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Secrets to Making Perfect Banana Fritters (Pisang Goreng)

Author:

Born and raised in Malaysia, Mazlan is proud of his heritage. In his free time, he likes to tinker around in the kitchen.

Learn the art of making perfect banana fritters!

Learn the art of making perfect banana fritters!

What Are Pisang Goreng?

Pisang goreng, or banana fritters, are a favorite Malaysian teatime snack. Typically sold by street vendors, they are made with bananas that have been coated in batter and deep-fried until crispy and golden. This snack is popular not only in Malaysia but in many other Southeast Asian countries, as well.

Would you like to learn the secret to making perfect pisang goreng? All you need to do is choose the right type of banana, use the right ingredients in the batter, and follow the right deep-frying guidelines. Easy!

But, as with many things, there's a bit more to it than meets the eye.

Pisang raja is the best variety to use for banana fritters. These came from my garden.

Pisang raja is the best variety to use for banana fritters. These came from my garden.

Secret 1: Choose the Right Banana Variety

Top choice: Pisang raja. At one time, this variety was readily available in Southeast Asian wet markets, but now you have to really shop around.

Runner-up choice: Pisang abu. Common in Southeast Asia. A good alternative if pisang raja isn't available.

Other options:

  • Burro bananas: Sweet and sour taste, similar to pisang nangka.
  • Plantains: Native to West and Central Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, and parts of South America.
  • Indian cooking bananas: Available in Indian grocery stores. Ask for a variety with a sweet flavor that is suitable for frying.

If you live in the UK, Australia, or the United States, you may find these varieties in Asian markets or specialty grocery stores. Ask for cooking bananas.

To learn more about which varieties are suitable for banana fritters, you may be interested in this article: Which Banana Varieties Are Suitable for Banana Fritters?

The Cavendish variety, which is the large yellow variety that you find at most Western supermarkets, is best eaten fresh and is not suitable for banana fritters.

Pisang abu is my second-choice variety for banana fritters.

Pisang abu is my second-choice variety for banana fritters.

Secret 2: Use the Right Batter Ingredients

Perfect banana fritters should be crispy on the outside with tender and moist fruit on the inside. Let's talk about some of the critical components to making the perfect batter for pisang goreng.

  • Ice-cold water: To make the batter crispy and crunchy, it is important to use ice-cold water in the batter mix. Some people even leave the batter in the fridge for an hour before using it, though I'd suggest adding this extra step only if you can spare the time.
  • Cornstarch or corn flour: Using one of these two ingredients helps to boost the crispiness of the cooked fritter. (I used corn flour in my recipe.)
  • Bonus tip: A friend suggested using cold sparkling mineral water or soda water, rather than regular water. The bubbles help minimize oil absorption for a less oily banana fritter.

What not to add: One of my readers suggested adding egg yolk to the batter recipe. I tried this with one medium-sized egg, but it made the batter too thick and heavy. It did not coat the banana evenly, and the resulting fritters were soggy.

Secret 3: Deep-Fry Like a Pro

  • Invest in a deep-fry thermometer: It is important to maintain the correct temperature for the cooking oil. If the temperature dips too low, you will end up with greasy fritters. If it is too hot, the crust will burn before the fritter is properly cooked.
  • Maintain a high temperature: Before you start to deep-fry, make sure the oil has reached 325°F (185°C). Cooking at high heat will minimize oil absorption, hence reducing fat and calories.
  • Use new cooking oil: Always use new, clean cooking oil—not previously used oil. When you fry banana fritters, it is likely that you will see some leftover bits of batter in the oil. Before frying each batch be sure to remove these bits because they will burn, which will give a burnt flavor to the oil.
  • Cut the bananas into similar-sized pieces: For even frying, make sure that the bananas have been cut into similar-sized pieces.
  • Don't overcrowd the oil: For maximum crispiness, the fritters must be submerged and surrounded by hot cooking oil. Do not fry too many bananas at once. This will also reduce the chances of soggy and greasy fritters.
  • Keep them warm: If you don't intend to eat the fritters immediately, keep them warm in an oven that has been heated to 200°F. This will keep them crisp.

