Crispy Jamaican Banana Fritters
Jamaican banana fritters are a delicious, quick, easy treat! They’re also a wonderful way to use up spotty brown bananas, as the bananas’ natural sweetness is the only sugar in the batter.
It’s official. We’ve moved! The past two months have been insane at my house, as we’ve moved into a smaller — if more functional — space. As I write, I still haven’t finished unpacking all the boxes. However, nothing can keep me away from the kitchen for very long.
So, I’ve been doing what good cooks always do in such circumstances — relying on old standby recipes that come together quickly and easily. As with all challenging situations, this cooking journey has actually been a lot of fun — as I’ve reverted to recipes I haven’t used in years.
It’s also taught me that we all need an arsenal of quick, easy comfort foods to rely on in trying times. So, I’ll be using this space to share some of my favorites with you! I hope these tasty, easy recipes serve you every bit as well as they’ve served me over the past few months.
As the days get warmer in Johannesburg, bananas are ripening ever faster on my countertops. Sometimes, I feel as if they go brown and spotty overnight. As much as we all love banana bread, variety of the spice of life. So, another thing I love to do with spotty bananas is whip up a batch of these crisp, delicious Jamaican banana fritters!
Now, with my usual focus on healthy eating, you may be surprised that these fritters are indeed fried. Well, needless to say, the occasional treat doesn’t do us any harm. But, lots of folks have legitimate concerns about the oil involved in deep frying and the impact it has on their health.
However, frying does not have to be unhealthy. The trick is to use the right oil, at the right temperature. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment — or even a deep fry thermometer — to get it right. You just need a tiny bit of patience.
When food is fried at the right temperature (176º – 190º C or 350º – 375º F) the surface of the food cooks very quickly, which makes it impossible for the oil to penetrate the food. So, if you’ve had a greasy experience with fried foods, it’s because those foods were cooked at too low a temperature.
It is also important to use the right sort of oil for deep frying. Coconut oil is ideal for deep frying because, even after 8 hours of continuous deep frying, its quality does not deteriorate. It also has innumerable health benefits. So, I strongly recommend using odorless coconut oil for all of your frying.
Oil is expensive, can I reuse it?
Absolutely! Allow the oil to cool to room temperature. Then, use a coffee filter to strain any solids out of the oil. Store it in a sealed container at room temperature and away from direct sunlight. If you strain any solids out of the coconut oil after frying, it can be safely stored and reused a few times.
About this Recipe
As I’ve said earlier, the key to success is getting the temperature of the oil just right. When the oil is hot enough, the fritters will not be greasy. If you have a deep fry thermometer, feel free to use it. Otherwise, allow the oil to heat until you think it might be ready (timing will depend on your burner and the type of pan you are using). Then, drop a teaspoonful of batter into the oil. If it browns immediately and floats to the top, the oil is ready. If not, wait a bit longer and try again. With trial and error, you will get a good feel for how long oil takes to heat to the correct temperature on your stove.
Which pan is best for deep frying? Well, frying is one application where I really prefer to use a wok. This may seem strange to you. However, a wok — due to its convex shape — uses a lot less oil than a standard cast iron pan. It also has a handy rack for draining fried foods on the side — which makes deep frying a breeze. If you don’t own a wok, don’t run out and buy one. Cast iron or enameled cast iron are also good choices, because they hold a steady, evenly distributed heat over a long period of time.
When it comes to the bananas, you may be wondering how spotty is too spotty? the blacker the better. This may seem counterintuitive. But, the darker the bananas, the sweeter they are. Since there is no added sugar in the batter, darker bananas are actually best for this recipe. However, if you notice any white patches on your black bananas, they’ve gone too far and need to be tossed or composted.
Other than that, this is really a quick, no-brainer of a recipe. I hope you and your family enjoy these tasty banana fritters every bit as much as mine does. Bon appétit!