Updated: Mar 25, 2021
I just looooove chewy desserts. Kanom babin are crisp on the outside, chewy and coconutty on the inside, and just...heaven. We were in Bangkok a couple of years ago when I had these, which I found in the Siam Paragon mall food court. You have never been to a food court if you haven't been to the food courts in Bangkok malls. They are EXTRAORDINARY. This specific food court has a ton of "street foods", some long and lost like this traditional dessert from the Ayutthaya period (14th-18th century) made from fresh grated coconut and rice flour. Word has it they're actually really hard to find these days (lucky me!). They often come in a tri-color arrangement, with only slight flavor differences. The darker version has a bit of cocoa, and the green version a bit of pandan powder.
Fresh Coconut Pancakes
[ขนมบ้าบิ่น: Kanom Babin]
2 c. freshly grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
1 c. glutinous rice flour
1 tsp. baking soda*
½ c. sugar
1 ¼ c. coconut cream
1 tsp. vanilla*
Pinch of salt
Coconut oil for cooking
Pandan powder or green food coloring
*Traditional kanom babin include limestone water and bay toey for flavorings, but I've
substituted here for more accessible ingredients: baking soda and vanilla.
In a large bowl, mix coconut, glutinous rice flour, baking soda, and salt with a wooden spoon, breaking up any chunks of coconut until all is well incorporated.
Pour in coconut cream and vanilla, and stir to combine until thoroughly mixed. The batter will be quite thick and lumpy with coconut.
*If you would like to make tri-color kanom babin, separate batter into 3 equal portions in separate bowls. To one bowl add 1 ½ tsp. Cocoa powder and stir to combine. To the second bowl add 1 tbs. Pandan powder (or 3-4 drops green food coloring), and stir to combine. The third bowl will stay as the base batter.
Heat a nonstick pan over medium low heat, and melt 1 tsp. coconut oil. Alternatively, you can use an electric griddle heated to 300°. When the oil is melted and the pan is hot, drop batter ~1 tbs. at a time. The kanom ba bin will be about 3” in diameter. *If you would like to use sesame seeds, before adding the batter to the pan sprinkle little piles of about ½ tsp. of sesame seeds and then cover the seeds with the 1 tbs. batter.*
Cook each kanom ba bin for 2 minutes, check to see that the bottom is golden brown and somewhat crispy, and then flip. Cook for another 2 minutes. The dough itself will still be quite runny when you flip- that is okay. If the bottom is golden and crispy, it’s time to flip, otherwise you risk burning the bottom.
When both sides are golden and crispy, set aside on a cooling rack and let cool for 2 minutes before eating. These are best eaten when warm, but I enjoy them at room temperature as well! They last for about 5 days in the fridge- and to warm them up just pop in a nonstick pan over medium heat and cook about 3 min on each side.