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Which Banana Varieties Are Suitable For Banana Fritters?

Updated on May 23, 2017
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Mazlan is an engineer by profession and a lover of food. In his free time, he likes to tinker around in the kitchen

Which banana varieties are suitable for banana fritters?
Which banana varieties are suitable for banana fritters? | Source

Banana Fritters

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I fried these banana fritters using Pisang RajaStreet vendors selling banana fritters. He uses the Pisang Abu
I fried these banana fritters using Pisang Raja
I fried these banana fritters using Pisang Raja | Source
Street vendors selling banana fritters. He uses the Pisang Abu
Street vendors selling banana fritters. He uses the Pisang Abu | Source

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the many choices of bananas available in the market that you had no idea which variety to buy and fry as banana fritters?

You know that not all bananas are suitable to be fried as banana fritters. Bananas that are meant to be eaten fresh such as the Cavendish variety will be too soft and will even turn out soggy if fried. You were told the cooking variety is the best. But which one?

Let me try to help you here. I have eaten and fried banana fritters using several banana varieties before, and will share with you my experience.

Six Banana Varieties for Banana Fritters

I have listed six types of banana that are suitable for banana fritters. These banana varieties, which are grown and available in Southeast Asia, are called by various names in different countries. What I had described in this article are its Malaysian names and have also included its equivalent names for some countries.

There are also photos of these bananas to assist you in identifying them. This will help to pinpoint it to your local names.

If you lived in temperate countries or in a non-banana growing country, you might find these bananas in the Asian grocery stores. Alternatively you can use plantain, which is also listed in this article.

So check out the various flavors that you can get with these banana varieties and see, which is your favorite.

Note: For recipe on banana fritters, check out this link to Secret to Good Banana Fritters Recipe

Pisang Raja is probably the best banana to use for banana fritters
Pisang Raja is probably the best banana to use for banana fritters | Source

Pisang Raja, the Best Choice for Banana Fritters

We all have our own favorite banana and to me Pisang Raja is my favorite choice. It is probably the best banana variety for banana fritters.

The texture is firm and delectable with almost yellow to orange in color. It has the right amount of sweetness that make you come back for more. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very sweet (as in honey), Pisang Raja will be on the scale of 5.

Pisang Raja used to be easily available. Somehow it is not that easy to find them nowadays, maybe it is mostly exported. Even if you can find them, the price is higher compared to other varieties, except for Pisang Tanduk that cost slightly more.

That is why your local street vendor that sells banana fritter will sell other varieties such as Pisang Abu or Pisang Nangka, as they are cheaper.

If you are lucky enough to come across Pisang Raja in the night market or at your local market, don’t just look at them, buy it as it is not easy to come by.

Alternatively, plant Pisang Raja in your backyard as what I had done. I now get an easy and cheap supply of the best banana variety for banana fritters!

English Name: Raja Banana, Musa Belle banana

Local Name: Pisang Raja (Malaysia/Indonesia), Radja (Philippines), Kluai Khai Boran (Thailand)

Pisang Tanduk is the most expensive of all the varieties listed here,  and is second in my list of the best banana varieties for banana fritters
Pisang Tanduk is the most expensive of all the varieties listed here, and is second in my list of the best banana varieties for banana fritters | Source
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Pisang Tanduk must be sliced at an angle, to fry as banana frittersBanana fritters using Pisang Tanduk
Pisang Tanduk must be sliced at an angle, to fry as banana fritters
Pisang Tanduk must be sliced at an angle, to fry as banana fritters | Source
Banana fritters using Pisang Tanduk
Banana fritters using Pisang Tanduk | Source

Pisang Tanduk or Horn Plantain is my Second Choice for Banana Fritters

If you come across a banana that is slightly curved, elongated and looked like a rhinoceros horn, then you have seen a Pisang Tanduk. It also looks like plantain, hence its other name, Horn Plantain.

Pisang Tanduk has a thick skin, which will turn yellow when ripe and is one of the bigger banana variety. It has a sweet flavor (scale of 5) and is usually fried as banana fritters, or sliced and dried as banana chips. It is also the most expensive banana variety listed in this article.

To fry, slice it at an angle (see photo on the right), mix it to your favorite batter, then fry.