My Banana Fritter Recipe

There are many different banana fritter recipes out there. The traditional Malaysian batter recipe calls for only rice flour and a pinch of kapur (slaked lime). As kapur may not be readily available where you live, I have not included this ingredient in my recipe here.

For this article, I have adapted a recipe from Amy Beh, a prominent Malaysian celebrity chef. I have reduced the amount of water slightly, as I prefer a slightly thicker batter. But be careful not to make it too thick; this will lead to a longer cooking time, which will make the banana less moist and juicy.

I hope you enjoy!

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

15 min

25 min

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/4 cup corn flour
  • 1 tablespoon rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 3.04 fl oz (90ml) ice-cold water
  • 4 to 6 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced in half
  • Cooking oil, for deep-frying

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, mix the self-raising flour, corn flour, rice flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the ice-cold water and whisk until you get a smooth consistency with no lumps. Be sure to add the water slowly and monitor the consistency, adding more water only if required. The batter should not be too runny or too thick.
  2. Peel and then slice the bananas in half, lengthwise (see photo). Drop the banana slices in the batter. Set aside for about 5 minutes before frying.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan or wok.
  4. When the oil temperature reaches 325°F (185°C), deep-fry the well-coated bananas until they are golden brown. Fry about 3 to 4 pieces at a time. If you overcrowd the oil, the oil temperature will drop.
  5. Transfer the cooked banana fritters onto paper towels to absorb any excess oil. For best flavor, serve immediately.

Photo Guide

Peel and slice the bananas in half, lengthwise.

Peel and slice the bananas in half, lengthwise.

Place the sliced bananas in the batter and leave for about 5 minutes before frying. This allows the baking powder to work its magic and gives you a crispier banana fritter.

Place the sliced bananas in the batter and leave for about 5 minutes before frying. This allows the baking powder to work its magic and gives you a crispier banana fritter.

Serving Suggestions

In Malaysia, banana fritters are typically sold by street vendors. Most people, including myself, just buy them from the vendors and eat them straight.

However, if you order them at restaurants or hotels, this simple, poor man's food will be given a special status with a fancier presentation. They may be served with any of the following additions:

  • Syrup or honey
  • Ice cream (only vanilla)
  • Caramel
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Dusted with icing sugar
  • Dusted with cinnamon powder
  • Whipped cream
  • Sprinkled with grated cheese

People from the southern part of Malaysia have a special way of eating banana fritters. They have it with sweet soy sauce. It may sound odd, but it does taste nice. Try it!

Banana Peels as Fertilizer

Don't throw away the banana peels or skins—they make great fertilizers. The potassium and phosphorus found in bananas are essential macronutrients for plants. I have found that my rose bushes love them, and I have been rewarded with rich colors in my blooms.

When I make fertilizer, I usually blend the banana peels with some water and then water my plants with the mixture. For additional nutrients, you can use the water that was used to clean rice.

Banana Peels and Skin Remedies

Did you know that banana peels may be helpful with certain skin conditions? Here are a few possible benefits:

  • Smooth out wrinkles and improve skin texture and tone
  • Help reduce acne
  • Reduce skin inflammation and even remove warts
Another photo of pisang raja from my garden.

Another photo of pisang raja from my garden.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: When you say corn flour, do you mean corn starch? or corn flour like in Mexico?

Answer: Corn flour is the very finely ground cornmeal, it is not the cornstarch as in the USA. Not sure about corn flour in Mexico, probably same as what we have here. Try this brand: Corn Flour by Brown & Polson

© 2012 Mazlan

Comments

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on June 05, 2018:

Hey koolkit, you are right about the tumeric and if readers are wondering how much to add to the batter, I suggest about a pinch of tumeric is more than enough.

On the sugar and condense milk dipping, yeah that's awesome and decadent :-)

koolkit on June 03, 2018:

in some traditional recipe, you could also add some turmeric power to give some 'color' to the batter and a little bit of taste. and don't forget that you could eat it with a little dip in sugar or condensed milk. :D

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on January 22, 2018:

Nice girl, I have not tried this but you can experiment with batter meant for tempura or fish and chip. Both of these should be easily available at your place?

