Simmered Plantains with Coconut Milk and Palm Sugar

Active Time: 25 MINTotal Time35 MIN
Yield: Serves : 4

The key to this recipe is selecting perfectly ripe plantains: Seek out fruits that are dull yellow-orange and blackened in spots. They should still feel slightly firm when you squeeze them, like an unripe banana. Alternatively, purchase unripe plantains and let them ripen for a few days at room temperature.


  • 2 very ripe plantains (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 1/2 cups well-shaken and stirred unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup palm sugar or firmly packed dark brown sugar, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 fresh or thawed frozen pandan leaves, each tied into a knot, or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

How to Make It


Place plantains, coconut milk, 1 1/2 cups water, palm sugar, salt, and pandan leaves in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring often. (Don’t let the coconut milk boil for more than a few seconds or it might curdle.) Immediately reduce heat to low; simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until plantains are fork-tender but still hold their shape, 3 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside to cool until liquid is just warm. Discard 
pandan leaves; ladle mixture evenly into 4 shallow bowls. Sprinkle with palm sugar to garnish, and serve warm.


Pandan leaves are often used to flavor desserts with their sweet almond and vanilla flavor. The fresh leaves can be chopped or tied into knots and boiled and are often used in rice, curries, and as wrappers for barbecued dishes. Find them at

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