Bananas in coffee bean syrup

This recipe matches the bitter notes of coffee, with the steady sweetness of a banana. You might be surprised just how well the combination works.

Apparently it’s is a South-East Asian thing. I can’t say I’ve experienced this dish their myself. Rather, my inspiration came in the shape of an American food writer, Marcia Kiesal, who was moved to write a recipe for bananas in coffee after eating the dish in Vietnam. I found the Kiesal recipe to be far too sweet for my taste, so tweaked and evolved in a variety of ways.

Served cold and paired with a good dollop of Greek yoghurt, this is a sensory awakening for breakfast, or an unusual (but delicious) dessert. Have a play with different citrus flavourings and spices – cardamom is really interesting, particularly with orange zest. A mix of all the spices could well be the optimum.

Use a medium roasted coffee bean – too dark will be too bitter, but too light not bitter enough.

Bananas in coffee bean syrup

For 2

  • 50g coffee beans
  • 325g water
  • 8g sugar
  • 1 strip of orange, lemon or lime zest, peeled with a veg peeler
  • 1g (½ tspn) cinnamon, cardamom or nutmeg
  • 2tbsp of citrus juice
  • 2 firm, just ripe bananas

Put the coffee beans and water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat to its lowest point and simmer for fifteen minutes.

Strain the liquid through a sieve to remove the beans. Put the liquid back in the saucepan and add the sugar, spice and citrus zest. Simmer for ten minutes until the coffee just starts to become syrupy. As a guide, aim to reduce the syrup to approx 100ml per serving.

Cut the bananas on the diagonal and toss in the citrus juice. Lay the fruit pieces flat in a dish, no more than one piece deep. Cover with hot syrup and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight, ready for breakfast (or for at least an hour). Eat straight from the fridge with a dollop of yoghurt.