Talking about bananas, I have a funny story to tell. This happened on my first visit to Hong Kong. My girlfriend, Corine and I were shopping at a night market and Corine wanted to buy some bananas. We managed to find a store that had them. It was manned by an old lady who was probably in her late 60s. Corine then asked her for the price of a bunch of "kung jiu" (banana in cantonese). "kung" means "male" in cantonese. Malaysians call banana "kung jiu", whereas the Hongkies call it "heong jiu" ("heong" means fragrant). We didn't know of this dialect difference until later. So, when Corine asked the old lady to give her a nice bunch of "kung jiu", she looked at her in disbelief and replied in a very serious tone of voice she said she had been selling "hiong jiu" (bananas) for 50 years but she has never heard of "kung" (male) or "na" (female) for "hiong jiu". We laughed so hard together that we could barely conclude the purchase.
This recipe is good for over-ripe bananas. Here, locally, I will not make this if I cannot get pisang raja (banana raja). These are small plantation bananas, grown and consumed here, that are very sweet, and most who make this treat do so only when they are available. However, don't let this stop you from making this lovely banana fritter, the perefect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon.
180 gm plain flour
½ ts baking powder
pinch of salt
500 gm slightly overripe bananas, mashed
2 cups of desiccated coconut (optional)
oil for deep frying
Sift A, add mashed bananas and mix well into a soft batter.
Heat oil in a wok until hot and drop tablespoonful of batter in. Remove with slotted ladle when golden brown and drain on absorbent paper.
For those who prefer this to be a little sweeter, coat the banana balls with icing sugar or cinnamon sugar. My husband, son, nieces, and nephews love these.