Lepat pisang is a traditional dessert from Negeri Sembilan that originated from the Minangkabau people in Sumatra, Indonesia. It is usually eaten as part of a breakfast meal or as a snack on the go.
The first time I had it was when my sister made it during secondary school as part of her Home Science project. Her textbook recipe offered two ways of making this dish—one in which all ingredients were mixed together; and the other had a diagram that showed the coconut filling distributed along the length of the banana mixture.
When my wife sampled the results, she remarked how much it tasted like what her grandmother used to make. She also noted that the coconut filling should be toasted in the wok so that it has a drier consistency and more intense flavour. I thought it was a valid point, and if you opt for this method, you’ll need to prepare twice the amount of filling as the toasting would substantially shrink the coconut.
It doesn’t matter what type of banana is used as long as they are ripe, sweet, and soft enough to mash. I prefer to leave a few morsels of lumpy bananas so that I not only see them peeking through the cooked batter, I can also bite into them.
Depending on how much mixture you put into each package, you’ll end up with about 12-16 lepat pisang. If you have a multilevel steamer, you can steam them all at once. Otherwise, you’d have to steam them in batches. You can also freeze the remainder to be thawed and steamed later when needed.
After steaming, allow them to cool down completely before opening so that all the starch can solidify or else the banana leaf will stick to the lepat. You can serve them on their own, or with a drizzle of gula melaka syrup for an added flourish.
- 2 cups bananas, coarsely mashed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp rice flour
- 1 banana leaf
- 8 pandan leaves, cut into 10cm lengths
- 50g palm sugar
- ½ cup tightly packed grated coconut, or 1 cup if toasted
- 1 tsp salt
- Cut the banana leaf into 12-16 pieces of 20x20 centimetres squares.
- Wilt banana leaf squares over the stove one at a time, or steam the whole stack for 5 minutes.
- Sift flour, rice flour and sugar, then stir in mashed bananas until combined.
- Pound palm sugar in a pestle and mortar until disintegrated, then stir together with salt and grated coconut until combined.
- Place a banana leaf square with the underside facing up on a work surface, then arrange a piece of pandan leaf in the centre of the banana leaf.
- Using an ice cream scoop, pour one scoop of banana mixture in a straight line over the pandan leaf. Then distribute one teaspoon of filling along the centre of the banana mixture.
- Fold the two flaps over each other, then tuck in both ends under the whole package.
- Place the wrapped packages in a steamer and steam over boiling water for 20 minutes until cooked.
- Allow the lepat pisang to cool down completely before serving with a drizzle of palm sugar syrup if desired.