03 Jul2007

Fried Saba Bananas

by Marketman


With nearly 1,200 posts in the archives, it comes as a surprise that I have never featured one of my favorite desserts, EVER – fried saba bananas!!! I was having some for dessert last night, as I do one or twice every single month, and I realized that I had never done a post on them. Forget the post backlog, squeeze in the fried bananas, for goodness sakes! There is just something so incredibly comforting about sinking one’s teeth into perfectly fried saba bananas. Folks have their personal preferences… some like them super hot, with melted butter and sugar on top. Others like them quite ripe, and therefore rather soft when they have been fried. Yet others like them sliced thinner, while some like them thick and meaty. Some actually like them cold or at room temperature, when they kind of look a bit gross to me…

My ideal fried bananas are these – start with just under peak ripeness saba bananas of medium size. Slice them into about 4 pieces so they are not too thin, not too thick. Heat up some FRESH vegetable oil and when it is quite hot, slip the bananas into the fat. saba2Cook until a nice golden color, watch carefully or they will overcook. Remove from fat and drain on paper towels. There should be somewhat crisp edges with that characteristic caramelized sugar flavor, but a medium firm texture to the flesh. I usually have them with just a sprinkle of sugar on top, sometimes eating them with my fingers, but other times with a knife and fork. If the latter, I “wipe” the banana across a portion of the plate to get more sugar grains. Last night we happened to have some leftover dulce de leche from a meal several days ago and I tried some with the fried bananas…it was very good…sort of like naked turon with sauce. But I still think my favorite variation is just a sprinkle of sugar. Others like this drizzled with butterscotch, some rum, or even condensed milk… whatever floats your boat, I guess. If I had to choose the food items in my last supper, it would almost certainly include a plate of fried bananas… How do you like your fried bananas???

Other ways to enjoy saba bananas? Check these out:
Minatamis na Saba
Grilled Saba Bananas
Boiled Saba Bananas
Saba at Sago
Saba sa Gata



  1. Mel says:

    I am going to fire up my grill this week end.

    Jul 3, 2007 | 10:42 am


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  3. zherwin says:

    this is one of the best meryenda that my mom usually prepare on a weekend back in quezon. we usually roll the fried saba in sugar and powdered milk, yummy! :)

    Jul 3, 2007 | 10:47 am

  4. flip4ever says:

    MM, you’re killing me here! Its past dinnertime and the closest Filipino store is a 45-minute drive away…serves me right for trying to keep up with your posts. :) I like mine simply with sugar as well.

    Jul 3, 2007 | 11:14 am

  5. Maria Clara says:

    Our saba variety are the best no other variety/breed comes close to its taste, texture and flavor. They are friendly. They tell you when they are ready for savoring and sensitive when you abuse them too much pinching – their skin bruised easily. I prefer the firm ripe ones in sunshine yellow with no brown spots in it. I like mine fried well done with caramelization at the outer edge of the sliced banana with butter and sprinkled with sugar while still piping hot. I like them piping hot with an iced cold regular soda or unflavored iced tea.

    Jul 3, 2007 | 11:26 am

  6. Jam says:

    Maybe you’ll find it weird, but for me fried banana is not a dessert coz i used to eat this along with rice and fried pork and a cold coke:)

    Jul 3, 2007 | 11:30 am

  7. consol says:

    love to eat them (saba) straight out of the bunch, not too ripe, never overripe! (same with lacatan) okay, fried too with a sprinkling of sugar. and let’s not start with bananacue — oh man! :-)

    Jul 3, 2007 | 12:45 pm

  8. CecileJ says:

    Sabana banana rocks!! I like them hot, cold, boiled, fried, as a desert, as a snack or as ulam (in Arroz ala Cubana that is nonexistent in Cuba, I learned!)

    Jul 3, 2007 | 1:26 pm

  9. joni says:

    There was a time when we’d ALWAYS have this for breakfast…it took awhile before I had any respect again for the banana. But because of this post, I would give anything just to have fried sabananas. :)

    I’m really enjoying this “post from every trip (literally and figuratively)” thing you’ve got going. hehehehe :)

    Jul 3, 2007 | 1:55 pm

  10. nina says:

    I love this including banana-Q and turon.