Pisang Tanduk is another one of my favorite bananas for banana fritters. Try it, and I bet you too will like it.

English Name: Horn Plantain

Local Name: Pisang Tanduk (Malaysia/Indonesia), Kluai Nga Chang (Thailand), Tindok (Philippines)

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Pisang Abu is also known as Pisang Nipah or Pisang Sabah, the most common banana variety for banana fritters as it is cheaper and easily availableSimilar to Pisang Abu, this Pisang Sabah or Saba is available only in the state of Sabah in Malaysia, so most of the banana fritters in Sabah used this variety. it is also cheaper.
Pisang Abu is also known as Pisang Nipah or Pisang Sabah, the most common banana variety for banana fritters as it is cheaper and easily available
Pisang Abu is also known as Pisang Nipah or Pisang Sabah, the most common banana variety for banana fritters as it is cheaper and easily available | Source
Similar to Pisang Abu, this Pisang Sabah or Saba is available only in the state of Sabah in Malaysia, so most of the banana fritters in Sabah used this variety. it is also cheaper.
Similar to Pisang Abu, this Pisang Sabah or Saba is available only in the state of Sabah in Malaysia, so most of the banana fritters in Sabah used this variety. it is also cheaper. | Source

Pisang Abu, Pisang Nipah, Pisang Sabah or Saba, the Most Popular Variety for Banana Fritters

Pisang Abu is also known in other parts of the country as Pisang Nipah and Pisang Sabah or Saba. It is the most popular variety with the street vendors for banana fritters as it is easily available, cheaper and has a reasonably good taste (scale of 4 for sweetness), when cooked. Unlike some cooking varieties, Pisang Abu does not taste good when eaten raw.

This variety is slightly shorter than Pisang Raja at 3.4 - 5.9 inch (10-15cm), but broader in width at 1.2 - 2.0 inch (3-5cm) and has a thicker skin. When ripe, the skin will be yellow in color. The fruit has a soft texture and is light cream in color.

English Names: Dwarf Orinoco, Horse Banana or Burro, Bluggoe

Local Names: Pisang Abu (Malaysia), Pisang Batu (Java, Indonesia), Largo (Hawaii), Nalla Bontha (India), Matavia (Philippines), Horse Plantain (Jamaica), Kluai Som (Thailand)

Pisang nangka is green even when ripe. It will turn slightly yellowish when over-ripe. When it is very ripe it taste sweet and sour and is also another favorite banana variety for banana fritters
Pisang nangka is green even when ripe. It will turn slightly yellowish when over-ripe. When it is very ripe it taste sweet and sour and is also another favorite banana variety for banana fritters | Source

Pisang Nangka, for a sweet and sour Banana Fritter

Pisang Nangka or Jack-fruit banana when cooked smelled almost similar to a jack-fruit, hence, its name.

The skin is always green even when ripe. To know if pisang nangka is ripe, press it and if it is soft, then it is ripe. Another way is to check the end of pisang nangka. If the flower bud has dried and turned black and ready to drop off, then it is ripe and good for frying as banana fritters.

If it is overripe, the skin will turn slightly yellowish. The fruit itself has a soft texture and has a light cream color.

To use pisang nangka for banana fritters, choose the ripe green-skin banana that is soft when pressed. The texture of this variety is firm and taste sweet and sour. In fact, it is more sour than sweet, with the 'sweet level' sitting on a scale of 2.

If you are not keen on the sweet variety such as pisang raja, then the sweet and sour Pisang Nangka is just for you.

English Name: -nil-

Local Name: Pisang Nangka (Malaysia/Indonesia), Laknau (Philippines), Kluai Niu Charakne (Thailand),

Pisang Awak, a not so popular banana variety as it has seeds that can be a nuisance when you eat them as banana fritters
Pisang Awak, a not so popular banana variety as it has seeds that can be a nuisance when you eat them as banana fritters | Source

Pisang Awak, my least favorite banana variety for Banana Fritters

Pisang Awak is my least favorite banana variety for any form of cooking. One of the reasons is the black seeds that are usually present in the variety that is available here. Another reason is the rather flat taste and sometimes the slightly bitter taste, or kelat as we said it in Malaysian language. It is this distinctive bitter taste that makes this variety a popular ingredient for banana beer in some parts of Africa.

