Banana Chips

One of the major local produce in our side of the country is banana and we have helped the country by exporting fresh bananas abroad. It's only a couple of years back that I knew we export not only fresh bananas but also fried ones we call banana chips. Some of you may not even pay attention to those banana chips sold at the groceries favoring the potato chips over our own, but hey! we should patronize our local products, even other countries love them. I've heard though that those banana chips for export are more delicious (sigh).

I really can't blame others because some of the banana chips sold don't have nice texture. I have almost given up eating banana chips until my mother bought this particular bag of banana chips at Bankerohan (Davao's biggest public market) and they're delicious! Most important to note is the texture is crisp, not hard unlike other banana chips where you have to exert a lot of effort biting into them.

I did my own take of banana chips and my sisters, the banana chips eaters and critics of my cooking, gave thumbs up. They even said it's better than all they've tried before. I hope they still say the same thing behind my back. Or were they just patronizing me so I continue cooking and they can keep eating free snack? Well, you be the judge. Tell me what you think when you've tried my banana chips recipe, ok? :)

1. Peel the bananas.

Peeling green saba bananas is a bit difficult because the skin is stiff. What I usually do is cut off one or both ends, make a vertical slit on the peel then with the edge of a knife, nudge off the skin cleanly pushing it outward.

2. Slice the bananas as thinly as possible. Submerge the bananas in iced water as soon as you slice them to prevent browning. The iced water here is mixed with salt and turmeric. Add ice to keep the water cold.

You see my simple shredder in the picture? Yes it's been with me for years already and it has this horizontal cutter at the center that performs like a mandoline. If you have like this at home, use it. Otherwise, just use a knife but it will take a lot of time till you finish slicing all your bananas.

4. Let sit for 10 minutes. The turmeric powder will simply give the banana chips a yellowish tint so it's optional.

4. Drain water and place in a bowl with a towel for remaining water to be absorbed. Pat dry.

5. Using medium heat, deep fry the bananas for two minutes until crisp. Do not overcrowd.

What I do is load the bananas one at a time using medium high heat waiting for each slice to float first before I drop another in. I lower the heat to medium and fry for a minute or two till the banana chips are crisp.

Dropping a slice one after another is the reason why I prefer extra big saba bananas because it will be more time consuming if you use small ones.

6. Place the crisp banana chips in a bowl with paper towels to absorb excess oil. I usually use my son's extra shirts for this task. :)

At this point, you may already eat your banana chips, just sprinkle some salt, or cheese powder perhaps? But personally, I prefer the sweet banana chips. So to make them, continue the rest of the procedures.

7. Heat water in a pan then dissolve sugar.

8. Boil then simmer till volume decrease in half and have a slightly syrupy consistency.

9. Drop half of the banana chips in the bowl with the sugar syrup, toss well. Transfer to a different bowl. Do the same with the remaining banana chips.

10. Let dry for an hour or more.

11. Fry again till crisp. I use the same technique I do in step 5 only with less time, just to make the banana chips crispier. Then serve. Or.. place in individually sealed plastic bags to preserve crispiness.

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