Saturday, December 31, 2011

My favourite recipe : "Banana fritters" / "Pisang goreng"

Pisang goreng is a snack food mostly found throughout Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. It is usually consumed as a snack during tea time. I read somewhere that historically, it is introduced in 1511 by the Portuguese who had banana fritters as a breakfast staple. The Portuguese introduced flour for the first time into the Malay diet which enabled fritters to be cooked. 

Nowadays, you can get it almost everywhere by the roadside. The only thing that differs are the taste. You can even buy a pre-mix flour produced by Adabi. But most people prefer to mix their own batter. 

It is interesting to note that one of the popular ingredient calls for the use of kapur. It is also known as kapur makan or kapur sireh. It is a common ingredient in the preparation of traditional Malay kuih. Kapur functioned as thickener and is used to make fritters crunchy. Chemically, it is another from of calcium carbonate. Use is sparingly though; little can help build stronger bones but too much can contribute to kidney stones!

There are many variations of this recipe. Here are some of them.

What you need:

4 bananas (pisang raja is recommended)
1 tablespoon of rice flour
1 tablespoon of wheat flour
1 tablespoon of corn starch
Salt to taste
A pinch of powdered turmeric for colour
8 tablespoon of water (more if necessary)
1 pinch of kapur makan

What to do:

Sieve all the flour. Mix it all together until you get a consistency similar to evaporated milk. Dip banana in the batter and deep fry to golden.

Tips and secrets shared

Some like their fritters crunchy. The problem with most fritters are they tend to get soft when cooled. Few years ago, there was a controversy on the claimed usage of plastic bags which was added in the frying fat just to make it crunchy. I do not know whether it is true or not but I stopped my consumption of banana fritters then. Later, suspicion on such practice subsided and banana fritters is on the roll again. I guess, not every banana fritters seller in this world is sick-minded.

Here is tip from a makcik from Kelantan who sells banana fritters. She fries the bananas twice. Meaning, dip in the batter and then fry. After that, dip it in the batter again and fry for the second time. The result is a crunchy fritter!

Another recipe calls for the use of cooking oil in the batter. Mix a pinch of salt with 1 tablespoon of cooking oil.   Mix wheat flour and rice flour together with the salty oil and mix water until you get the right consistency.

This next recipe calls for the use of biskut lemak or cream crackers! A stall owner uses this as her secret special ingredient. You need to crushed it finely and mix into the batter. I have not try it out myself tough.

The next variation also comes from another stall owner. In the usual mixture of wheat flour and rice flour, add in an egg and a little amount of hot oil. After we mix the batter, dip the banana and fry. Alternatively, you can use margarine to substitute the oil. The recipe for 1 bowl of batter calls for the use of 2 tablespoons of fat.

A friend whose mum used to sell banana fritters shared this recipe. Mix rice flour with an egg, half tablespoon of margarine, water and a pinch of kapur. The recipe guarantees crunchy fritters.

Another recipe is a family secret passed on to generations. The recipe calls for a mix of a pinch of kapur, salt, an egg, shredded coconut, rice flour and water. Dip banana and fry till golden.
Sometimes, adding an inviting aroma can help. One stall owner claims that she uses rose essence in the batter mixture to improve the aroma.

My mum goes the extra mile. She will wash the rice grains, dry it out in the hot sun and pound it until fine. That alone will take hours but the banana fritters gone in 60 seconds, ironic isn't it? But believe me, it does make a difference with fresh rice flour!

I believe that all tips and recipes above are practical and will yield different yet tasteful banana fritters. Do have a try and make necessary adjustments. Share with us your success stories!

As long as you do not mix plastic bags in the frying oil, I am all for goreng pisang!

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