Despite all these, some street vendors still uses Pisang Awak for banana fritters as it is cheap.

There are, however, other varieties of Pisang Awak, which I was told are sweet and do not have the annoying black seeds.

Pisang Awak when ripe, the skin is a lighter shade of yellow as compared to the skin of Pisang Raja or Pisang Abu. It is rounder with long tip at the end of the fruit.

The plant is more known for its leaves rather than its fruits. Pisang Awak's leaves are more aromatic and soft, yet durable. Hence, there are used in local delicacies that use banana leaves as part of its preparatory works.

English Name: Ducasse

Local Name: Pisang Awak (Malaysia), Pisang Klotok (Indonesia), Kluai nam wa (Thailand), Chek nam va (Cambodia), Kayinja (Uganda), Vietnamita (Cuba), Nyeupe (Kenya), Karpuravalli or Monohar (India), Katali (Philippines)

Plantain, banana variety commonly available in the African continent and the West Indies is a good alternative for banana fritters
Plantain, banana variety commonly available in the African continent and the West Indies is a good alternative for banana fritters | Source

Plantain, a good alternative for Banana Fritters

If you are the unlucky one, who do not live in a banana-growing country, and if the varieties mentioned earlier are not available at your local Asian grocery stores, then the next best alternative is Plantain.

Plantain is almost similar in shape and size to Pisang Tanduk, but is incomparable in taste. It is, however, a good alternative.

Green or under ripe plantains are difficult to peel and you need a knife to peel it. It is easier with the ripe plantain that has yellow skin and this is the type that should be used for banana fritters. If it has a bit of brown spots on its yellow skin, then it is even better as it means that the plantain is more than ripe and the texture is not so firm. This is usually cheaper than the green unripe plantain!

To fry, slice it at an angle (similar to Pisang Tanduk) and mix it with the batter.

Cavendish banana variety is not suitable for banana fritters.
Cavendish banana variety is not suitable for banana fritters. | Source

Cavendish Banana is not suitable for Banana Fritters

The Cavendish banana variety is eaten raw and not suitable for frying as banana fritters. The over-ripe or bruised Cavendish, however, can be cooked and there are several recipes that you can find online for this.

One of this recipes is for mashed banana fritter or Pisang Cekodok. This recipe uses only two ingredients and is quick, easy and tasty. Check out the link for the recipe.

Trivial Banana Info

Do you know that banana plant is not a tree, but is a herb. In fact it is the world's largest herb. You would have thought that this tall plant has its 'trunk' made of wood. It is not. Instead it is a series of leaves that tightly overlapped each other.


Banana Nutritional Values

Banana is one of the most nutritious foods that you can easily carry with you to work, to school, to the gym and almost to any other places that you intend to go.

It has several vitamins and minerals (see listing below) and gives you the quick and sustained energy boost, which is great after a workout.

Have You Tried Banana Fritters Before?

All things when fried will not be healthy as compared to if eaten fresh.

Unfortunately, banana fritters need to be fried and despite the oil and grease, I will continue to eat banana fritters.

What about you?

If you have not tried it before, give it a try.

A medium sized banana will gives you

Nutrients
Amount
Vitamin A
144 IU
Vitamin C
19.6 mg
Vitamin E
0.2mg
Vitamin K
1.1mcg
Thiamin
0.1 mg
Riboflavin
0.2 mg
Niacin
1.5 mg
Vitamin B6
0.8 mg
Folate
45.0 mcg
Pantothenic Acid
0.8 mg
Choline
22.0 mg
Betane
0.2 mg
Calcium
11.3 mg
Iron
0.6 mg
Magnesium
60.8 mg
Phosphorus
49.5 mg
Potassium
806 mg
Sodium
2.3 mg
Zinc
0.3 mg
Copper
0.2 mg
Manganese
0.6 mg
Selenium
2.3 mcg
Fluoride
5.0 mcg
Carbohydrate
51.4 g
Dietary fiber
5.9 g
Sugar
27.5 g
Source: USDA SR-21

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    • greatstuff profile image
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      Mazlan 8 weeks ago from Malaysia

      Liam, yes there are more than 1000 varieties of banana. Amazing right?

    • profile image

      Liam 8 weeks ago

      Goodness ... didn't know there are so many varieties of bananas !