    Jul 3, 2007 | 2:45 pm

  11. erleen says:

    This is always part of our usual breakfast fare. Just sugar please.

    Jul 3, 2007 | 3:03 pm

  12. gansi says:

    Both my Lola and late Nanay eat boiled saba or any ripe banana with bagoong and steaming hot rice! At first I found it weird but it turned out masarap. Even my kids learned to eat bananas that way.

    Jul 3, 2007 | 3:17 pm

  13. aince says:

    I like this plain or with rum, butter and panotsa sauce. For some reason, it tastes better when my mother makes it. I intentionally don’t make it for myself. :-)

    Jul 3, 2007 | 3:20 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    erleen, OMG, you are right, we had this for breakfast OFTEN. All of you who eat this with rice, I think that is quite common. As for eating it a la Cubana, actually, in Cuban restaurants in New York, many serve a decent fried banana along with the rice and black beans…delicious…

    Jul 3, 2007 | 3:34 pm

  15. MegaMom says:

    My father is diabetic as are at least 10% of all Filipino adults. For his benefit, I tried just grilling the saba, no sugar added, no oil. This turned out to be very good and healthier, too, a great alternative for diabetics or health buffs. The natural sugars in the saba caramelize with grilling and lends the natural sweetness to this snack. Caution though: even if there is no sugar added, diabetics should not consume more than two ripe sabas in one sitting. The natural sugars in fruits are broken down to glucose, and can lead to increases in blood sugar.

    Jul 3, 2007 | 3:47 pm

  16. MegaMom says:

    Oh and yes, I had fried plantains with rice, estrellado and picadillo in a Cuban restaurant in Miami South Beach. They just didn’t call it arroz a la Cubana though. Never been to Cuba though so I can’t validate that this is truly Cuban in origin. (like chop suey is not Chinese and French fries are really frites Belge) Maybe a query worth sleuthing around for…Marketman?

    Jul 3, 2007 | 3:55 pm

  17. MrsKookie says:

    Like Erleen, we also had this for breakfast. But I personally like them a little overripe so that it’s soft. But it’s best when it’s a little crunchy on the edges… No need for sugar for me. Just the natural sweetness of the banana. Newly cooked, please. A whole bunch of it! :P~

    Jul 3, 2007 | 3:57 pm

  18. lee says:

    “Come, Mr. Tally Man, tally me banana. Daylight come and we wanna go home.”

    I love ripe saba… too sad i should limit my intake because of crazy blood sugar level.

    Jul 3, 2007 | 4:17 pm

  19. alicia says:

    One of my favorite variations is fried bananas with dulce de leche ( made from condensada) topped with a scoop of coffee ice cream and sprinkled with ground sweetened peanuts . Delicious! Easy to make and a real crowd pleaser. Great for after an asian menu.. I have also always loved plntains and Jam, I don’t think our combination is weird at all. When I used to live in NYC I would eat at this place La Caridad on W78th and Broadway at least twice a week.. chino- Latino food and we had plantains, with rice and beans all the time! South Beach friendly it was not! The fried plantains were the essential part to the mix, without them the rice, beans and whatever viand we had would just not taste right to me!

    Jul 3, 2007 | 5:44 pm

  20. Apicio says:

    Reputedly Manuel L. Quezon’s favorite dessert too, but sloshed with rum.

    Jul 3, 2007 | 5:54 pm

  21. leila antonio says:

    Fried bananas masarap iulam sa sinangag!

    Jul 3, 2007 | 8:14 pm

  22. juls says:

    i like my saba the same way as yours… also the same way my fried camote fritters are served

    Jul 3, 2007 | 8:21 pm

  23. annette says:

    My goodness!! That is soooo perfectly done. . .I always like saba banana cooked that way, sprinkled with sugar on top, mmm.

    Jul 3, 2007 | 10:21 pm

  24. noemi says:

    sarap nito.

    Jul 3, 2007 | 11:48 pm

  25. wil-b cariaga says:

    i dunno why but we usually have this for breakfast. . . since i was a kid. . .

    Jul 4, 2007 | 8:14 am

  26. paolo says:

    Every time I go to the Phils, I always request for fried Bananas, the equivalent of “French Fries.” The Best in the world.

