Thursday, November 6, 2008

Going Bananas!


Only after I got to know the Somalis in Columbus did I associate banana with the Somalis, because of the interesting fact that they eat their rice with bananas.

Bananas, all kinds of them, grow in abundance in Malaysia, and I really mean in abundance! When I was prescribed glasses, I devoutly, every single morning after Fajr, headed out to our orchard and struggled to get drops of fresh morning dews from the banana plants (just the banana plants, not tapioca, not durian, not anything else!) into my myopic eyes, as per my grandmother's prescription for curing my myopia. I can still feel the smoothness of the banana leaves, and I can still see those coveted pool of fresh dew breaking into glistening drops as they slid down the central stem of the banana leaf. I'm still myopic by the way, so no, it didn't work.

Since we have a lot of bananas, Malaysians have come up with many ways to eat it, but none of them includes eating it with rice. :) We have fried banana fritters, banana ball fritters, banana in sweet rich creamy sauce, ...err...well I guess that is about it, well at least those that I am aware of (and I'm not really an expert on Malaysian food, despite being Malaysian). You can find banana fritters being sold on the streets by hawkers, freshly fried and still steaming hot. It's usually served for tea when guests come to visit, since it's pretty easy to whip up last minute.



This version, called Jemput Jemput, in Malay (which directly translate to 'invite/tiny portions'). I wondered about the etymology of the name, and asked my husband.

His theory:

1. Because of its size, and the way it's made is by deep frying tiny portions

My theory:

1. It's easily whipped up for guests, and you tell them, "Jemput makan," (Please come and eat! The 'invite' version of the meaning)



Jemput Jemput Pisang (Banana Ball Fritters)


4 overripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cup flour
dash of salt


1. Combine the mashed bananas and coconut milk in a big bowl
2. Add the flour and baking powder and salt
3. Mix with a wooden spoon into a thick batter
4. Heat enough oil for deep frying, wait until it's really hot
5. Take one spoonful of batter, and using another spoon, swipe it neatly, as a ball into the hot oil
6. Turn it over when the bottom is light brown
7. Serve warm as a light sweet snack


Cook's notes:

  • Make sure the oil is hot before you drop your first banana ball in it. If it's not hot enough, the banana balls might stick, and it won't fluff up as much. I learned this the hard way.
  • Turn down the heat a tad if it browns too quickly.
  • Rule of thumb for deep frying: don't crowd the pan or the oil temperature will dip
  • Just like making pancakes, don't overmix the batter, or the gluten will overdevelop and make them tough.
  • Below is a how to video:




video




Check out other Jemput Jemput Pisang on the blogosphere:

Jthorge's Jemput Jemput Pisang on Jthorge's Kitchen

Brenda Tan's Jemput Jemput Pisang on Mum Loves Cooking

Beachlover's Jemput Jemput Pisang on Beachlover's Kitchen

6 comments:

  1. yumm!!! Juli, this looks very similar to a type of Somali sweet... can't think of the name, but I'm sure Naima A would know!

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  2. i think a couple of you girls mentioned this too on FB...

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  3. Juli... in addition to your entry above... hmm may be we Malaysian are quite similar to Somalis.. some of us do eat banana with rice "masak lemak cili api pisang" hihihi...

    As for the name "jemput - jemput pisang" , my theory is, traditionally when they made them, they will scoop the batter with their hand instead of using spoon, hence "sejemput"

    ReplyDelete
  4. Juli... in addition to your entry above... hmm may be we Malaysian are quite similar to Somalis.. some of us do eat banana with rice "masak lemak cili api pisang" hihihi...

    As for the name "jemput - jemput pisang" , my theory is, traditionally when they made them, they will scoop the batter with their hand instead of using spoon, hence "sejemput"

    ReplyDelete
  5. k lin,
    really? i've never eaten masak lemak cili api....pisang plaintain?

    ahhh yes..that too! hihih

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  6. Just made these, so yummy!! Thanks for the recipe, this blog is so great masha Allah. Now I gotta go try some bananas with rice!

    ReplyDelete