When I searched for the keyword “fried banana”, almost all the results showed me pan-fried or air-fried banana with honey or caramel. It’s a cool recipe, but I’m still in love with my Vietnamese Fried Banana (chuoi chien) more. The crispy and lightly sweet skin outside and the soft, warm, and sweet banana inside combine perfectly to create Vietnamese Fried Banana, a favorite snack of many Vietnamese people. I have been enjoying fried banana in this style since I was a 5-year-old kid, so I would like to share its simple recipe so everyone can try it at home.
What is Vietnamese Fried Banana (Chuoi Chien)
Fried Banana, or chuối chiên in Vietnamese, is one of the most popular snacks across the country, from a small village like my hometown in the Middle of Vietnam to big cities like Ho Chi Minh City. I don’t know when it started to become a favorite snack in Vietnam, but I might understand why it’s popular. In Vietnam, during worship or death ceremonies, every family buys a bunch of bananas to place on the altar. As a popular tropical fruit, banana is closely associated with Vietnamese culture. Therefore, after every ceremony, we have many ripe bananas (15-20 bananas in a bunch) to eat. Eating too much raw bananas is indeed boring, so people make various dishes from them, including: grilled banana wrapped in sticky rice (chuoi nep nuong), banana ice cream, banana sweet soup (che chuoi), and the most popular Vietnamese Fried Banana.
How about its texture and taste? The texture is similar to that of fried chicken, with a crispy layer on the outside and soft banana inside. The taste, of course, is different. This is a sweet dish, but you don’t have to add too much sugar; just a pinch, since the banana itself is sweet enough already.
The key to this dish lies in the batter recipe, to create a long-lasting, crispy crust. We will combine wheat flour, rice flour, baking powder (or baking soda as a substitute), a bit of sugar, and sparkling water to make the batter. Additionally, if you would like to have a better-looking fried banana, you can add a pinch of curcumin or turmeric powder to enhance the color of the outer layer.
For the bananas, in my opinion, it’s fine to use the most popular banana, Cavendish, even though it’s quite soft. Typically in Vietnam, we use some common types of bananas, including Pisang (Siamese) bananas. Baby bananas (Lady Finger bananas) are also a good choice, as they are sweeter, smoother, and creamier than Cavendish bananas. Moreover, their small size is perfect for a snack. I have tried all 3 types of bananas and liked baby bananas the most. Opt for ripe (not underripe or overripe) bananas.
Choosing Frying Pan
To achieve crispy fried bananas, you should deep-fry or nearly deep-fry them. If you have a wok at home, it is one of the best tools for deep-frying. However, I unfortunately do not have one. It’s not a big deal. A Dutch oven, frying skillet, cast iron skillet, saucepan, or even a pot will work, but I prefer to fry them in a Dutch oven. A pan and skillet are somewhat shallow for deep-frying, as the oil can splash everywhere on your stove and even hurt you if you are not careful.
A Dutch oven – a cast iron pot, not only helps reduce splatter but also distributes and maintains heat more evenly while frying. Moreover, you’ll save on oil.
How about air-frying? Unfortunately, frying battered bananas in an air fryer is not suitable. This dish requires frying directly in oil to create a crispy outer layer and maintain the structure of the fried bananas.
How to make Vietnamese Fried Banana
Once you have all the necessary ingredients, you can start making it. It’s a simple recipe, but you will need to let the batter rest in at least 2 hours to achieve the best crispiness.
Step 1. Mixing the batter
- In a mixing bowl, combine the wheat flour, rice flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, curcumin powder (or turmeric powder), and sparkling water. Whisk them together until everything is well dissolved. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge in at least 2 hours. If you use regular water instead of sparkling water, you should let the batter rest in the fridge for 6 hours.
Step 2. Slice banana
- With the banana, peel the outer skin of a banana and slice it vertically into 2-3 pieces. Each slice should be about 0.5-1cm (0.2-0.4 inches) thick. If necessary, you can place them in a zipped bag and gently flatten them to make a thinner pieces.
- Once the batter has rested long enough, transfer the banana slices to the batter. Dip them so that the batter fully coveres each piece.
Step 3. Frying
- In a frying pan, add 1-2 cups of cooking oil, depending on the size of your pan (for me, I used a small Dutch oven, so 1 cup of oil was nearly enough). Turn the heat to medium and wait until the oil boils.
- Once the oil is boiling, start frying the bananas. Use a ladle or a kitchen tongs to carefully transfer each banana piece into the pan. Don’t let them be overcrowded or else all banana pieces will stick together.
- Because these banana pieces tend to float in the oil, flip them over when the lower side turns yellow. It’s for even frying, which results in crispy and evenly cooked fried bananas.
- After frying, transfer the fried bananas to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
Step 4. Serving
- In general, the crust may lose its crispiness 1-2 hours after frying, so it’s best to serve the fried bananas warm right after frying.
- If the bananas start to become soft, you can fry them a second time, but use low heat to prevent them from burning.
Storing the Batter
As I mentioned earlier, it’s best to eat them right after frying to enjoy their crispiness. Otherwise, if you want to store the batter, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just remember to slice the bananas and add them to the batter only when you are ready to fry them.
- 150g (5.3 oz) all purpose flour
- 75g (2.7 oz) rice flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 pinch of curcumin powder (optional)
- 1 pinch of white sesame
- 260ml (1 cup) sparkling water
- 5 baby babanas (lady finger banana)
Step 1. Mixing the batter
- In a mixing bowl, mix wheat flour, rice flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, curcumin powder and sparkling water together. Whisk them evenly until all dissolved. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest in fridge in at least 2 hours. In case you use still water, you should rest the batter in 6 hours in fridge.
Step 2. Slice banana
- With banana, peel the outer skin of a banana and slice it vertically into 2-3 slices. Each slice should be 0.5-1cm (0.2-0.4 inch) thick. If needed, you can add it in a zipped bag flatten it a bit to get a thinner piece.
- After the batter is rested enough, transfer banana slices to the batter. Dip them so that the batter fully covered every piece.
Step 3. Frying
- In a frying pan, add 1-2 cup cooking oil depend on the size of your pan (for me, I used a small-size Dutch Oven so 1 cup oil is nearly enough). Turn on medium heat and wait until the oil boils.
- Once the oil boils, fry bananas. Use a ladle, or a kitchen tong to transfer each banana piece to the pan. Don’t let them be overcrowded or else all banana pieces will stick together.
- Because these banana pieces tend to float on the oil, flip them when the lower side turns yellow. It’s for even frying, which results in crispy and even cooked fried bananas.
- After frying, transfer fried bananas to a dish with paper tissue to absorb the excess oil.
Step 4. Serving
- In general, 1-2 hours after frying, the crust may lose its crispiness, so you should serve fried banana warm right after frying. Garnish with a pinch of roasted white sesame if possible.
- If it starts to become soft, you can fry them the second time but with low heat to prevent it from being burnt.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 2 pieces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 355