This recipe was inspired by Syrian muhalabia, a set milk pudding similar to a panna cotta, instead made vegan using coconut milk. The salted banana caramel reminds Yin of the banana-centric desserts of Malaysia. 






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  • 400 ml (1¾ cup) coconut milk
  • 60 g white sugar
  • 140 ml water
  • 2 tbsp cornflour, mixed with 2 tbsp water to form a slurry
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Mint leaves, to garnish


Banana caramel

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 70ml coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp light brown soft sugar
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 200 g roughly chopped ripe banana

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


You’ll need six pretty glasses or ramekins to set these in.

Cooling time: 6 hours to overnight.

  1. Put the coconut milk, sugar and water in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally with a whisk to melt the sugar into the liquid. Do not boil.
  2. When the coconut milk comes to a gentle steam, whisk in the cornflour slurry.
  3. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, whisking and occasionally using a spatula to ensure the mixture isn’t sticking to the edges of the pan. If it is thickening very quickly or is catching, turn down and/or take off the heat and whisk vigorously. When the pudding is ready it will look glossy and will thickly coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Pour the pudding liquid into a measuring jug, then working quickly, pour it into the glasses. Allow to cool to room temperature before covering in cling film (plastic wrap). Leave to set in the fridge for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.
  5. For the caramel, melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium–low heat, then add the coconut milk, sugar and salt. Bring to the boil, then add the bananas and simmer for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and use a handheld blender to blitz the mixture until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature before using, as it will thicken slightly.
  6. To assemble, spoon the caramel over the pudding and garnish with mint leaves.


This is an edited extract from Sambal Shiok: The Malaysian Cookbook by Mandy Yin, published by Quadrille, RRP $49.99, available in stores nationally.