This is an authentic recipe from our team in Cambodia, featured in our Cambodia Recipe Box. The ingredients labeled with a * below are hard-to-find ingredients that we’ve sourced from Cambodia and are all included in our recipe box which is available for shipping throughout the USA and China. For more information and to purchase online, click here.
This is an extremely popular snack found all over Cambodia. In western supermarkets, you typically only see one type of banana, but in Cambodia, we use many different types for many different purposes. Vendors often have preferences for which type of banana is used, mashing them flat on the inside of a halved bamboo trunk, and then letting it slide down into the batter, using the bamboo tube as a slide.
Certain types of bananas hold their shape better when mashed and fried, some prefer a flatter softer bite, while others like a firmer and slightly-tenderized banana. Bananas are by far the most common street-fritter around, but other products like sweet potatoes are popular as well. There are also vendors who batter beef and peppercorn meatballs, chicken feet, and other types of savory treats as well.
We’ve seen some variation in our recipe testing based on humidity. The batter should look like a thick pancake batter after it sits for 15 minutes. If it’s not quite hitting the mark after a trial test, add more flour or coconut milk/water until it reaches the optimal consistency.
Be wary, not all coconut milk is the same. We’ve chosen this one because it is the most similar in taste and composition to local freshly-squeezed coconut milk in Cambodian markets. There are no extra ingredients that screw up its many uses. Just make sure to shake the carton vigorously before using. We’ve also included a dried mix as well (which we’ve tested too) that has a long shelf life for you to always be able to whip out something deliciously Cambodian at your leisure.
This battering recipe is so simple and turns out so well every time that it’s our go-to now for other recipes. Coconut fish and chips, chicken nuggets, katsu, and cauliflower poppers have all been adopted because this recipe is just so damn easy. No egg-dredging, no breading, and it comes out crunchy every time. Not to mention it’s perfect for group events when there are celiacs, vegans, and other allergies present.
This batter is okay to sample “raw” if you want to play around with sugar, sesame seeds, and dried coconut flake amounts. Start low in seasonings, and amp up after the first fried batch- this batter really amplifies whatever you put in it, so a tiny amount goes miles.
Your kitchen will be filled with an amazing coconut-y aroma, but as you eat the sesame seeds add a delightful aromatic layer as well. We like to be quite generous with this with both sweet and savory varieties. Vendors typically use black seeds which stand out beautifully against the golden crust, but white works just as well.
You’ll have to play around a little bit depending on the type of bananas you get at your supermarket, but they need to be slightly firm, and on the greener side without any browning. Popular street alternatives include peppery beef meatballs and sweet potato wedges- but these are often pre-cooked before they are battered. If you’re going with savory ingredients, make sure they are able to cook quickly in hot oil like small shrimp or thinly sliced onions- otherwise, you’ll end up with a crispy batter and a half-cooked inside.
Items marked with a * are included in our Cambodia Recipe Box.
300 / 1 and ⅓ cups rice flour*
400ml pure full fat coconut milk* (or more, depending on humidity. Shake carton vigorously.)
Tiny pinch of salt
50g / ¼ cup dried coconut flakes*
1 tsp black sesame seeds
1 drop of soy sauce, for color (optional for both sweet and salty version)
Up to 50g / ¼ cup granulated sugar (optional for sweet version)
12 small, just-ripe bananas (no brown spots, light yellow, fairly firm) sliced in half or sliced plantains.
500ml / 2 cups vegetable oil, such as canola or peanut oil, for deep-frying
Other Battering Ideas:
Sweet potato fries
Small beef meatballs
Chicken feet (Yes, really!)
1lb shrimp peeled and de-veined
Okra with tops removed
Lotus roots thinly sliced
Thinly sliced onions
Optional: Honey and/or ice cream, to serve for the sweet version.
Optional: Equal parts salt, pepper, and lime juice as a dipping sauce.
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