stewed banana compote

Also known as Kolak Pisang – is an everyday dessert that can be found in every street corner in the country. Very economical and cheap to make, this can be served cold or warm. The sweetness is a great pick-me-up for a slow day at work. Most favorite snack for open-fasting at Ramadhan, this is eaten all year long. 

The main ingredients are ripe cooking banana (saba / plantain), coconut milk, pandan leaves and palm sugar (also known as red sugar / gula aren / gula melaka – sold in round blocks). A whole lot of others can also be added, such as Kolang Kaling (fruit of sugar palm tree), jackfruit, sweet potatoes.

We only had sweet potatoes at home, even though I had a sudden urge of creative idea of dropping some canned lychees in there, I refrained from doing that. Maybe next time. Although, I absolutely believe that crunchy lychee and longan would give the most interesting texture to the dessert. 

The most important part of the cooking process is the constant boiling and constant stirring. Not easy, I might add. But the caramel flavor developed by the boiling coconut milk, pandan leaves and palm sugar was my main motivation. 


100 gr palm sugar (or brown sugar)

2 (200 gr) medium sized sweet potatoes, cubed

4 (450 gr) ripe cooking banana

4 pandan leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup thick coconut cream

1 cup thick coconut cream, diluted by 2 cups water


  • In a medium saucepan, add diluted coconut cream, pandan, banana pieces, sweet potato cubes and salt. Bring to boil over medium heat and stir constantly for 10 minutes
  • In a smaller saucepan, melt palm sugar with 1/2 cup of the coconut water from the first boiling saucepan. When fully melted, strain the liquid to remove foreign objects / insects (very possible to find dead flies trapped in the palm sugar block)
  • Add the palm sugar syrup and the rest of the thick coconut cream into the saucepan, lower heat
  • Simmer for another 15 minutes
  • Remove from heat, serve warm or cold (with ice or chilled thoroughly in refrigerator)


When served cold with ice cubes, the coconut fat will separate from the rest of the liquid, resulting in whitish flakes floating around the dessert. I don’t mind that, but others might find it strange. :P

Step by step shot of the process

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17 Responses to “Stewed Banana Compote with Coconut Milk”

  1. 1

    lk — December 13, 2008 @ 4:20 pm

    Interesting dessert! Sounds yummy too (until it can attract flies)! Will bookmark it. Luv ur step-by-step photos!

    lk’s last blog post..Fen ge herbal soup (?????)

  2. 2

    mycookinghut — December 13, 2008 @ 11:03 pm

    This is again new for me!! Good recipe.. very authentic :)

  3. 3

    Linda — December 14, 2008 @ 6:03 am

    I miss this dessert. I like it with cassava. I normally skip the pandan, I can only get frozen pandan here, it’s awful =(

  4. 4

    Farina — December 17, 2008 @ 4:06 pm

    Another one right up my alley! I think we call it pengat pisang and since I just love anything bananas, this is of course 1 of my fav.

    Farina’s last blog post..Sardine Tart

  5. 5

    Tuty — December 17, 2008 @ 11:51 pm

    I love this afternoon snack too… I had made them with cassava, taro roots, and kolang kaling. In the winter (like right now… I am watching the snow falling), I add a piece of ginger to add the “warmth of spice” …

    I hope that someday you will feature the famous bika/bikang ambon from Medan…. Hubby and I like this cake so much but having difficulties in developing the right flavour and texture. Thanks.

  6. 6

    Alice — December 19, 2008 @ 3:32 am

    One of the Malaysian’s favourite… looks so delicious!

    Alice’s last blog post..Basil Potato Patties

  7. 7

    banana blossom — December 19, 2008 @ 4:12 am

    Thanks for this recipe. It’s been a long time since I last had kolak. Now, I need to hunt for fresh pandan leaves!

  8. 8

    Elin — December 20, 2008 @ 2:29 am

    Haha I like anything wif bananas…thanks for sharing this dessert. Eaten but never knew how to cook it :)

    Elin’s last blog post..Tofu Pizza

  9. 9

    noobcook — December 26, 2008 @ 6:53 am

    What a comforting dish. Season’s greetings and a delicious new year! :)

    noobcook’s last blog post..Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme

  10. 10

    Lance Barto — December 27, 2008 @ 1:37 am

    It looks delicious, sounds like I know what to hound the pastry chefs about next!

    Lance Barto’s last blog post..Merry Christmas!

  11. 11

    Jun — January 7, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

    Thank goodness that the flies were only found in the blocks of red palm sugar. For foreigners, that would sound yucky and they would never touch the dessert. Me, I am alright with them. Haha


    Yes I totally forgotten about cassava. When boiled for hours and it reaches certain tenderness, it’s so yummy and filling

    What an interesting name. Pengat Pisang. Thanks for the info!

    Ah you know bika ambon? Unfortunately, we sell bika ambon in our bakery (I own a bakery) so the recipe would be confidential or else my partner is not going to be happy alrite. LOL. Would love to send some to you though.


    Another comfort food, huh?

    You are welcome. Thanks for the comment


    Thanks for the comment!

  12. 12

    pixen — January 18, 2009 @ 7:45 pm

    Hi Jun,

    Like Farina, it’s one of my favourite too. We sometimes even add sago to this dessert. You know there’s a place in Acheh called Bukit Pesang Pengat but am not sure if it’s connected to food LOL? There are several versions of this Pengat in Malaysia. Pengat Durian (super duper!), Pengat Ubi keledek, Pengat Chap Goh Meh aka Bubur Cha-Cha, Pengat Cempedak, Pengat Mangga, Pengat Labu… The Thais has their version called Kluay Buad Chee…If not mistake Kluay means banana. Well, all this pengats really made me hungry…

    pixen’s last blog post..Soojunggwa (Persimmons In Cinnamon & Ginger Tea)

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    Kolak Sago, Sago and Sweet Potato Compote with Coconut Milk — June 29, 2010 @ 8:20 am

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  17. 17

    Sandra — October 18, 2010 @ 1:01 am

    It looks wonderful! Amazing photos!

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