Let us know of the outcome pls. Thanks.

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on January 22, 2018:

Nice girl, glutinous rice flour has more starch, is thicker and not suitable as batter.

nice gurl on January 22, 2018:

can i use glutinous rice flour instead of rice flour?

STArberry on January 22, 2018:

yes i have problem getting rice flour in my area. can i take away the use of rice flour in the dish?

strawberry on January 22, 2018:

what type of oil would be the best to use and the healthiest?

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on January 07, 2018:

STArberry, the rice flour make the batter crispier even when the banana fritter is cold. Do you have problem getting rice flour in your area?

STArberry on January 06, 2018:

Is it ok if I do not add the rice flour into the batter?

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on November 21, 2017:

Hi, Mei.

Thanks. Mushy due to the over-ripe bananas? Which banana variety that you used?

Yes, it is great on yam and sweet potatoes. By the way, sweet potato is also great if dipped in a very light & watery curry-powder paste. Try it.

Mei Harris on November 21, 2017:

The batter for this is so crispy......so yummy. However, the bananas was too mushy. In US, maybe plantains would be a better in this. I also fried some sweet potatoes/yams using this batter. So good! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on August 14, 2017:

Syazwani, the traditional rice flour and kapur recipe is great but this article and recipe is ideal if you don't have access to these ingredients, esp. if you are studying or live abroad (i.e. outside Malaysia)

Syazwani on August 14, 2017:

How did this recipe fare compared to the traditional rice flour & kapur recipe?

Diana Abrahamson on April 27, 2015:

Banana fritters are a favorites..making me hungry just looking at these golden delights!

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on March 03, 2015:

Hi jules uren. Yup, this is delicious. You had also put grated cheese over just cooked banana fritters. Thanks jules for sharing this.

jules uren on March 03, 2015:

Another way to serve banana fritters is to reduce coconut cream. On stove add palm sugar. Drizzle over just cooked fritters n a side dollop of vanilla ice cream. Yummy.

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on November 17, 2014:

Hi Kristina4goodfood. Yes it is yummy, but greasy! All tasty foods are greasy aren't they? Thanks for dropping by and I hope you will try it out soon.

Kristina Braaksma from Kenosha, WI on November 16, 2014:

Thee pictures make the food look really yummy! I will be sure to print this and try it here in the States. It's been very helpful, thank you!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on April 21, 2013:

thanks for the recipe. Could use the batter for sweet potatoes too. Voted up

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on April 06, 2013:

@ketage, I understand your frustration, but worry not as you can always try your version of goreng pisang in Croatia

@pinkhawk, thanks for dropping by and commenting. Banana fritters for breakfast, now that sounds interesting!

@tattuwurn, your version with strips of ripe jack fruit is a variation that I have to try. Thanks for sharing

@khmazz, thanks for book marking this article. I hope you will share with us your success with this recipe.

@Vacation Trip, this is a really easy recipe and also easy to make. Try it, you will like it.

Susan from India on April 04, 2013:

Great recipe. very easy to make also and looks very delicious. Thanks for sharing.

Kristen Mazzola from South Florida on April 03, 2013:

This recipe looks amazing! I booked marked it and am going to try to make it soon!! :)

tattuwurn on April 03, 2013:

We also have a similar preparation with bananas here in the Philippines (we call them "maruya"). Sometimes we'd add strips of ripe jackfruit. We love those fritters. I haven't tried it rice flour though, this would be a really interesting addition. Thanks for sharing. :)

pinkhawk from Pearl of the Orient on April 02, 2013:

My mother usually make this for afternoon snack and sometimes in breakfast, ^_^! Yummy... Thanks for sharing! ^_^

ketage from Croatia on March 19, 2013:

I really miss the goreng pisang from Penang , made with pisang raja, sigh

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on February 28, 2013:

suechen , I loved fried moon cake with yam. (Not tried with sweet potato yet). Will try your version with the egg white, the next time we fry banana fritter. Thanks for sharing.

suechen on February 28, 2013:

I tried ur batter recipe to fry Chinese New Year sweet cake (leen guo) with sweet potato and yam. The result was perfect....i put in an egg white for added crispiness. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

Rumana from Sharjah, UAE on February 05, 2013:

It is so easyy!!! I should try it once

Voted up Useful

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on June 26, 2012:

@Kim Thanks, I am glad this recipe was of help to you and you had success with it.

