Last year, I visited my friend in Connecticut and she served these Asian rice cakes. I enjoyed them very much. She briefed me how these were made. A week later, I tried to make this dessert with trial and error, I got it right. I was very happy with the result.
3 cups glutinous rice (sticky rice), washed and soaked for at least for 5 hours
9 whole ripe Asian bananas (available from any Asian grocery stores), peeled and halved
1 cup water
3 cups coconut milk
1½ cup shredded coconut
2¼ teaspoons pandan leaf extract (from fresh)/McComick clear pandan extract
1½ cup raw sugar/granulated sugar, divided
Banana leaves (if not available, you may use aluminum foil)
Kitchen twine/staples/toothpicks/raffia straws
Sweetened Coconut Sauce (optional)
Crushed Roasted Peanuts (optional)
Place the pre-soaked glutinous rice, water and coconut milk in a mixing bowl and let it soak for another 3 hours.
Meanwhile, cut the banana leaves to 18-20 pieces with each sizing 6” in lengthwise, use leftover banana leaves to tie the ends or kitchen twine to tie. (Use aluminum foil if leaf is not available). When using fresh banana leaves make sure to soften them before use so that to make wrapping easy. Simply steam them in a steamer or preboil them in hot water.
Strain the soaked glutinous rice and discard the coconut milk water and place the rice in a mixing bowl. Add ¾ cup raw sugar, shredded coconut and pandan extract into the rice. Mix well to combine, set aside.
Rub the remaining raw sugar onto the halved banana in a baking tray and set aside until use.
Place two banana leaves on a flat counter, one overlapping the other by 2 inches. Then add 5-6 tablespoons of glutinous rice onto the center of the leaf, spread rice across leaving both ends with 1-1½ inches space.
Gently place one sugared banana on top of the rice making sure that the glutinous rice is longer than the banana. Add more glutinous rice to cover the banana. Fold the top and bottom of the banana leaf tightly, then use a twine/raffia straw to secure. When folding the rice and banana, you need to make sure sufficient of rice to cover the banana.
Meanwhile, heat a steamer with enough water over medium heat and bring to a boil. Arrange the sticky rice cake on one of the steamer rack steam until the glutinous rice is tender and cook. Remove from heat and allow the rice cakes to cool, then transfer to the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Remove the banana leave from the rice cake and save some used banana leaves to tired two strips across each other (See picture) and then broil under the broiler for 12-15 minutes until a little golden brown or pan-fried with very little oil until golden brown on all side. You may serve with coconut sauce and crushed peanuts.