Secrets to Making Perfect Banana Fritters (Pisang Goreng)
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.
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.
- 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.
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!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Heat oil in a frying pan or wok.
- 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.
- Transfer the cooked banana fritters onto paper towels to absorb any excess oil. For best flavor, serve immediately.
Always be careful when cooking with hot oil. You do not want the oil to splash and cause burns.
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)
- 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!
Did You Know?
Banana trees bear fruit only once. Once the fruit has been harvested, the tree will die.
|Serving size: 1 banana fritter|
|Calories from Fat||63|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 7 g||11%|
|Carbohydrates 11 g||4%|
|Protein 2 g||4%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
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
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
When you say corn flour, do you mean corn starch? or corn flour like in Mexico?
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 & PolsonHelpful 9
© 2012 Mazlan