Kim on June 25, 2012:

Very good recipe.. Highly recommended...!

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on May 04, 2012:

Hi teaches12345, thanks for the visit. You should give them a try. I am a bit of a traditionalist and I love banana fritters on its own, otherwise with vanilla ice cream!

Dianna Mendez on May 04, 2012:

I don't know if we have the red banana variety here in this part of America, but I will look into this option. I have never had banana fritters but they do look very good, and having them with chocolate and cinnamon would be my favorite treat.

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on April 28, 2012:

Hi Thelma Alberts, yes there's a lot of similarity in our foods, amongst the ASEAN region. I am sure your country will have a lot more banana food concoctions since the Philippines is a net exporter of bananas.

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on April 27, 2012:

Yummy! I love banana fritters! Your recipe sounds similar to the Filipino banana fritters that I use to make when I am at home. Thanks for sharing.

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on April 23, 2012:

iamageniuster, yes you should. Thanks for the visit.

iamageniuster on April 22, 2012:

I love making food using bananas. Great recipe. Maybe I'll try it out.

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on April 20, 2012:

Thanks Chris. You should give them a try. Visited your profile; my daughter just completed her degree in psychology. She may want to continue with clinical psychology.

Chris Achilleos on April 20, 2012:

Thanks for sharing this great recipe. Voted up and useful!

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on April 19, 2012:

Hi Snurre, thanks for dropping by. Yep, you should give it a try. Have it this Sunday, on Earth Day! Enjoy!

Snurre on April 19, 2012:

What an interesting recipe! Will definitely try it one day.

Voted and SHARED

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on April 17, 2012:

Then you should give it a try, Movie Master. It's really easy. The tough part for you, maybe, is finding the right banana. Don't give up. Thanks for the visit.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on April 17, 2012:

I love banana fritters but have never made them, many thanks for the recipe!

Voted up

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on April 14, 2012:

Hi Jackie thanks for the visit. Yeap, you should give it a try.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on April 14, 2012:

Sounds so good, I will have to try them! Thank you.

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on April 08, 2012:

Hi sgbrown, thanks for dropping by. It will be easier if you try the Asian or International market. I was in the Asian part (India and its subcontinent)of Chicago last December and saw a variety that could be use for banana fritters. It was from India and I forgot to ask for the name of this variety. Give it a try to let me know. The same batter can also be use to fry yam which I believe is also easily available in US. Peel the skin and slice the yam in half inch thickness, dip in batter and fry. It's very tasty.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on April 08, 2012:

This sounds wonderful! I love bananas, hopefully I will be able to find the right type of bananas to try this. Thanks for sharing this recipe! Have a great day! :)

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on April 07, 2012:

Nomascus concolor, good to see you here. Yes, I have read that banana fritters are also popular in Africa. We have a few versions of banana fritters and there are similarities in these versions to those in Africa. Not sure who copied who!!

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on April 07, 2012:

jojokaya, thanks for the visit. I am not surprised that banana fritter was your regular afternoon snack, when you were in Malaysia. In fact it is the favourite afternoon snack of all Malaysians!

Nomascus concolor from A Country called Earth on April 07, 2012:

hummmm banana friters! They are very popular in some parts of Africa as well - I just love them! Voted up thanks for sharing

jojokaya from USA on April 03, 2012:

Banana fritters, love it. When I lived in Malaysia, its our regular afternoon snack:)

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on April 01, 2012:

dinkan53, yeah that's the problem with good tasty food, there are loaded with cholesterol..just need to go to the gym and burn the fat!!!

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on April 01, 2012:

Hi ramurray3, Thank you, I'm glad you will try this one day

ramurray3 from New York City on April 01, 2012:

This sounds really good. I will keep this recipe in mind.

dinkan53 from India on April 01, 2012:

It is great in taste, but enemy for the diet controllers and those have increased cholesterol levels. Thanks for the recipe.