Friday, June 17, 2016

Bright green quick bread: Southeast Asian flavors. Coconut milk, limes, basil, ginger...

I thought I would make a Southeast Asian flavored quick bread. I can not just call it a Filipino or Vietnamese (Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian, etc.) quick bread because most of the ingredients I used here are also endemic (grows, produced) in other Southeast Asian countries.

It was an out of the blue thought. I was trying to test my skills about "ratio" in baking per Michael Ruhlman's dare in his book "RATIO: the simple codes behind the craft of everyday cooking". Yes! I baked this without a cookbook or looking at my notes/internet.

This is green because of the "pandan extract". If you don't have pandan extract, coconut extract is a substitute. Your loaf cake will not be green though. 

Really tropical Asian taste: aromatic, fresh and herbaceous with creamy undertones from the Greek yogurt. It's dense but light and not cloyingly sweet. Enjoy with a tall, glass of ice-cold chai tea or just plain black coffee!

Special equipment:

1.5 lb metal commercial loaf pan; 13 x 4 x 4 = 5 cups. Otherwise, use 2 medium sized metal loaf pan; 7.5 x 3.5 = 2.5-3 cups.



2 ¼ cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
lime zest of 2 limes (3 for kalamansi or kaffir)
3 T candied ginger, coarsely chopped
1 t dried basil leaves or 1 T finely chopped FRESH basil


2 eggs
3/4 cup light olive oil or any neutral oil
2/3 cup coconut milk
lime juice of 1 lime
3 T plain Greek yogurt
1 t ginger paste or grated ginger
1/2 t pandan extract (optional). Substitute with "coconut extract" if you do not have pandan extract. Your cake will not be green though.


Preheat oven to 400°

Prepare the loaf pan.

Option 1.

Brush bottom and sides of pan with cooking oil then sprinkle with 2 T flour. Spread the flour by tapping the pan on all sides until flour coats the pan. Tap excess flour on a plate, sink or garbage can.

Option 2.

Brush pan with oil and cover with parchment paper. 

Combine all the dry ingredients including sugar in a medium or large bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the wet ingredients; 30 seconds.

Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in it. Using a rubber spatula or wooden kitchen spoon, combine the wet and dry ingredients until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX; visible lumps are okay.

Pour batter in the pan. Lightly drop the pan on the table, at least 4-5 inches above the table-to release air; 4 times. Place on a cookie sheet. 

Bake for 15 minutes at 400°. Reduce heat to 375° and continue baking for 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted all the way to the bottom of the loaf comes out clean.