Maruya is a Filipino dessert/snack where the Saba banana is the star, and they are also usually sold as street food. It’s a bit starchier, yet soft and sweet at the right time and is perfect for frying. Saba bananas are usually available in Asian groceries, but if they’re not accessible to you, you can also use ripe plantains (a bit starchier than I would prefer to be honest, but it would work), or any banana variety that is suitable for frying.
Saba bananas are usually large and a bit stubby, and when you bite into them, they usually have a creamy texture. They contain a bit more starch than other banana varieties, which makes them suitable for frying. In fact, fried saba bananas are one of our family’s favorite snacks at home. We had an excess of saba bananas at home today, and they’ve become riper than what is usually acceptable for frying straight to the pan, so I decided to make Maruya, to have a light batter.
Traditionally, the street food variety of this one would only call for flour and egg, then a sprinkling of sugar on top. But I thought it would be nice to have a light, fluffy batter around it.
I had a bit of trouble this afternoon too—it was raining very hard but we hadn’t had the chance to hire someone to fix a leak by the kitchen because of very long quarantine in Manila (too long in fact). So I had to stop working for a bit while we dealt with it for a while, until the rain had finally stopped. We’ll definitely do something about it soonest!
So after a while, with the sunlight going down pretty fast, I finally had the chance to fry my bananas. I just deep fried these babies in 1 cup of vegetable oil (choose something with a neutral flavor) and waited for them to turn into a beautiful shade of golden brown. And then, I placed them on the rack to cool, and also to let the excess oil drip.
The texture reminded me of fried doughnuts, or beignets—so much that when there was leftover batter, I fried them up as well! And they ended up really good, with just a hint of flavor from the bananas. So here’s the recipe! I used up the whole lot of the bananas (about 17 bananas in all!), but the recipe is for smaller portions. Just double the recipe as needed. Hope you like it!
Maruya – Banana Fritters
Prep time: 5-7 minutes
Cooking Time: 5-7 minutes
- 6 pieces of ripe saba bananas (or any banana variety good for frying), peeled, and halved lengthwise. If the bananas are overripe try mashing them instead, and using less sweetener/sugar.
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of milk (I used almond milk, which adds a nice flavor to it, but you can use regular milk)
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (for the batter) or melted butter
- 3 tablespoons of sugar or about 3-4 packets of sweetener or stevia (this depends on how sweet you want your batter to be. If your bananas are very sweet, I suggest to use less sugar)
- Sugar for sprinkling on top after frying (you can use confectioner’s sugar, or traditionally, granulated sugar. I used a stevia sweetener instead)
- 1 cup of vegetable oil (for frying)
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, egg, vanilla extract, milk, sugar and oil/butter and mix with a whisk until it forms a smooth batter. The batter shouldn’t feel too heavy and definitely not dry, but it shouldn’t be very thin either—the consistency of uncooked pancake batter (or slightly thicker) is acceptable.
- Add the bananas, and make sure to coat all bananas with the mixture.
- On a non-stick pan (we used my mom’s wok that she designated specifically for banana frying), heat the oil.
- Once the oil is hot enough (you can test this by putting a chopstick or utensil into the oil and see if it bubbles around the edges), put a spoonful of the banana and batter mixture in. I usually put in two to three halves of a banana stuck together in a row.
- Cook until golden brown, then place on a rack to cool down and drain excess oil.
- Sprinkle some extra sugar on top before eating. Enjoy!
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