Monday, November 15, 2010

Banana Coconut Loaf with Tibetan Goji Berries

I've been hearing a lot about Tibetan goji berries, the new miracle ingredient; they apparently will help increase your immune system. I happened upon some while while shopping at my favourite "en vrac" store and curiosity got the better of me. Before I knew it, they were in my shopping basket on the way to my kitchen and God only knows which recipe. Exotic ingredients have always attracted me, and knowing little about there use has never deterred me from tackling a new one. Maybe it's a remnant of my childhood were my parents spared no expense when it came to food, introducing me to exotic ingredients, especially during the holidays. Pomegranates, persimmons, figs, Brazilian nuts, fennel to name a few, all found there way to the festive table way before such food items became mainstream. Tibetan goji berries were not about to stop me from attempting to incorporate them into" something or other". 
You might ask why a banana loaf recipe? Unfortunately I don't have an interesting response other than my daughter off-loading her overripe bananas on me ( she didn't want to waste them). I tested some of the berries and was not impressed with their rather bitter taste. Well, the bananas weren't long for this world anyway so in a way, so they became my "guinea pig ingredient" to go with the lovely sounding Tibetan goji berries. I rehydrated the berries in some water and trying to improve the taste, soaked the drained berries in agave "maple flavoured" syrup. I figured I couldn't do any more damage to the taste than mother nature had already intended.The sweetness of the agave seemed to lessen some of the bitterness but little to improve the flavour of the berries themselves. At least the milder flavour of the berries did not overpower the banana and coconut in the recipe. All in all, the mini cakes were delicious and hopefully a bit more healthy with the addition of the " miracle" Tibetan berries which did add an interesting texture as you bite into one. 

3 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
4 eggs
1 cup Tibetan goji berries (soaked in some water and drained)
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups mashed ripe bananas

Add the drained berries and agave syrup in small bowl. Set Aside In a large mixing bowl stir in 1 1/2 cup flour,( reserving 1 tablespoon), baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and coconut.  Using the reserved flour coat the berries and toss into the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl beat the eggs and mix in the maple syrup and bananas.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg banana mixture. Do not over beat, stirring only to blend all the ingredients. Spoon into 24 prepared  muffin tins or 2 greased 8½x4½x2½ loaf pans.  Bake in a preheated 350º F oven for 20-25 minutes for the muffins and 50-60 minutes for the loaf. The muffins and loaves are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


  1. I love this!! Yes the Goji berries are meant to be truly healthy.. and combined with this amazing coconut and banana loaf.. I guess miracles do happen!

  2. Kimberly,thank goodness the cake still turned out delicious in spite of the berries.

  3. Banana loaf with goji berry...that's innovative! I like goji, but haven't tried them in banana bread.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Angie, I can't say I'm a fan of the goji berries but they worked out OK in the banana cake recipe.

  5. Anna:
    What a recipe of marrying chinese herbs into western bakery!

    Good on you in daring mix and match ingredients in creating new recipes, that's the spirit of a real Chef! :-P

  6. Yin, thanks for dropping by my blog. I was glad that the combination really worked out...."nothing ventured nothing gained".

  7. These look great and delicious!

  8. Joyce, The cake was delicious, no thanks to the famous berries. The only consolation was that the berries were supposed to be healthy for you. Thank goodness I combined them with my standby banana cake recipe.

  9. Goji Berries... yes... I tried those too.for my health conditions, Those sweet, red berries seemed to help, but only during the time when I consumed them. I don't want to take a drug for the rest of my life, so why would I want to take a natural supplement everyday for the rest of my life (although Goji berries are very tasty and are highly nourishing). To me this was not a cure either (and I'm LOOKING for the CURE).
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