    • greatstuff profile image
      Author

      Mazlan 18 months ago from Malaysia

      Hi ppmchan. At the moment I have some pisang raja tree offshoots or the little baby pisang raja plant if you like to call it. Email me your mobile number and i will call you where you can pick it up. My office is also in PJ.

    • profile image

      ppmchan 18 months ago

      Hi Mazlan .. i found your article very interesting and very inspire to also grow my own banana tree .. Where did you get your pisang raja plant to grow? Am living in PJ..

    • greatstuff profile image
      Author

      Mazlan 22 months ago from Malaysia

      Hi VirginiaLynne. It is a very simple recipe (check out my article on this recipe) and I am sure one of the banana varieties that you have in store (esp. the Asian stores) will be OK for you to do Banana Fritters. Give it a try!

    • greatstuff profile image
      Author

      Mazlan 22 months ago from Malaysia

      Thelma, good to hear from you again. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you will a chance to do Banana Fritters in Germany, one day.

    • greatstuff profile image
      Author

      Mazlan 22 months ago from Malaysia

      Thanks Kristen Howe. Good to see you here again. You must try Banana Fritters whenever you have a chance, it's very addictive (but alas, a bit greasy :-(

    • greatstuff profile image
      Author

      Mazlan 22 months ago from Malaysia

      Hi Fox Music. I'm glad you find it informative and thanks for the compliment.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 22 months ago from United States

      Very interesting article. I do not live in a country that grows many bananas but we do have some of those varieties in stores. I haven't made banana fritters for a long time. You are making me hungry!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 22 months ago from Germany

      Congratulations on the HOTD award! Looking at the photo of banana fritters makes me hungry. Yum!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 22 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Congrats on HOTD! This was an interesting and useful hub on making banana fritters, which sounds yummy to me. Voted up!

    • Fox Music profile image

      Fox Music 22 months ago

      Thanks for Sharing this Hub-Page "Which Banana Varieties Are Suitable For Banana Fritters?" Very Informative and Congrats on Hub Of the Day !!

    • greatstuff profile image
      Author

      Mazlan 2 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi ItscelHerrera, I don't understand Spanish, but from Google translate, you wanted to know more of a banana variety known in your country as 'banana bag'. I am afraid I am not familiar with that term and sorry, not able to help you. If you can give link to photo of that banana, I can check it out for you.

    • profile image

      ItscelHerrera 2 years ago

      Hola, quería saber que tipo de plátano es el que se conoce aquí en mi pais como Plátano Bolsa, quería subir una imagen para mostrarte pero no se como, y enserio necesito saber todo sobre este plátano ya que es un trabajo de Investigación. Espero me puedas ayudar y gracias!

    • greatstuff profile image
      Author

      Mazlan 3 years ago from Malaysia

      kidscrafts, Room of My Own and teaches12345, There are actually more than 1000 varieties of bananas and some are planted not for its fruits, but for the commercial uses of the leaves. The inner part of the trunk can be eaten and has medicinal values. The banana flower that grows at the end of the fruit bunch can be made into salad and it too, has medicinal values. Amazing fruit tree indeed!

      Thelma, thanks for the answer.

      Thanks all, for dropping by and commenting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I didn't realize there were so many varieties out there. I do love bananas in just about anything but fritters are especially tempting. Thanks for the education.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

      Of course when I´m in the Philippines. I have not found Saba in Germany so I can only eat those when I´m in my home country. Have a great day!

    • Room of My Own profile image

      Sadie Holloway 3 years ago

      What an interesting hub! I had no idea that there were so many varieties of bananas! Voted Up!

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Great hub! I didn't realize that there were so many kinds of banana... obviously I don't have a lot of choice in the store where I shop. I am not crazy about plantain. My husband prepared a dish with it a long time ago and we never eat that ever since!

      Thanks for sharing!

    • greatstuff profile image
      Author

      Mazlan 3 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Thelma, it's good to hear from you again. Are you using Saba when you are back in the Philippines or they have them in Germany? Thanks for reading and I appreciate the great comments.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

      Great hub! I love banana fritters. I mostly used the Pisang Sabah or Saba for cooking and frying. Thanks for your very useful and informative hub. I did not know that bananas have a lot of names. Well done! Thanks for sharing.

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