Setup Pisang: Bananas Poached in Spices (Vegan)

A sweet and comforting warm dessert, consisting of bananas poached in spices and herbs such as cinnamon, cloves and pandan leaves.

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Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk hails from Solo, the historic royal capital and cultural centre of Java, Indonesia. She has been cooking since the age of 12, and also performs and teaches traditional Javanese dance. Her dream is to eventually write her own Indonesian cookbook.

Setup pisang is a poached banana dessert that will warm you on a cool afternoon or a cold rainy night. This sweet and fruity dish is created by combining bananas, spices and palm sugar. The process is similar to making kolak but with more spices, and no coconut milk.

To make delicious setup pisang, cooking bananas are essential. The best cooking bananas to use are: pisang kepok (saba banana), pisang raja (Latundan banana) or pisang tanduk (horn plantain). Choose ripe cooking bananas that are still firm, and peel and slice according to your preference. Ripe but firm bananas hold their texture well during cooking, absorb the flavour without being mushy, and glaze beautifully, making the dish irresistible when presented. The soft but firm texture of the fruit is a delight to the bite too. The banana’s slightly sourish taste will also be released during cooking which will add flavour to the whole dish.

The poaching is done in palm sugar syrup with a bouquet of spices. Cinnamon, cloves and pandan leaves are incorporated in this recipe. All the ingredients are simmered over a low fire to allow the sliced bananas to gently cook in the spiced palm sugar syrup. The result is a mouthwatering sweet banana dessert. 


This dessert is one of my guilty pleasures. Cooked banana is my weakness and warm dessert is my sin. It was hard to stop eating this deliciously-spiced, warm, poached bananas. I will confess I had this dessert two days in a row, not stopping until it was all gone, and then suffered from a sugar high!

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Setup Pisang: Bananas Poached in Spices (Vegan)

Setup Pisang: Bananas Poached in Spices (Vegan)

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Vegan


Setup pisang is a sweet and comforting warm dessert, consisting of bananas poached in spices and herbs such as cinnamon, cloves and pandan leaves.


  • 6 cooking bananas 
  • 50 gr palm sugar
  • 60 gr granulated sugar
  • 2 pandan leaves 
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 pcs whole cinnamons barks
  • 1 lt water


  1. Boil the palm sugar with 0.5 lt of water, sieve, set aside.
  2. Peel and slice the bananas into bite sizes, set aside.
  3. In a cooking pan, bring to a boil: the remaining water, the palm sugar syrup, cinnamon, cloves and granulated sugar.

    bring to a boil

  4. When the soup has boiled, add the banana slices, and simmer over medium low heat for 25 minutes. 

    add the banana slices

  5. Transfer the spiced bananas into an individual serving bowl and serve.


  • Adjust the amount of sugar according to your preference.
  • Setup pisang is also great served lukewarm or cold.

Keywords: Vegan, Palm sugar, cinnamon, cloves, pandan leaves

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