rides them or makes them perform ever.

  3. Gillian

    Your stay looks absolutely magical – thank you for sharing! And I must try this rendition of yours, I adore Thai food and anything with coconut involved. I must visit Thailand one day!

    Reply
  4. Amber

    Food Babe to the rescue! I will definitely be making my own coconut milk from here on out. Thanks for sharing. What an amazing trip!

    Reply
  5. Kristin

    Just got my vitamix and bought a coconut from HHM this weekend after reading about the yucks in store bought coconut milk! Thanks much for posting the recipe –I was just in search of one!

    Reply
  6. Carol

    May I ask what the reasoning is for the coconut palm sugar rather than organic sugar or sucanat or something else? Thanks.

    Reply
  7. Kristin

    I used a vitamix and blended on high.. I didn’t have any pulp left??? is that bad???

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Kristin)

      Yikes… so there was zero pulp? even when you strained it? Did you use a mature coconut or a young coconut? If you used a mature coconut, maybe try blending it less time – only 30secs to a 1min. I don’t have a vitamix, so not exactly sure how to time the blending for you.

      Reply
  8. Kimberly M

    Is it possible to “can” the coconut milk or would it go bad?

    Reply
    • marie connelly (to Kimberly M)

      I would like to know the answer to that question also.

      Reply
  9. Kristen

    I made this yesterday and it was a nice sweet treat with no guilt. :)

    Reply
  10. Joel Caplan

    I am definitely going to make this. Oh, and I so want a tub like that in my tent. Period.

    Reply
  11. Lynn Ang

    Hi Food Babe,

    I am not sure where you live but I live in Seattle area and I can find panda leaves in the Asian grocery store especially the Vietnamese owned one. There are frozen ones and I can even find the fresh one here. Panda leaves are used in most of the food and dessert in SE Asia. By the way, I am from Singapore.

    Regards
    Lynn

    Reply
  12. Purvi

    I see some fancy tool to remove coconut meat, what is it? Where can I get it?

    Reply
  13. Michelle Johns

    So enjoyed reading this. Actually, I am so happy a friend led me to your website. I love food and reading about what’s good for me or exploring what’s not good for me, so a friend recommended FB to me. While, you all are miles ahead of me, some similarities have been refreshing. 1) I too read the 4HB a couple of years ago and agreed and disagreed with some things 2) I discovered the nasty ingredient in soy, almond, coconut milk a couple of years ago and thus removed those store bought/pre packaged items from my diet 3) a few months ago, I started reading and exploring Ayurveda 4) love the cookbook Eat, Taste, Heal…..I could go on a bit, I have learned so much from you and love your recipes. I have been trying them out on people every chance I get to help encourage better choices. I have a long way to go! Very long way, but thank you for your post. My daughter was in Thailand two months ago and she had a great experience as well. Can’t wait to try this out!

    Reply

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