    When I was in Spain, one of the resto had a desert with fried Bananas. I ordered it and Whew! it was the most disgusting fried Bananas I ever had. It was the “Cavendish” variety that they fried.

    Again, in Tagaytay at Sonia’s place. I had fried Bananas for desert. The banana halves are rolled on Sesame seeds before frying. I thought it was exotic and I ordered extra to take home.

    The Puerto Ricans fry their own Bananas which they call “Platanos.” Right after frying, they crush the fried bananas with a mallet and then olive oil is poured over. I was served that by a Puerto Rican in New York City.

    Oh! Banana Qs are another favorite of mine. Someone is always frying them at any sidewalks in the Philippines. It’s one temptation I could not resist! I have never had one Banana Q I did not like although I always get my tongue and palate burned because of my “takaw.”

    Jul 4, 2007 | 9:23 am

  27. cc says:

    This is a yummy treat, whether fried or grilled. American’s luv it – anytime of the day. The drawback, it’s very difficult to obtain good saba bananas in California. The Mexican version, sold seasonally in some grocery stores, just isn’t the same.

    Jul 4, 2007 | 10:13 am

  28. honey says:

    For me, nothing beats maruya where rice flour is used. the crispiness of the flour goes great with the sweetness and softness of the semi-ripe saba bananas. a close second is banana-q

    Jul 4, 2007 | 10:35 am

  29. lojet says:

    Have you ever tried preparing it Tostones style? It’s popular here in NYC and even take out chinese restaurants commonly offer it as a side dish. People usually order it with fried chicken wings. They use green plantain but I prefer to use ripe firm plantains. I bet saba will be even better. The bananas are peeled and sliced crosswise into one inch pieces then fried until golden and drained on paper towels. Then they are crushed to flatten into disks. Some people use the bottom of a glass or other hard container, I just use the heel of my hand over folded paper towel to do it. Then the banana disks are fried quickly the second time for about 30 secs each side to crisp it. it is pretty as a side dish.For the ripe ones I roll them in granulated sugar soon as they come out of the pan.
    Please do me a favor MM and try it on Saba and tell me how that taste. Do an experiment on both green and ripe ones or even try the cardaba variety for comparison.
    Here’s a link on it at food network.

    Jul 4, 2007 | 11:30 am

  30. kaoko says:

    Without the addition of sugar, Fried Saba is also fantastic with Ginisang Corned Beef & rice. For me, corned beef and fried saba is an even better combo than arroz ala cubana with saba.

    Jul 4, 2007 | 12:25 pm

  31. George says:

    I love mine topped with mozzarella, monterey jack, and parmesan cheese baked to oven toaster perfection…

    Jul 4, 2007 | 1:55 pm

  32. Lani says:

    I love this, i usually drizzle the fried bananas with condensed milk and top with chopped semi-roasted peanuts. Yum!!!

    Jul 4, 2007 | 2:53 pm

  33. allen says:

    My mom used to cook this a lot for breakfast, and I hated it. Now that I don’t live in her house anymore, I kinda miss it.

    Jul 4, 2007 | 6:13 pm

  34. marisa says:

    yes… i remember we had fried bananas for breakfast quite often but without sugar, although for taste some of us would sprinkle sugar on top of what we ate, the fried with butter and carmelized sugar would be served as for merienda.

    Jul 4, 2007 | 11:22 pm

  35. DeeBee says:

    Ahh… saba… my favourites are turon and banana-Q. Also like minatamis na saba with crushed ice and milk. Unfortunately, I’ve not seen saba sold here in Australia. I understand that it is banned for import here because of some insect or disease that it may carry (yata?). Anyway, makes visits to Manila all the more poignant.

    Jul 5, 2007 | 11:23 am

  36. buckythetarayslayer says:

    I could never bring myself to eat a plain banana, but fried bananas I love. Fried saba, served piping hot, dripping with butter and sprinkled with sugar. Sometimes I have a little cheddar or edam cheese to go with it. I also love turon, it should be hot, and I love to drizzle some melted butter on top of it too! Accompanied by some freshly brewed kapeng barako on a rainy day….perfect. Haay, gutom!

    Aug 14, 2007 | 5:23 am

  37. Bianca says:

    Fried bananas are also yummy with a splash of sweet red wine!

    Feb 25, 2008 | 8:24 pm


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