Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mad About Bananas!

Have I gone bananas? I probably have .... bananas for bananas that is!

I've got this sudden urge to come up with several recipes which calls for the use of bananas. I'm not sure what has gotten into me but it's one of those strange moods. I'm sure everyone has one of those moments.

Here's a quick lesson on bananas ....... since this is the topic of discussion!

The banana plant grows to an average height of 30 feet (about 9 meters) and is actually related to the orchid and lily. Hmmm ... I didn't know that! The banana is believed to have originated in Malaysia - heh this is my home country. India’s Islamic culture names it as the famed fruit of knowledge and in that version of the story it is said Adam and Eve covered themselves with banana, not fig, leaves. Today, the world’s greatest producers of bananas include Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, India, Brazil, Ecuador, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

We love bananas especially in desserts or cakes. Bananas are good to eat when ripe though in some countries the unripen version is also used for cooking. The skin of bananas turns black when they are refrigerated, though it does not affect the quality of the fruit inside. Very ripe fruit can be peeled, frozen in freezer bags, and used for baking.

Nutritional value of 1 medium banana:

Calories: 108
Protein: 1.2g
Carbohydrate: 27.6g
Total Fat: 0.56g
Fiber: 2.83g
Potassium: 467mg

Here are some recipes which I had tried out whilst "going bananas"!

Banana Phyllo Tart
(serves 6 - recipe from Sugar)


4 tbsp dried cherries (can substitute with any dried fruit - I used cranberries)
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature (I used ricotta)
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
8 sheets phyllo pastry
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 oz semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
4 small bananas
3 tbsp rum (optional)

Ingredients for the Chocolate Sauce:

1 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (can be replaced with melted chocolate)
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 cup whipping cream

To Assemble Tart:

1) Preheat oven to 400° F. Soak dried cherries in hot water for 5 minutes to soften and drain. Beat cream cheese until smooth and stir in sugar and vanilla extract.

2) Working with one sheet of phyllo pastry at a time (keep remaining phyllo completely covered under a damp towel), cut 1 sheet in half. Brush first half with butter and place second half on top and brush with butter. Repeat process with another sheet of phyllo cut in half. Spread 2 Tbsp cream cheese in the centre of the pastry.

3) Place 1½ Tbsp chopped chocolate and a sprinkle of dried cherries over cream cheese. Peel banana, cut in half and place pieces next to each other on top of filling and sprinkle with rum.

4) Fold end edges of pastry in over banana. Roll up banana to create a square package and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining bananas. Baste parcels with butter and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.

5) To plate, pool a bit of warm Chocolate Sauce (recipe follows) onto plate, slice wedge of banana phyllo tart and arrange over sauce.

For the Chocolate Sauce:

Bring water and sugar to a boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Sift cocoa powder and whisk in with instant coffee and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, add cream and whisk until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Chill until ready to serve and reheat in microwave before serving. (Yield: Approximately 1 cup. )

Banana Cupcakes


125g butter, softened (if using unsalted butter, add ¼ tsp salt with the flour)
330g (1 ½ cups) sugar (I had reduced this to 300g)
2 – 3 ripe large bananas (mashed)
½ tsp vanilla extract (or 1 tsp natural vanilla essence)
2 large eggs
100ml (1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp) buttermilk
225g (1 ½ cups) self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda


1) Preheat oven to 160 C fan-forced. If you are not using a fan-forced oven, preheat the oven to 180 C.

2) Place butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs into a food processor.

3) Process for 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of processor. Add buttermilk and pulse to combine.

4) Add mashed banana.

5) Sift flour, salt (if using) and bicarbonate of soda together into a large bowl. Add flour mixture to food processor and process until just combined.

6) Fill cupcake moulds ¾ with batter. (For this process, I find an ice-cream scoop to be extremely handy)

7) Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.

8) Leave cupcakes to cool.

For the Topping:
(make the topping just before serving, otherwise the bananas will turn colour)

1) Slice about 2 ripe bananas and place them into a pan. Then add 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of honey.

2) Gently heat over a low fire until bananas have soften slightly (don’t over cook!)

3) Leave to cool before spooning over cupcakes.

Kuih Kodok (Malaysian-style Fried Banana Fritters)


3 big ripe bananas
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 egg
Some water
Oil for deep frying


1) Break the bananas (with hands) into small pieces and put them into a bowl.

2) Add flour, egg, sugar, and some water. Use a big spoon and stir the ingredients so they are well blended.

3) Heat up a frying pan and add some cooking oil for deep frying. Once the oil is heated, scoop up a spoonful of batter into the frying pan. Try to "shape" the batter so it's somewhat round. Deep fry until golden brown.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Those fritters look great! I'm going to try them soon - we love anything with bananas. The topping for the cupcakes looks so fun too.

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