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Susan Feniger's Sesame Crusted Banana Fritters with Coconut Kaya Jam

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Sesame-Crusted Banana Fritters with Coconut Kaya Jam. [Photograph: Jennifer May]

Susan Feniger's Coconut Kaya Jam (a pudding-like mixture of rich coconut milk; grassy, vanilla-like pandan leaves, sugar, and eggs) is familiar to anyone with a Top Chef addiction. Who could forget Gail Simmons' proclamation that she'd "love to be sticking [her] finger in [it] at all hours of the day"? In Street Food, Feniger pairs the jam with tempura-coated baby banana fritters, making for an addictively sweet and sticky dessert.

Why I picked this recipe: Let's be honest, the fritter recipe was just an excuse to try out the provocative kaya jam.

What worked: The jam was indeed spectacular: unctuous, floral, and just sweet enough. Each tempura-coated banana fried up crisp on the outside and softly caramelized within, making for nice textural contrast to the jam.

What didn't: The cooking time was a bit off for the custard; it took me closer to 30 minutes to get it to set. The time for the oil to heat to 350 was also quite off; mine took 15-20 minutes to heat.

Suggested tweaks: If you have access to them, try the fritters with more exotic types of bananas than regular ol' Cavendish. I'd expect that red bananas would make for pretty fantastic fritters. Kaya jam is also excellent on buttered toast, topped with a fried egg and soy sauce (just ask Gail Simmons).

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Susan Feniger's Street Food to give away.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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