June 30, 2021

Chinese Banana Rolls 香蕉糕

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We were asked by a reader for a recipe for these quintessential Hong Kong treats, the Chinese Banana Roll 香蕉糕, a banana flavored rice mochi roll that would "taste like the ones I bought in a hong kong bakery when I was little".  After discussing with my hubby about his childhood memory of these delicious rolls, researching recipes, scouring about for store bought banana rolls (they're not that easy to find nowadays) and making more banana rolls than we could eat, we finally came to two conclusions.  

First conclusion: most of the banana rolls nowadays most likely get their distinctive banana aroma from using either real banana extract or synthetic banana oil (probably the latter).  Second conclusion: the banana roll recipes we tried that used fresh banana as a flavoring base didn't really work as the final banana aroma was way too weak.

So after much experimentation and making and eating a couple of yards of the delicious stuff, we've come up with a way to use natural bananas but with their flavor intensified so that our version of 
Chinese Banana Roll 香蕉糕 comes out as a soft lusciously chewy piece of tender mochi roll flavored sixty percent creamy banana flavor and forty percent ricey goodness.  It's purrrfectly bananas!

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During our first attempts at making banana roll we first used one fresh banana and then two to add banana flavor to the roll.  It made no difference, there wasn't barely a hint of banana, it still tasted only like a tender rice mochi roll.  And so we put on our thinking helmets.   Hummm...bananas, how to add more but not more?   And that was when I opened the fridge and saw our jar of homemade strawberry jam and then, poof, LIGHTBULB!  Jam, oh delicious devilish jam was the key!  What better way to intensified the flavor of fresh fruits?  We quickly cooked up a jar of homemade banana jam to use in place of fresh bananas in our Banana Roll.  In photo above our homemade banana jam is mixed with sugar in the first step to making banana roll.

By the way Banana Jam is deliciously to die for (banana jam and peanut butter sandwiches!) and super easy to make and a fantabulous way to use up bananas, especially those ones that are starting to blacken.  Be sure to check out our easy peasy recipe on how to make delicious Homemade Banana Jam.

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There are two kinds of flours used in the banana roll.  The main one is glutinous rice flour 糯米粉 which gives the roll its tender chewy texture.  The secondary is rice flour 米粉 which gives structure to the roll.  Our banana rolls are soft and super tender and so therefore don't hold their shape too well.  If you desire more of a hold on the rounded shape then shift the percentage more to the rice flour side. 

 

Be sure not the mistake the glutinous rice flour for rice flour and vice versa.  The two are completely different and cannot be interchanged.

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The dry and the wet are mixed together and then the immersion blender is used to ensure a totally silky smooth texture.

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While the batter is being steamed prepare the cooked rice flour that will be used for rolling out and coating the banana roll.  This is basically just a matter of stir frying rice flour over low heat until the flour turns a light beige color.  This gives the rice flour a delicious toastiness.

Once steaming is finished remove from steamer.  Grab a pair of chop sticks or a wooden spoon and give the steamed rice cake a thorough stir.  Cover and let cool down to room temperature.

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Sprinkle some of your toasted rice flour over working surface and roll out the banana rice mochi into a large rectangle.  Sprinkle on rice flour as needed to prevent sticking.

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Roll up the mochi tightly, going slow and tucking the roll into itself as you go along.  The mochi will be tacky so the roll will stick to itself as you go along.

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Once completely rolled up use palms to gently roll the banana roll rope into an even diameter all along the length.  It’s best to roll a section at a time as it’s quite long.

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The last step is to cut the roll into even lengths.  The cut ends will be sticky so dust with some rice flour.  Your HK style banana roll is done!

Time to eat some tender ooey gooey chewy rice mochi rolls infused with the fragrance of caramelized bananas.  Our super banana jam powered Banana Roll 香蕉糕 is some pretty seriously yummy stuff!  Not sure if it's exactly like the HK banana rolls from the past but we're pretty confident that you will like this tender and tasty and very banana-y rice mochi roll.

In fact my little girl and I are so pleased with how our banana jam powered mochi roll came out that we're thinking to try this method to make other fruity flavors of mochi.  Strawberry, raspberry, blueberry...we're thinking that anything we can make into a jam could be made into a fabulously fruity flavored mochi.  YUMM-E!

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Chinese Banana Mochi Roll Recipe 香蕉糕  
(makes 16)  Prep time: 10 mins  Cook time: 20 mins

1 cup plus 2 tbsp banana jam, 250g (see our banana jam recipe)
1/2 cup sugar, 100g
2 1/2 tsp oil, 11g
1/3 cup water, 80g
1/3 cup rice flour 米粉, 50g
5 tbsp glutinous rice flour, 50g, (for rolling and coating the roll)

Make the banana jam first as per our Banana Jam recipe.  Measure out proper amount of banana jam to mixing bowl, add sugar, oil, water and stir together.  Add in both rice flours and stir in.   Use immersion blender to blend until smooth and no bumps.  

Oil the inside of the steaming dish.  Pour the batter in.  Tap dish firmly on table to knock out any bubbles.  Steam medium heat for 20 mins.  

While steaming prepare the cooked rice flour.  Measure out 5 tbsp glutinous rice flour into pan.  Cook over medium heat for a couple of mins, stirring constantly, until the color changes to from white to ivory and the rice smells toasty.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

The steamed banana mochi is done when it doesn’t stick to a poked in chopstick.  Remove from heat.  Use pair of chopsticks or wooden spoon to stir the mochi vigorously for 1 min.   Cover and let rest until cooled to room temperature.  

Sprinkle working surface with a handful of cooked rice flour.  Scoop out mochi onto table.  Sprinkle mocha with cooked rice flour.  Roll out to a large rectangle, adding rice flour as needed to prevent sticking.  Roll up mochi starting at the long side, tucking in as you roll to get a tight roll.  Once completely rolled use palms to further roll the roll to get an even shape all along.  Use a floured knife to cut into 2 1/2 inch lengths.  Dust each cut with cooked rice flour to prevent sticking.  Eat right away for most tender results.  To store pack with 2 tbsp of cooked rice flour into an air tight container and keep in fridge for 3-4 days.  Enjoy this unique HK treat!

More HK Delights at The Hong Kong Cookery:
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2 comments:

  1. This sounds so delicious! I just recently found your blog and am loving all your posts. So many nostalgic and comforting foods. Can't wait to try this recipe out!

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  2. Hey TeaLeaves - Welcome and please let us know what you think of our banana rolls! ~😉ellen

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