Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pisang Goreng, Indonesian Fried Bananas


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I´ve always loved fried plantains, the sweet and the salty ones. You cant beat a dish of fried bananas with rice and fried egg either. I remember as a kid learning about geography, doing puzzle maps of countries in South America, the piece for Ecuador had bananas on it. So for a long time I thought bananas came from, well, you guessed it, Ecuador. That sure was silly. Bananas are originally Asian! So even if there are lots of types of bananas in South America, they didn´t originate there. 

On to my arrival in Southeast Asia and the discovery of Asian style cooked bananas! The first kind I encountered; roasted bananas over a grill on top of coconut husk charcoal.  We saw these along the sidewalks in Luang Prabang and they made for a nice snack. Those bananas and pretty much all the other ones I´ve seen around Southeast Asia are the short fat bananas, sometimes cooked while green and sometimes cooked ripe, like when they are steamed.














In Peru I had eaten dehydrated banana strips, but in Bangkok I discovered sundried whole bananas, to be eaten plain and sometimes covered in white or milk chocolate. The dark chocolate ones are pretty great.  

In Bangkok I also found roasted bananas like in Luang Prabang, Laos but instead of being roasted whole, they were cut into circles, poked flatwise on a wooden stick and pressed between bot plates after roasting. 
These are then covered in sweet coconut syrup 
that makes your fingers deliciously sticky.

And then of course comes the greatest of all banana concoctions you can find in Southeast Asia; fried bananas in a batter made with rice flour and coconut oil.
Hue Tod  in Thai and Pisang Goreng in Bahasa Indonesia, they are not too different from each other apart that the Thai ones have sesame seeds mixed into the batter.  

These are better eaten fresh and crunchy. If they sit in a plastic bag without a paper lining they get terribly soggy. The other day i discovered a version called Pisang Keju which is the fried bananas in batter, covered in sweet condense milk, grated (fake) cheese, and palm sugar. I tried it but no, not to my liking, 

I prefer the classic battered bananas so I figured it was about time I looked up the recipe and made some of my own. It can´t be that hard, or be even more difficult than tempura. I found a “Pisang Goreng” batter mix in the mini market today, maybe I´ll give it a go with that.

But for all you out there who are craving some delish fried bananas Southeast Asian Style, here goes a recipe for you to try at home.
Thanks to Erin Bender @ travelwithbender.com

Ingredients:
2/3 cup Rice flour
1/3 cup Flour
2/3 cup Water
1 pinch Salt
8 Firm bananas sliced
Coconut Oil for frying
Preparation:
1.     Combine both types of flour, water and salt in a deep mixing bowl. Whisk until batter is smooth and slightly thick, almost like pancake batter.
2.     Dust banana evenly with rice flour
3.     Coat banana in batter generously.
4.     Heat a generous amount of oil in a heavy saucepan to 120°C (248°F). 
5.     Add bananas at this low heat and fry very slowly at a rising temperature until golden brown and crispy. This process will take approximately 2 minutes.
6.     Drain well.

Eat on its own or with coconut cream or coconut flakes, or even with sweet condensed milk.