Kluai Buat Chi (Bananas in Coconut Milk)

Kluai Buat Chi (Bananas in Coconut Milk)

Bananas in coconut milk is a popular Thai dessert that is ridiculously simple to prepare. It is made of both sweet and salty components. Sweet and plump Thai bananas paired with sweet and salty coconut milk. This dessert is made to be aromatic and light.

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Preparation 5 mins
Cooking 20 mins


Kluay Buad Chee, กล้วยบวชชี


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Nutrition per Serving

271 kcal
51 g
9 g
2 g

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Kluai Buat Chi is a Thai banana dessert that is insanely easy to prepare. It is simply soft bananas cooked in coconut milk. The taste is coconutty, pleasantly sweet besides being highly nutritious. If you are looking for a dessert that is easy to cook and screams “authentic Thai”, this is a must-make!

Simple ingredients
Simple ingredients

Kluai means banana in Thai. While Buat Chi means ‘to ordain as a nun’. Sometimes, it is nicknamed “nun bananas”.

I am not exactly sure why bananas and nuns are put together to name this dish. Maybe these bananas look like ordained nuns after getting ‘dressed’ in coconut milk. Thai monks are dressed in yellow while nuns wear white robes.

Why this recipe?

To make bananas in coconut milk, you need only two main ingredients which is the fruit itself and coconut milk. This recipe recommends two different types of sugar. That is crucial if you want a dessert that is pleasantly sweet and aromatic at the same time. Using only white sugar will not yield the same result.

Another problem you may encounter is that the bananas may still be firm even after cooking for a long time. Or that the bananas may have darken lines after cooking making it look unappetizing. You will find tips below on how to avoid these mistakes.

Thai Nam Wah Bananas

Thai bananas are sweet when ripe. Their texture is much more dense compared to the common Cavendish bananas. That is why the Thais love to use them for grilling, frying or cooking.

Sliced bananas ready to be cooked
Sliced bananas ready to be cooked

Sometimes, you may find them sold under the name ‘Ducasse’ and ‘Kayinja’. If you are in a neighbouring country like Malaysia or Vietnam, you may be able to find this type of bananas sold under different names.

Language Name
Khmer chek nam va or chek sâ
Malay pisang awak
Tagalog lagkitan
Vienamese chuối sứ or chuối xiêm

Substitute for Thai Bananas

Baby banana that is also known as Lady Fingers is a good substitute. Otherwise, Cavendish bananas can be used too but they are much softer. You may want to pick those that are slightly under ripe and add more as its flavour is not as noticeable compared to Thai bananas.

Important types of sugar

Plain white sugar is neutral in flavour and has a sharp sweetness which is too much for this desert. That is why using coconut sugar along with it helps to keep the sweetness balanced. Coconut sugar has a mellow and aromatic sweetness.

A good substitute of coconut sugar is palm sugar which may be substituted at a ratio of 1:1.

Why are the bananas still firm after cooking?

Always use ripe bananas when making Kluai Buat Chi. Do not rush to add the sugars into the pot because this will make it harder to cook the bananas.

Only add the sugars once the bananas are cooked according to the desired softness.

If you like a firmer texture, use half-ripen bananas. They can be very difficult to peel. Thus, place the bananas in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes to release its sap and makes peeling easier.

Bananas in boiling water
Bananas in boiling water

Remove the bananas strings

You will notice thin strings or membranes on the bananas which are called phloem bundles. They are not tasty. In fact, they have leathery texture and are a little bitter.

Unlike their taste, these phloem bundles are filled with potassium, fiber and vitamins. That is why many chose to eat them. However, for this recipe, it is recommended to remove them as they will turn dark once cooked.

Removing phloem bundles with a knife
Removing phloem bundles with a knife


250 ml
coconut milk
1 cup
pandan leaves
Thai banana(s)
75 g
coconut sugar
1 tbsp
1⁄4 tsp

Steps to Prepare

Kluai Buat Chi (Bananas in Coconut Milk) Step 1

Step 1 of 3

Tie pandan leaf into a knot. Add coconut milk and water into a pot. Add knotted pandan leaf and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.

Kluai Buat Chi (Bananas in Coconut Milk) Step 2

Step 2 of 3

    • 8 Thai banana(s)

Meanwhile, peel the bananas and cut them into four pieces each (quarter halves). Once coconut milk begins boiling, add bananas. Cook until bananas are softer. They should absorb some coconut milk during the cooking process.

Kluai Buat Chi (Bananas in Coconut Milk) Step 3

Step 3 of 3

    • 75 g coconut sugar
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 1⁄4 tsp salt

Finally, add coconut sugar, white sugar and salt. Stir carefully until well combined. Continue boiling for another 5 minutes over medium heat. Serve hot, at room temperature or chilled.

Published: August 21, 2021

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