A popular street food in the Philippines, maruya consists of slices of very ripe saba bananas dipped in batter, fried until golden and crisp, then tossed in sugar.
Granted it’s not the most photogenic of dishes. But, when cooked right, the lovely contrast between the sweet and mushy banana and the crisp coating makes it a joy to eat.
If Filipino maruya reminds you of Latin American fried banana dishes, it’s because of shared history. Like many Latin American countries and some Caribbean nations, the Philippines was once a Spanish colony.
Hence, maruya shares similarities with tostones, also known as patacones, the name for plantains that are sliced and fried, pounded to flatten then fried a second time until crisp and golden.
There is some likeness too with the Venezuelan yo-yo which consists of two vertical slices of plantain stuffed with cheese in the middle, held together with toothpicks, dipped in egg and fried until golden.
Maruya (Banana Fritters)
- Into a wok or frying pan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of at least three inches and turn on the stove to start heating it.
- Place the sugar in a wide shallow bowl.
- Make the batter by whisking together the egg, flour, salt, baking powder and milk until smooth.
- Peel the bananas. Cut each vertically into three to five slices, depending on how large they are, without going all the way through on one end. Carefully spread the slices to make a “fan” (see notes after the recipe).
- Dip each banana in the batter making sure that the batter reaches the crevices between the slices.
- Over medium heat, fry the battered bananas, two to three minutes per side, or until golden and crisp. Do this in batches to avoid overcrowding.
- Scoop out the cooked bananas, dredge in sugar and serve at once.