Even though we buy bananas every week and consider them a staple–for kid temper tantrum management as much as for grownup temper tantrum management–after a few days we often have brown speckled bananas sitting on top of the microwave in a state where no one will touch them. No matter how green they start out. I think it must be that I buy too many to start with, assuming that of course we’ll reach for them automatically as soon as they turn yellow.
So I started considering my options. I could buy fewer and run out of them. I could eat them speckled and funkily too sweet. Hmm. Or I could start at the beginning and find something nonsweet to do with them while they’re still green and fresh.
A friend of ours makes Bananas Foster as his signature dessert dish, frying and flaming bananas in cognac. They turn out gooey and sweet and rich, basically like cooked sweetened bananas, and I’m never sure the effort and the singed eyebrows are really worth it. So frying wasn’t the first thing I thought of. But I microwaved a piece of green banana for a minute to see whether it would hold up when cooked and it did. It also had an intriguing flavor–like cooked potato with a light tartness about it, but none of the novocaine overripeness or mushiness I’d feared.
I was thinking about some of the Indonesian curries with basil–perhaps underripe bananas would be a good stirfry ingredient for those? Well, perhaps they still will be, but in the meantime, I felt lazy and decided on something simpler, quicker, and with fewer ingredients. It turned out much better than I’d expected.
Pan-Fried Green Bananas
- Large green (underripe) bananas
- dab or more of z’khug (chile/garlic/cilantro paste)
- olive oil
Peel the bananas–you may need a knife if they’re really green. Be careful peeling them, because the green peel contains a drippy sap that will stain clothes badly like some tough kind of glue, and I still haven’t found a way to get it out of my favorite pants. In any case, cut the bananas in bite-sized chunks or larger pieces, as you prefer. Heat a spoonful or so of olive oil with a little z’khug in a nonstick frying pan and then pan-fry the banana pieces a few minutes until the outsides turn brown and crispy, like good french fries. A dab of pesto or a little curry powder and minced garlic and ginger and/or scallion in the frying oil would probably also work in place of the z’khug.