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Kem chuối stacked on a wooden board
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5 from 5 votes

Kem Chuối (Vietnamese Banana and Coconut Ice Cream)

These Kem Chuối Ice Cream Bars will take you straight to the heart of Vietnam. It comes together SO easily, the family will love it as a healthy snack!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Freeze Time6 hrs
Total Time6 hrs 20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, Vietnamese
Servings: 6 bars
Calories: 562kcal
Author: Jeannette

Equipment

  • Baking paper
  • Baking tray
  • Glad/plastic wrap

Ingredients

  • 800 g / 3 US cups bananas (peeled)
  • 100 g / 1/2 US cup unsalted peanuts
  • 1 tbsp salt (for the peanuts)
  • 25 g / 1/3 US cups desiccated coconut
  • 500 mL / 2 US cups coconut cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch (for the starch slurry)
  • 1/2 US cup water (for the starch slurry)
  • 1 tsp salt (for the cream, to taste)
  • 3 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 4 pandan leaves (optional)

Instructions

  • Add 1 tbsp salt to a small pan heated on a low-medium heat, then pour in the peanuts and stir until golden brown.
  • Sift the peanuts through a colander with larger holes to remove the excess salt and loose skin.
    Tip: Crush the skin with your hands as you shake the colander. The smaller particles will fall through the holes.
  • Let the peanuts cool then pour them into a zip lock bag and crush the pieces using a rolling pin or mallet.
  • Lightly toast the coconut shreds on a low heat until golden and set aside.
  • Place a piece of baking paper on the counter and line the bananas up. The paper should be much larger than the bananas.
  • Place another piece of baking paper on the bananas and get any flat board (a chopping board will do) and use it to press down on the bananas until they become 5mm (0.2") thick.
  • Alternatively, place each banana in a plastic zip-lock bag or sleeve and flatten using a wooden board. This method is ideal for separate single servings.
  • Bring a small pot to medium heat and pour in the coconut cream along with the knotted pandan leaves, vanilla extract, salt, sugar and condensed milk. Stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Remove the pandan leaves and slowly pour in the starch slurry while mixing. Let the mixture cool before assembling the Kem Chuối.
    Note: Mix the tapioca starch and water thoroughly until it is a complete liquid before adding it into the cream to avoid any lumps from forming. Keep stirring vigorously because it will become quite sticky.
  • Line a baking tray with glad wrap and cover the base with cream. Use a spatula to spread it evenly.
  • Sprinkle a layer of toasted peanuts and coconut shreds on top.
  • Lay the flattened bananas over the toasted ingredients.
  • Pour the remaining cream over the bananas and spread it across until the whole tray is covered.
  • Top the final layer with the crushed peanuts and coconut, cover the tray with another glad wrap film and freeze for 6 hours.
  • To serve the Kem Chuối, remove the plastic, cut into bars and enjoy cold!
    Tip: To save the bars for later, individually seal them in zip lock bags and pop them back in the freezer.

Notes

  • Avoid unripe bananas. Unless you're a fan of the tart raw taste, you'll get a much sweeter ice cream with ripe bananas.
  • Embrace the larger crushed peanut pieces. When crushing the peanuts, keep some of them close to whole for added texture.
  • Use desiccated coconut. While you can use fresh coconut shreds for this recipe, the desiccated version lets you toast them until golden, giving the Kem Chuối extra flavor.
  • We use tapioca starch and mix it with water to make a starch which acts as a thickener. The starch can be found in most Asian groceries.
  • Make sure to also opt for unsalted and unroasted peanuts so you can control the amount added as well as its color.

Nutrition

Calories: 562kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1562mg | Potassium: 893mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 94IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 3mg