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Street-Style Fried Bananas

Street-Style Fried Bananas (Gluay Kag) Recipe - Thai restaurants overseas often serve some sort of battered-and-fried bananas with ice cream, which is delicious, but it’s not actually a Thai dish … not in that particular form. The idea of frying bananas comes from this street snack. It’s not so much a dessert as it is a mildly sweet snack, perfect for a 3 o’ clock refuel or even breakfast. Most gluay kag vendors also sell fried sweet potato and taro using the same batter, so you can certainly add those to your mix.

Makes: 24 pieces
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Do-ahead Tips: Mix the dry ingredients for the batter in advance and add the wet ingredients when ready to fry. Peel and cut the bananas several hours in advance and keep them tightly wrapped in the fridge.
Gluay = Banana; Kag = People of South Asian descent; legend has it that they introduced to us the idea of frying bananas
Street-Style Fried Bananas Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1½ Tbsp White sesame seeds
  • ¾ cup Rice flour
  • ¼ cup Granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Baking powder
  • ⅓ cup Shredded coconut, unsweetened, fresh, frozen, or dried (see note)
  • ⅓ cup Water
  • 6 Namwa bananas or 2 sweet plantains, (see note)
  • As needed Oil for frying

How to make Street-Style Fried Bananas

  1. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry sauté pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let cool on a plate.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the toasted sesame seeds, rice flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder until well combined. Add the shredded coconut and mix well. Add the water and stir until combined—the batter should be thinner than pancake batter but slightly thicker than crepe batter.
  3. Peel and cut the bananas lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick pieces. If using plantains, peel and cut them into 3 sections, then slice each section horizontally into ¼-inch-thick pieces.
  4. Add about 1½ inches of oil to a pot and heat to about 325°F. Dip the bananas into the batter and fry for about 5 minutes, until they are a deep pretzel-brown colour. Maintain the frying temperature below 350°F. When done, drain on paper towel or a rack. Note: Based on your first batch, you can decide if you want a thicker or thinner coating by adding more flour or water. If you have leftover batter, drizzle it into the oil and fry it up into crispy, munchy bits. Many vendors add this extra fried batter into their customers’ bags!
  5. Let cool just until the coating becomes crisp, then serve immediately.
Note: If using dried shredded coconut, let it rehydrate in 2 Tbsp of hot water for 10–15 minutes before using.
Namwa bananas are traditionally used because they hold their shape well when cooked—choose ones with just a tiny trace of green left on the skin. Sweet plantains, available at Latin American/Caribbean grocers, also work wonderfully—choose ones whose skins have turned at least 60% black so they will be sweet. Regular bananas aren’t an option as they turn mushy when fried for a long time.

OF TEMPERATURE AND CRISPINESS
Note that we’re frying at a slightly lower than normal temperature, because this allows you to fry the bananas for longer, allowing the batter enough time to dry out and become crispy. The right temperature should take you about 4–5 minutes to achieve the desired deep-brown colour. Some people fry them at a lower temperature for even longer to dry out the bananas; this prolongs the crispiness because there is less moisture around to soften the coating. This is a fine method if you need to make these a few hours before serving, but the bananas won’t be as plump and moist.