11 Mar2008


I was so intrigued by the manner in which the Bicolano Sinapot was cooked, using a cacao leaf at the start of the frying so that the bananas held their shape, that I was determined to attempt this at home. Just a few days after getting back from Bicol, we parked roadside on the way to Tagaytay, purchasing some pineapples, and lo and behold a feet from the car window were several cacao trees. We got down and asked the owners if we could take about 10 leaves home and they graciously agreed to my strange request. We also bought a whole bunch of saba bananas on the same trip, so all I needed to do was figure out a rice flour based batter and it was all systems go for the sinapot experiment…


When the bananas are just ripe, peel them and slice them in half if they are of medium thickness, or into three lengthwise pieces if they are really thick bananas. Next, make a batter of about a cup of rice flour, just under a cup of water, and a tablespoon or two of white sugar and a pinch of salt. Mix this thoroughly until you have a light batter, not too thick nor too thin. Adjust flour or water to reach a consistency the works for you.


Heat up a large pan with at least 2-3 inches deep of vegetable oil until it is hot and a bit of batter dropped into the oil sizzles a bit. You do not want the oil too hot as the batter will brown too quickly and the bananas won’t be cooked sufficiently. Wash your cacao leaves (banana leaves are a reasonable substitute) and dry off any excess moisture. Brush vegetable oil on the “top” surface of the leaf and arrange 3 or 4 banana slices on top, with some batter connecting all the pieces. Slip this leaf with bananas into the hot fat and let this cook for about 2 minutes and remove the cacao leaf and let the bananas fry for a few more minutes before turning them over and cooking until a light golden brown. The cacao leaves are re-usable, up to say 3-4 times.


Remove the sinapot from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve as is, or if you want to get a bit fancy, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, or serve with vanilla ice cream and a caramel sauce. My first attempt yielded reasonable results, but they weren’t as good as the ones I had in Legazpi. The bananas I used were a tad underripe, and my batter was a bit too thick… so my suggestion is that you start with a thinner batter and try and fry one banana slice and see if you need to add more flour to the batter to achieve the ideal consistency. The sinapot were incredibly crisp and stayed that way for quite a while, a result of using rice flour rather than all purpose flour. I prefer my fried bananas naked, without batter, but if you are a maruya or baduya fan… you may want to try this recipe the next time you have access to some cacao leaves…




  1. jayjay says:

    i think this is one of your yummiest posts ever (another is the earlier post on the cacao leaf sinapot). simple lang ako e, hehe.

    Mar 11, 2008 | 2:33 pm


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  3. Trish says:

    Loooove fried bananas— bananaque, maruya, turon with langka. A totally irresistable treat I love having with freshly brewed iced tea. Life’s simple pleasures indeed!!!

    Mar 11, 2008 | 2:41 pm

  4. Gaye says:

    hi marketman! we have several cacao trees in pangasinan and i haven’t thought that you can use the leaves! i think this is a very clever idea. will try cooking some sinapot when we go home this coming lenten season. thanks for sharing.

    btw, we have plenty of cacao seeds(dunno if that’s the right term)coz my mom harvested quite a number of cacao fruits recently. would love to try out some recipes if you have any that uses cacao. been searching the web but i haven’t found any. thanks so much in advance!

    Mar 11, 2008 | 2:42 pm

  5. Gay says:

    Haay sige… pupunta muna ako sa cafeteria para bumili ng turon…


    Mar 11, 2008 | 2:44 pm

  6. carol says:

    wow sarap napalaway ako..one of my favorite snacks. In my hometown in Samar we called it “pinahapot”. Makabili nga saba at makapagluto hehe.

    Mar 11, 2008 | 2:45 pm

  7. Gay says:

    I just had my turon. Isn’t this same as maruya?

    Mar 11, 2008 | 3:35 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    Gay similar to maruya, but a maruya is a whole banana sliced 80% of the way down, and the “fanned out” and therfore overlapping in some areas. For the sinapot, the pieces touch, but don’t overlap… also, I think the rice flour may be different as well… I have an earlier post on maruya, link here. Gaye, if the cacao seeds or pods are fresh, you can eat the pulp around the seeds, but they have a narcotic or alcoholic effect. The seeds themselves are dried and made into cacao butter… I haven’t seen any recipes for the cacao only except possibly as “cacao nibs” or bits of the seed, probably roasted and when chewed on must give off an intense cacao taste or flavor… jayjay, marami pa akong posts on fried saba in all its forms!

