There’s just something about mashed banana fritters – better known in Malaysia as cekodok pisang – that makes them really difficult to stop eating until each and every single one of these beautifully caramelized balls has disappeared from the table. Yet, for a sweet treat that only requires a handful of ingredients, it’s almost surprising how difficult it is to find really, really good cekodok pisang out there. Be it from food stalls or restaurants or even homemade, more often than not what you’ll end up with is doughy banana fritters, soggy with oil. The thought makes fresh bananas shudder in their skins.
The perfect cekodok pisang is almost black as sin and crispy on the outside, with a warm, gooey centre. The ‘skin’ is bitter-sweet, complimenting the flavour of the mushy ripe bananas it envelopes. Some makers like mashed banana fritters small, each one a perfect mouthful, while others like theirs a little bigger in size, roughly that of a small plum. And, we admit, some even like their mashed banana fritters doughy, with a texture closer to fried banana bread than mushy bananas. To each their own, but we reckon our ideal version is the one people crave for and want more and more and more of.
The secret to mashed banana fritters aka cekodok pisang
There are two secrets to perfect mashed banana fritters – the bananas, obviously, and just a little bit of self-raising flour. Simply put, the sweeter the bananas, the better, and the less sugar you need to add to the batter. Pisang raja and pisang mas are some of the banana varieties you can use for this dish, but the more widely available cavendish bananas are also suitable when very, very ripe. However, as we’re impatient beings who want our cekodok pisang right this minute, we’ve got a little tip to get your not-quite-super-ripe bananas just right.
While it may seem unusual to combine two different types of flour, the small addition of self-raising flour is the secret to making mashed banana fritters nice and round and perfectly crispy on the outside. We tried making cekodok pisang with all-purpose flour alone, but discovered the end result was visually unflattering and the cekodok was far from crispy. It also tended to be soggy, each ball a juicy bite of cooking oil. Not great. So don’t skimp out on this ingredient. On the other hand, mashed banana fritters made with 100% self-raising flour will probably cause inflated balloon-like cekodok – not what we’re going for either.
Ready to get your hands dirty? It’s time to roll up your sleeves and make some cekodok pisang.
- 550g very ripe bananas, skin removed
- 100g all-purpose flour
- 16g self-raising flour
- 40g sugar, amount adjusted for sweetness
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Cooking oil
Banana ripening hack
Mashed banana fritters are best made with very, very, very ripe bananas – the squishier, the better. However, waiting for bananas to ripen on the counter can take a few days at best, and, let’s face it, we don’t want to wait that long. The oven is a great way to ripen your bananas quick. Bear in mind though that you need to start with bananas that are already yellow. A tinge of green at the ends of your bananas are fine.
- Heat oven to 150°C.
- Arrange bananas on a baking sheet.
- Once the oven temperature is at 150°C, put your bananas in the oven and bake them for 15 to 30 minutes. The timing varies depending on how ripe your bananas are. The more ripe it is, the less time it requires.
- The bananas are ready once the skin turns shiny and black.
- When ready, remove bananas from the oven and let it cool before handling as it will be quite hot.
- Once cool, peel the bananas and discard the skin. It’s ready to be made into mashed banana fritters.
- With your fingers or a fork, mash bananas thoroughly until smooth.
- Add all-purpose and self-raising flour to mashed bananas and mix until thoroughly combined. The flour acts as a binding agent in this recipe. The batter should be wet and still mushy.
- Next, add sugar. This recipe needs a little bit of sugar, but how much depends on how ripe and sweet your bananas are. You may want to start with half the sugar, mix it through and give the batter a taste. If you like how it tastes, there’s no need to add more. However, if you’ve added the rest of the sugar and it’s still not sweet enough, wait until the salt goes in before adding more sugar. If your bananas are very sweet though, do not omit the sugar altogether and add just a little as this helps to caramelize the cekodok pisang.
- Finally, add salt and mix it through. Salt will actually enhance the flavour and sweetness of the batter. If you still find the batter not sufficiently sweet, you can add more sugar here.
- Set batter aside. There is no need to refrigerate it.
The fried stuff
- Fill your wok or pot with about 4cm depth of oil and bring it up to frying temperature. To test if your oil is hot enough, plop in some batter. The oil should start bubbling immediately.
- Use two regular teaspoons to scoop out and shape the batter into a rough ball. It doesn’t have to be perfect as the batter is soft of won’t hold its shape for very long. Immediately drop the shaped batter into the oil.
- Add in a few more scoops of batter (or as much as you can handle) and let it fry until the skin is dark and crispy, turning it around in the oil occasionally to ensure all sides are fried evenly.
- Scoop out and transfer fried fritters to a plate or colander lined with paper towels.
- Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
- If you don’t live in a country with sweet bananas, try adding some good quality banana essence to the batter. You want the essence to taste like actual bananas, not fake bananas!
- Once mushed, bananas will darken in colour, so don’t pre-make your batter too early. Fresh is best.
Cekodok pisang is excellent as is and there’s really no need to serve them with anything else. Prepare them as a dessert or for a tea-time snack, or when you have absolutely no idea what to do with your overripe bananas. Bonus points, this recipe is also vegan! So if you’ve got a vegan friend coming over for tea, you know what you can prepare for them.
It took us only a few minutes to obliterate our mound of mashed banana fritters, so you may want to consider making a very large batch, especially if you’ve got a family waiting to devour these amazingly crispy cekodoks. Enjoy and tag us with #butterkicap to show us how your cekodok pisang turned out!
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