Which Banana Varieties Are Suitable for Banana Fritters?

Updated on May 3, 2018
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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.

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Are you overwhelmed by how many banana varieties there are at the market? Do you know which variety is suitable for banana fritters?

It is tough to decide if you don't know because not all bananas are suitable for frying. Some varieties, like the Cavendish, are meant to be eaten fresh. They turn soft and soggy when fried.

You were told the cooking variety is the best. But which one?

Let me try help you here.

Here's What This Article Covers

In this article, I discuss six types suitable for banana fritters. These varieties, grown and available in Southeast Asia, are called by other names in different countries. I refer to them by their Malaysian names, but I have also included some countries' equivalent names. There are also photos of these bananas for easy identification.

If you lived in temperate countries or in a non-banana growing country, you might find these bananas in Asian grocery stores. Alternatively, use plantains (which are also listed in this article and pretty readily available).

So, check out the various flavors you get with these banana varieties and pick your favorite.

The Best Bananas to Make Fritters With

  1. Pisang Raja (the best and my favorite)
  2. Pisang Tanduk
  3. Pisand Abu
  4. Pisang Nangka
  5. Pisang Awak (my least favorite)

Plantains are a good option if you can't find any of these bananas. You don't want to use Cavendish bananas at all.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Street vendors selling banana fritters. He uses the Pisang AbuI fried these banana fritters using Pisang Raja
Street vendors selling banana fritters. He uses the Pisang Abu
Street vendors selling banana fritters. He uses the Pisang Abu | Source
I fried these banana fritters using Pisang Raja
I fried these banana fritters using Pisang Raja | Source
Pisang Raja is the best banana to use for banana fritters
Pisang Raja is the best banana to use for banana fritters | Source

Pisang Raja Is the Best Choice for Banana Fritters

We all have our own favorite banana, but for me, pisang raja is the easy choice. It is the best variety for fritters.

The texture is firm and delectable. They range in color from almost yellow to orange. Their sweetness makes you want to come back for more. On a scale of 1 to 10—10 being very sweet like honey—Pisang Raja would be a 5.

Pisang Raja is mostly exported and is not easily found. Even if you find them, they will cost more compared to other varieties (with the exception being pisang tanduk).

That's the reason why the banana-fritter street vendor sells the Pisang Abu or Pisang Nangka variety, which are cheaper.

If you are lucky enough to come across Pisang Raja in the night market or at your local market, buy them because they are not easy to come by.

Alternatively, plant Pisang Raja in your backyard. I have them in my garden, and now have a cheap supply of the best variety for 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
Click thumbnail to view full-size
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

If you see a banana that is slightly curved, quite long, and looks 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 that will turn yellow when ripe and is one of the bigger banana varieties. It has a sweet flavor (5 out of 10) and is what fritters are usually made of. They're also often sliced and dried as chips. It is also the most expensive variety listed in this article.

To fry, slice it at an angle, mix it in your favorite batter, then fry.

Pisang Tanduk is another one of my favorites for 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)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
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 Is 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 street vendors for fritters because it is so easily available, cheap, and tastes reasonably good (scale of 4 for sweetness). 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 Is Best for a Sweet and Sour Fritter

Pisang Nangka, or jackfruit banana, when cooked smells similar to a jackfruit; hence its name.

The skin is always green even when ripe. To know if Pisang Nangka is ripe, do the following:

  • Press it gently. If it is soft, then it is ripe.
  • Or check the end of it. If the flower bud has dried, turned black, and looks ready to drop off, then it is ripe and good for frying!

The ripe fruit has a soft-firm texture with a light cream color.

If it is overripe, the skin will turn slightly yellowish, and I prefer not to use this for frying, as it will be soggy and oily.

The fried Pisang Nangka has a sweet and sour taste but with a more sourish flavor to it.

If the sweet Pisang Raja variety is not your taste, then the sweet and sour Pisang Nangka is perfect.

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 Variety

Pisang Awak is my least favorite variety for cooking. The variety's black seeds are one reason. Another reason is the flat taste and sometimes the slightly bitter taste, or kelat as we say in Malay. It is this distinctive bitter taste that makes this variety a popular ingredient in the banana beer produced in some parts of Africa.

Despite all this, some street vendors use Pisang Awak for fritters since they are cheaper.

There are some other varieties of Pisang Awak that are sweet and without the black seeds, but they are not easy to find at the market.

A ripe Pisang Awak's skin is a lighter shade of yellow compared to the skin of Pisang Raja or Pisang Abu. It is also rounder with a long tip at the end of the fruit.

The plant is known for its leaves rather than its fruits. Pisang Awak's leaves are more aromatic, soft, and durable. It is best suited for recipes that use banana leaves as part of their prep work.

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

Plantains, a Good Alternative

If the varieties mentioned earlier are not available at your local Asian grocery stores, the next best alternative is the plantain.

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

Green or under-ripe plantains are difficult to peel, and you will need a knife to peel them. It is easier to peel a ripe plantain, which has yellow skin and is the type suitable for banana fritters. If it has a few brown spots on its yellow skin, that is good because the plantain is more than ripe and the texture is not so firm. These are usually cheaper than the green, unripe plantains!

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 Bananas Are Not Suitable for This Dish

The Cavendish banana variety is eaten raw and not suitable 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 the recipes is for a mashed banana fritter or Pisang Cekodok. This recipe uses only two ingredients and is quick, easy, and tasty.

Banana Trivia

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

Questions & Answers

  • Can an eight-month-old baby eat mashed bananas?

    Yes, banana puree can be given to an eight-month-old baby

Comments

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    • profile image

      MichelleLee 

      5 months ago

      I cannot find any of those banana varieties you mentioned in your article. Is there other types of banana I can use? Appreciate your help.

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR

      Mazlan 

      10 months ago from Malaysia

      Hi Suzanne. I am not familiar with lady finger banana. But do give it a try and let us know if it is OK as banana fritter.

    • profile image

      Suzanne 

      10 months ago

      I felt like banana fritters today and came across your recipe and article. A good and informative read and i plan on trying the recipe today although i will be using the bananas i have on hand (no pun intended), which i know as lady finger. Not sure of their other name but they are small and sweet and are common here in Australia. Hopefully they won't turn soggy or mushy.

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR

      Mazlan 

      14 months ago from Malaysia

      Hi, Husin. Thanks for chipping in. It's good to know the various banana names in other countries.

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR

      Mazlan 

      17 months ago from Malaysia

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

    • profile image

      Liam 

      17 months ago

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

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR

      Mazlan 

      2 years 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 

      2 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mazlan 

      3 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mazlan 

      3 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mazlan 

      3 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mazlan 

      3 years ago from Malaysia

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

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 

      3 years 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 

      3 years 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 

      3 years 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 

      3 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mazlan 

      4 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 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mazlan 

      4 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 

      4 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 

      4 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 

      4 years ago

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

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mazlan 

      4 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 

      4 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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