Sunday, May 25, 2008

quick-fix desserts & snacks — no. 1

even though i buy and use them fairly often in a variety of ways (mostly in baking or to make smoothie type drinks), bananas have never been on my top 10 list of favourite fruits. i'm not sure why — maybe it has something to do with childhood memories of seeing them blacken in that crystal fruit bowl on the dining room table and emit their ripening smell. my parents regularly bought too many. of course, to counter this problem, i always seemed to find them in my lunch bag. even though i said i don't like them, that damned banana was in my lunch anyway with its oh-so-gross smell that made me gag. if they only knew how many bananas i threw in the garbage can at school! LOL.

for that reason, i can only eat them when they are greenish-yellow or have just turned yellow. i think they are at their best at this stage. to this day, if i see one brown spot or they have started to soften, they are immediately relegated into the "banana bread category". one good thing is that they can be frozen to use later.

an easy and quick dessert for bananas which are in their firm stage is the ubiquitous and very popular asian fried bananas. almost a de rigueur post meal ending in vietnam and thailand, they are also eaten as a snack item. the bananas used are often a small variety but the regular standard large(r) kind work just as well.

there are many recipes for the batter. as fried bananas are served in a variety of asian countries, the ingredients that go into the coating will differ from country to country. some will use rice flour or all purpose wheat flour or a combination thereof. as for the liquids, recipes include one or more of the following: eggs, water, coconut milk, beer. some even add coconut to the batter. the one i use is very basic and simple. you can use that one or look around for different recipes. no harm in testing out a few different versions!

the coating for this particular recipe is eggless and dairy free, making it suitable for people with different dietary followings/restrictions. if you want, you can always whisk one egg and add it as the liquid (mixed with 3 tbsp of water) until you get the desired consistency. it works fine without the egg, just using water to bind the flours.

i cannot give an EXACT measure for the amount of liquid used as it will depend on the type of flours you are using. what is important is the consistency; it should be like that of a thick cream (whipping cream) — one which is thick enough to nicely coat the bananas and stay adhered to them. just remember to err on the side of thicker versus thinner. of course, if it is too thin, you can always just add a bit more flour. you can slice a coin sized piece of banana off and coat and cook it to test the results and adjust as necessary — a good idea for people making this for the first time.

using rice flour is important to achieve a crisp texture. you can use either rice flour from glutinous (sweet) rice or a regular one. if you don't want to buy a whole quantity of it, you can easily grind some to a fine powder in your coffee grinder. make sure to sieve it with a fine strainer as you do not want any granular pieces in it.

frying the bananas can be a bit messy because, as they fry, the bananas soften and slight amounts of liquid are released causing splutters. the best thing to do is to (shallow) fry them in about 3 inches of oil in a pot which has high(er) sides.

that said, don't be deterred from try them. it's just a matter of stirring, dipping and frying :))

easy asian style fried bananas

serves 2


2 firm just ripening bananas*

batter ingredients:

4 tbsp rice flour
3 tbsp AP flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sugar
good pinch of salt

enough water to make a heavy cream consistency. you can also use an egg mixed with 3 tbsp water, again, adding only enough to make correct batter consistency.

honey syrup:

1/4 c honey or brown rice syrup
2 tbsp butter or margarine
(1 tsp lime juice or rum, optional)

*bananas should have just turned yellow. using ones which are too ripe will result in poor results as they are too soft and fragile to use in this recipe.

optional garnishes:

-shredded toasted coconut
-toasted sesame seeds
-powdered sugar


heat your oil over medium heat as you make the batter and prepare the bananas.

make the batter —

add the dry ingredients in a bowl and blend them together with a whisk.

add enough water (or egg combined with water) to make a heavy cream consistency. set aside.

prepare the bananas —

peel the bananas.

cut each evenly in half. if you want to make them whole, you'll obviously need a larger bowl for the batter and to fry them — use a wok for that purpose.

to fry —

with a spoon, drop a very small amount of batter into the oil to see if it is ready. you will know when to add the bananas when the piece floats to the surface and bubbles. if it falls to the bottom and stays there, it is not ready.

place each half in the batter and turn to coat evenly.

place the bowl near the heated oil. very carefully transfer each half of banana by jabbing it with a fork.

take care to drop the banana in the oil near the surface of the oil and not from a distance. this will prevent the oil from splattering.

fry the bananas until they are golden brown and drain them on paper towel.

serve them with a drizzling of the honey syrup (or plain honey, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, etc) and sesame seeds or granola..

to make the syrup:

place the honey or brown rice syrup in a microwavable bowl or small pan and add the butter or margarine. heat it until it melts and stir to blend. it should be in a liquid state. some people like to add a tsp of rum or a liqueur to it. i often add lime juice to cut the sweetness. you can also just serve them with a dusting of confectioner's sugar.



Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

It really made me laugh to read your post as I have the same problem with overripe bananas! They look ever so unappetizing and they smell terrible... I remember being disgusted at the sight of my grandmother crushing her extra ripe banana on her toast bread. Gross! I can only eat them when they are green or just slightly yellow, but still firm.

Your recipe looks very tempting! I like that kind of Asian dessert.



burekaboy — said...

rosa - i'm glad i'm not the only one who feels that way! ;) i seriously can't stand the smell of them when they're ripe. maybe we're strange -- seems a lot of people like them in that (decomposing!) state. IMO the only thing they're good for at that point is baking... as always, thanks for your comment :)

Jean-Michel said...

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Come and get it...



Callipygia said...

Burekaboy- You are definitely not alone on the scarey banana issue. Having said this I like a good fried banana- and tho i am also afraid to fry am encouraged by the shallow fry method. Found your site looking for a chickpea cookie recipe & loved your recipe. In fact I am mid write up of a post which I'd like to link to you. OK? Great site-

burekaboy — said...

JM - i shall.... much appreciated and unexpected! :)) auguri.

calli - haha! i knew i couldn't be the ONLY one out there who had issues with bananas!! deep frying is unnecessary when they can be done in much less oil.

with pleasure, link to my blog. thanks in advance. i'm looking forward to what you'll be writing about. not sure if you know but i've posted 2 different recipes for chickpea cookies (the latest is march 13 but not in the links sidebar yet). one is iranian and the other north african ... just to let you know.

thanks for the comment and visit.

Carmen said...

this recipe is very nice
bye bye

expat said...

Recipe looks yummy; will definitely try it.

Also, count me in as another member of the Fear of (Over)Ripening Bananas Club! That gaggy slightly alcoholish smell --blech!! shudder!!

Make 'em barely ripe, just barely starting to turn sweet for me -- after that -- into the deep freeze.

Roberto said...

You've been mastering more recipes I see. One thing is for sure, You've been cooking more than me in some time now. Listen, I just deleted my blog but I have another with private invitation, let me just fix the whole concept and I'll tell you and send your invitation in a couple of days. hang tight!.

burekaboy — said...

hi carmen - thank you :) thanks for your comment and visit.

expat - they are really good (once in a while for me!). then, again, i'm a sucker for anything deep fried :))

welcome to the club! that smell is enough to make anyone's stomach turn....

hey roberto - oh :|o|

well thanks for telling me. will wait for the info. email it to me - you know where to find me! LOL.

Princess Jibi said...

we normally slice up plantains and fry them until the get a bit golden brown. Ripe plantains of course. But bananas I have never tried. But I will soon.

burekaboy — said...

hi pj - i guess you mean you fry the plantains WITHOUT any coating. i know you can fry regular bananas the same way in butter in a pan but i think you need to do it with firm ones. i am not a big eater of bananas so i haven't had them that way. i know other people thing they're really good. thanks for your comment :)