Pan Fried King Bananas
Chuối ngự are Vietnamese bananas that look similar to small plantains. They have a starchy texture and a subtle sweetness. If you look for this particular banana in Asian markets, they're called King, Raja or emperor bananas.
King bananas can be prepared in a lot of ways. Today, I twice cooked them. First, I parboiled them, then I pan-fried the bananas in oil until golden brown. They make great appetizers if you top them with cheese and other condiments, or they also make a wonderful side dish. In this case, I paired them with baked fish.
Yields: 6 servings6 King bananas (chuối ngự)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons sunflower oil (or canola oil)
3 sprigs cilantro, for garnish
1 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (optional), for garnish
Boiling King bananas:
Fill a pot with cold water. Add the whole, unpeeled bananas and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20-30 minutes. The banana skin should be dark and the banana should open and split. Drain the water.
Once the bananas are cool enough to handle, peel them and cut them into slices.
Pan-frying the bananas:
Preheat the oven to 200°F.
In a large non-stick pan, heat the oil. Add the first batch of sliced bananas. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Slightly cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil. Cook for about 3 minutes. Season with cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Gently lift the bananas using a silicone spatula without applying any pressure so they don't get smashed and remain crispy. Flip the bananas as soon as one side is browned. Cook for another 3 minutes. Check for doneness; they should be crispy on the outside and soft but still firm on the inside. Transfer them onto a greased baking pan. Immediately season with more salt while the bananas are still glistening. Place the pan-fried bananas in the oven while the rest of the batches of bananas are being browned. Cook the rest of the bananas.
Transfer to a platter, lined with paper towels.
Place the pan-fried bananas on a serving platter. Top with sun-dried tomatoes and a little coarse salt.
Decorate with cilantro and serve hot.
You can find King bananas in Asian markets. If you don't have any, you could use plantains instead and drizzle with a little honey for added sweetness.
I always try to pick King bananas with yellow skin and black spots for optimum ripeness but they should still be firm to the touch; the firmer the better.
If you serve the King bananas as appetizers, you can sprinkle a little feta cheese for added saltiness (or top with any kind of cheese that is stringy when melted) and place in the oven for a few minutes.Published By: on July 13, 2010.