A Childhood Delicacy – deep-fried green bananas
As seen in the September 2013 issue of Pick n Pay Fresh Living Magazine - click to view the article
You would have heard about fried green tomatoes, made popular by the movie of the same name, but have you tried deep-fried green bananas?
Thai restaurants often serve fried regular or finger bananas as a dessert option and we associate bananas with something sweet for breakfast or pudding, whether eaten raw or cooked.
When I was a child living in KwaZulu Natal, spicy battered deep-fried green bananas, or plantain when we could get it, was a delicacy we loved even more than fried chips. My mother would dip brinjals in a similar batter too before frying and you can substitute brinjals for green bananas if you can’t find them. The moment the bananas display any sign of yellow on the skin, you know they’re going to be sweet and not suitable for this recipe.
Fried plantain and green bananas are popular in Kenya and other parts of Africa, the Caribbean, parts of South America and the south of India.
You can also cut the bananas into circular ‘chips’ or French fries if you prefer. The skin will be hard to peel off, and I share how to remove it in the recipe.
I love the addition of Nigella seeds to the batter, which impart a lovely nutty flavour and crunch. Sesame seeds will also do the trick.
Serves 4, as a snack
4 medium green bananas
1/2 cup (125ml) chana flour or plain cake flour
1/2 -1 t ground cumin
1/2 – 1 t ground coriander
1/2 -1 t paprika
1 t (5ml) amchur powder (dried mango powder, optional)
1 t (5ml) Nigella seeds (or sesame seeds)
3/4 cup (200ml) soda water + extra additional if necessary
salt, to taste
chana flour, for dredging
1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil, for frying
1. Add the flour and all the dry ingredients, except the seeds to a shallow bowl or container. Add the soda water and whisk to form a smooth, thin batter. Don’t over beat. Add the seeds to the batter and give a final mix.
2. Chop off both ends of the banana with a sharp knife. Cut a slit down one side of the skin and remove skin, tearing if you have to (it’s the easiest way to do it). Slice bananas in 3, lengthwise along the curve. Cut each slice in half, at an angle.
3. Dust the bananas lightly in flour. Dip each piece in the batter, turning to coat.
4. Add oil to a frying pan and heat on high. The oil is ready if you add a little batter to the pan and it sizzles, rises to the top and browns almost immediately. Remove batter bits and add batter-dipped bananas. Turn heat down to medium-high. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry each side for around 30 – 40 seconds or until the batter turns a deep golden-brown colour. Remove with a slotted spoon and dab off excess oil with absorbent kitchen paper.
Serve battered bananas hot with the green chilli and tamarind dipping sauce.
Green Chilli & Tamarind Dipping Sauce
3 large green chillies
1 Tbsp (15ml) tamarind paste
1/4 cup (60ml) finely chopped coriander
2 t brown or palm sugar (if needed)
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive or canola oil
1/3 medium lemon, juiced (about 2 Tbsp)
salt, to taste
1. Roughly chop the chillies. Add chillies and remaining ingredients to a bowl and blend well with a stick blender until a smooth sauce is formed.
Disclaimer: I have been hired by Fresh Living to create this recipe series.