August 2, 2009

maruya (banana fritters)

I'm really not sure why I'm posting about this just now because this snack happens to be one of those favorites that I made on a regular basis when I was still in the Philippines. Perhaps because of the unavailability of the particular native bananas we have in the Philippines that are best used for this.
green plantains (shown with orange bell pepper above) are cooking bananas used for both sweet and savory dishes but ripe plantains are perfect for banana fritters
I have discovered years ago that plantain bananas can be a good substitute but, although they have good flavor, the taste is not exactly the same. These banana fritters are commonly known as "maruya" in Manila although I'm not sure how they call them in other regions of the Philippines. The ripe plantain bananas were thinly sliced (about 1/4" thick) then set aside. Next, just stir together all purpose flour, baking powder, sugar (optional) and water to make a thin batter. The exact measurements are not that important as long as the mixture has a thin crepe or pancake batter consistency.

In Manila, it's traditional to tint the batter a light orange color. We often use dried achuete seeds soaked in warm water which produces an intense red orange colored liquid when pressed. The seeds are thrown away after the color has been extracted. The red orange achuete water is then mixed into the batter or in the case of savory dishes, poured directly to the broth or sauce. It's a popular natural food coloring and works well for the maruya batter.

Pour the batter over the sliced bananas, then toss carefully to coat. Heat up a little canola oil in a non-stick pan and start frying the bananas. As they brown lightly, flip them to cook the other side. Drain in papertowels then transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with sugar and enjoy while they're hot and crispy.

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