Jaffna banana split

Jaffna banana split

My Feast
Chris Chen

I arrived in Jaffna in Sri Lanka just after the end of the civil war, things were still tense there and we were the first film crew allowed to enter the region and film in the past thirty years. During our travels around this vibrant city we came across a beautiful Dutch church, which was a working monastery of Franciscan Friars. They were a friendly lot who could play cricket like demons. They also made a very nice sweet wine. Another unique feature of Jaffna is the fifties-style ice-cream parlours, so it seemed only natural to recreate my favourite childhood dessert for the show. I made this banana split, giving it a grown-up makeover using the friars’ sweet wine as a syrup.


Quantity Ingredient
100g jackfruit, peeled and diced
6 sugar bananas, peeled and halved lengthways
2 oranges, peeled, pith removed and segmented
6 scoops vanilla ice cream
200ml thin cream, whipped

Mulled wine reduction

Quantity Ingredient
750ml fortified wine, such as port or tokay
cinnamon, broken up
220g white sugar
8 whole cloves
1 piece mace
1 orange, peeled, white pith removed
1 lime, peeled, white pith removed

Toffee peanuts

Quantity Ingredient
150g raw peanuts, plus extra to garnish
vegetable oil, for greasing
100g white sugar
80ml water


  1. To make the mulled wine reduction, place all of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for 10 minutes or until the mixture is quite sticky and significantly reduced. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to serve. Strain before using, discarding the solids.
  2. To make the toffee peanuts, place the peanuts in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly for a few minutes or until the peanuts have started to brown. Remove immediately from the heat and spread on a plate to stop them from cooking further.
  3. Lightly brush a baking tray with oil and set aside. Wipe the pan used to toast the peanuts and return to medium–high heat. Add the sugar and water, stirring once to combine, then leave to cook, without stirring, for 10 minutes or until the toffee is golden and caramelised, with an even colour. If the toffee starts to stick to the sides of the pan, use a wet pastry brush to wipe it off.
  4. Once it is golden, immediately remove from the heat, quickly add the peanuts and stir to combine. Quickly but carefully pour the toffee peanuts onto the prepared tray and spread out. Leave to completely cool before breaking into shards.
  5. To serve, cover the base of each plate with the wine reduction, divide the jackfruit, banana and orange among the plates, and top with some ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream, the toffee peanut shards and extra peanuts.
My Sri Lanka
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