    Mar 11, 2008 | 3:46 pm

  9. Tricia says:

    Marketman, thanks for this recipe! This sure qualifies as GFCF(gluten free casein free) food for my son with the rice flour ingredient.

    I hope you could come up with more recipes for GFCF food in the future.

    Oh and by the way, it’s the 2nd time I cooked your prawns in coconut milk yesterday with lots of chillies. My husband loves it. Malakas lang humakot ng rice. I will try this with crab during the holy week! :)

    Mar 11, 2008 | 3:48 pm

  10. Marketman says:

    Tricia, you may want to try my chili crab a la marketman recipe, it is our house specialty at the beach… I think it is one of our best dishes…

    Mar 11, 2008 | 3:49 pm

  11. det says:

    using rice flour instead of plain flour makes the end product mas malutong.i`ve learned it from one of those tv cooking shows.i really tried it and it`s true.
    so,the cacao flesh has it`s narcotic or alcoholic effect?now,that explains why when we were kids we felt so drowsy after eating the cacao flesh.we used to have those trees in our yard.

    Mar 11, 2008 | 6:25 pm

  12. misao says:

    mm, did the cacao leaf impart any flavor to the baduya?

    Mar 11, 2008 | 6:56 pm

  13. Marketman says:

    misao, I don’t think it added flavor, but served as a rigid base to set the batter flat when it hits the oil, then removed. det, yup you guys were mildly high.

    Mar 11, 2008 | 7:43 pm

  14. jayjay says:

    speaking of turon, i don’t usually eat it (too wide for a single bite and messy if you’re not at home, with bits of wrapper flying all over) but i ordered some from tapa king the other day. fifty bucks got me four or five pieces about 2.5 inches long and thin at about half an inch. probably contained 1/8 of a saba banana each, but it was crunchy, and if you want a mess- and hassle-free way of eating the treat, ‘highway robbery’ be damned.

    Mar 11, 2008 | 10:43 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    jayjay, do you mean something like this? Yes, I always thought smaller turon were better, they have a higher crunch to fruit ratio and are easier to handle…

    Mar 11, 2008 | 10:46 pm

  16. jayjay says:

    yeah, yummmmeh! with zero or only a little caramelized sugar and no langka, right? darn it, maybe i should start doing more in the kitchen than frying processed meats from a to z and, elsewhere, just reading your blog and imagining all these goodies…

    Mar 11, 2008 | 11:30 pm

  17. nan says:

    i grew up in camarines sur eating this kind of baduya and thought it was a batangueño practice (as there were many ala eh’s in the barangay) to use the cacao leaves in frying. it appears to be bicolano after all :)

    Mar 11, 2008 | 11:32 pm

  18. Maria Clara says:

    They look good. I guess fresh tuba will do wonder in the rice batter for sweetness, added flavor and leavening agent for extra crunchiness.

    Mar 12, 2008 | 12:01 am

  19. Homebuddy says:

    Maruya, one of my favorites! I like the bananas to be “manibalang” because I want them crunchy. But with your recipe using rice flour, I think my next batch of maruya will definitely have a higher crunch. MM thanks for the recipe.

    Mar 12, 2008 | 12:26 am

  20. dhayL says:

    speaking of your “smaller turon”, i’ve been making a lot of them lately, like one batch every week or so and they usually last about 2 to 3 days in house, inormally freeze them, but i find it difficult to fry them after, so i just put them in the fridge instead, they’re handy and they cook in a flash!

    Mar 12, 2008 | 4:49 am

  21. nikki says:

    hello Gaye!u can use the seeds to make tableya.u can put the cacao seeds under the sun to let it dry.and then use a machine or device for grinding.(u can also go to the market and pay for them to grind it.they use the same machine for grinding peanuts for peanut butter.)u immediately mold it right after, before it hardens.u can use a polvoron molder para mahahati siya into smaller pieces,just like the ones sold in the grocery.u can use it for champorado or tsokolate drink.

    Mar 13, 2008 | 5:29 pm

  22. teth says:

    hay memories of life in Bicol… afternoon snack- sinapot with hot coffee with cousins at our grandparents house.

    Apr 9, 2008 | 12:33 pm

  23. pinky says:

    this reminds me of my childhood in bicol.we love eating sinapot with pancit luglug in the market after our tiring run around the city.i miss bicol!!

    May 23, 2008 | 12:07 am

  24. Lola Felice says:

    Thank you for featuring our beloved sinapot. It makes me all the more proud because of its distinctively crispy taste. Ang maruya sa Manila ay di kasing lutong ng sinapot sa Albay.

    Sep 15, 2008 | 1:14 pm


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