Ginataang Kamoteng Kahoy ay Saging is a Filipino snack popular in the Bicol region where cassava and saba bananas are simmered until tender in coconut milk with palm sugar. Sharing my grandma old recipe where she prepares it by reducing the coconut milk until it renders coconut oil.
When I see coconut milk on dishes it reminds me of my grandmother as she uses this a lot for cooking when I was growing up with her. As a Bicolana coconuts are one of the most abundant produce on her province so she grew up with it and essentially becoming a master when it comes to cooking using that as an ingredient. I was the one that help her always in grinding the meat using a wooden grinder contraption so she can extract the milk manually by hand. I learned a lot just by observing as she cooks and one of the usual ones my granny prepares during snack time was this dish we have for today.
It’s quite a simple dish to prepare, it’s as simple as boiling and cooking the ingredients in coconut milk. This is how it’s usually done by many households that serve this, hence if you see photos online of this dish the coconut sauce is quite runny and not thick. My grandmother does it differently, perhaps it is the Bicolano way where she makes sure the coconut milk is reduced to a point it’s at the first stage of rendering oil. This technique gives it a different flavour and aroma the normal cooking can’t provide, it slightly nutty, quite savoury where its taste is similar to latik, and this complements with the sweetness of the palm sugar and saba bananas.
In a pot pour coconut milk then add cassava and palm sugar, bring it to a boil then simmer in medium heat, cook for 10 minutes.
Add the saba bananas the cook for 5 more minutes.
Add the salt, bring heat to high. Let the coconut milk reduce and thicken, this will take around 3-4 minutes. Once it starts to thicken the sauce will become shiny as it will render oil, if it is in that stage then your ginataan is ready, the sauce should not be runny, it should be thick and coats the bananas and cassava.