Khanom Gluay (Thai Steamed Banana cakes)

Khanom Gluay is the name of a traditional Thai dessert that is vegan by default. Just the way we like it! It is sweet because of ripe bananas (and OK: plenty of sugar) and topped with grated coconut.

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What is Khanom Gluay?

Thai Khanom Gluay is an authentic Thai dessert that is somewhat like a cake. Only the ingredients are steamed. It is traditionally vegan, made with bananas as prime ingredient and fresh grated coconut on top.

Out on the streets in Thailand, you will find Khanom Gluay wrapped in banana leaves. The Thai use the leaves to steam their banana cakes, but you could just as easily use some sort of cup cake molds. Just avoid the paper ones – they will not survive the steaming.


For 4 steamed banana cakes

Ingredients for Khanom Gluay (Thai Steamed Banana Cakes).
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 50 grams of rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon of tapioca starch
  • 50 grams of sugar
  • 75 ml of coconut cream, using the thick substance at the top of the can (If you’re in no luck – like we were – and you can only get a carton or the coconut milk in your can is not creamy at all, only use half the amount)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 75 grams of grated coconut + some extra for garnish (or substitute with dried, shredded coconut)

Kitchen utensils

  • small cake molds, aluminium ones hold really well with steaming
  • A steamer (or substitute with a cooking pan and a colander)

Since at the moment we run VeganEvergreens out of a tiny little kitchen in an airbnb in Thailand (if you want to know what’s up with that, check out our mission page) we need to pretty much all the time be inventive in how to make the most out of the very little equipment we have. We found this great alternative to using a steamer in this blogpost on How to hack a steamer and it works like a charm!

A cooking pan and a colander are a perfect alternative for a steamer.
Using a regular cooking pan and a colander is a perfect alternative if you don’t have a steamer.

How to make Khanom Gluay

Prep: 10 min. | Cook: 50 min. | Total: 60 min.

  1. Peel 2 ripe bananas and mash them with a fork.

  2. Add 75 grams of rice flour, 100 milliliters of coconut cream, 30 grams of sugar, 1 tablespoon of tapioca flour, 75 grams of grated coconut and a pinch of salt. Stir thoroughly to get rid of as many clumps as you can.

  3. Put the mixture into baking molds. If you have a steamer, steam for about 30 minutes on high heat. If you don’t have a steamer: using a cooking pan and a colander it will take about 50 minutes. Make sure to use a lid so the steam doesn’t escape.

  4. Remove from steamer / colander. Sprinkle with some extra grated coconut.

If you can: eat while still hot. Although it is powerful stuff. We didn’t manage to eat all of it while being hot. Still delicious the day after, though :-).

More traditional vegan Thai recipes? Take a look the ones we’ve collected so far.

Sprinkel your Thai Steamed Banana Cakes with fresh grated coconut.
Delicious! But powerful stuff. Find people to share 🙂
You can wrap left-over Khanom Gluay in banana leaves.
We put away our leftover Khanom Gluay wrapped in banana leaves 🙂


Recipe: Khanom Gluay (Thai steamed banana cakes)
Country: Thailand
Prep: 10 min.
Cook: 30-50 min.
Total time: 40-60 min.
Ingredients: banana, rice flour, tilapia flour, sugar, coconut cream, grated coconut
Type of meal: dessert, sweets

Leave a comment and make our day!

Did you make the Thai Steamed Banana Cakes? Of did you eat them in Thailand? Or maybe in a Thai restaurant? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so don’t be shy and leave a comment.

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