I've been craving Jamaican banana fritters and feeling homesick since the release of all the short stories in the "I am an Island Girl Series." Writing Duppy Business and Chinese Skip and taking trips down memory lane from my childhood has brought back happy memories of my mom or dad making banana fritters for breakfast. The "I am an Island Girl series" has led me to thinking of my favorite childhood foods, so much so that I've decided to share my absolute favorites with you. Topping the list is the Jamaican banana fritters.
First things first, let's put it out there. Yes, I am biased and no, it's not up for debate. This breakfast item has been my favorite all my life, and it will probably never change. In fact, it may have recently gotten worse, since my son loves it as well. It has given me more of an excuse to cook it. Not that I needed an excuse in the first place. Usually, I eat healthy and follow a meal prep lifestyle, but Jamaican banana fritters are one of my not so guilty pleasures.
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Ok, so why do I think Jamaican banana fritters are the best Jamaican breakfast. Well, they're easy to make, they taste amazing and they don't require a lot of ingredients or effort. These delicious treats seem more like dessert, but are a perfect way to start the morning, with something just a little sweet.
Truly, Jamaican banana fritters are almost effortless to make and are finished in very little time. I also love that they are the perfect solution to the life question, what do I do when my bananas start to turn brown? What do I do with the overripe bananas spelling up my house or refrigerator? You make Banana Fritters! I literally will avoid eating bananas and hide them from my family, so that they can turn brown and get sweeter, because then I’ll be able to make fritters out of them. Some of you, especially my non-Jamaican or Caribbean friends are probably asking a few questions:
What is a fritter?
A fritter is a pastry made when any kind of vegetable or fruit is added to a batter and made by frying. Growing up, I remember having apple and plantain fritters, but banana fritters were always my favorite. The star ingredient in banana fritters is, drum roll please, the banana, and pro tip, the riper the banana/s the better.
How easy are Banana Fritters to make?
Well, first of all, you only need 5 ingredients. Yes, you heard me right 5, and I’m pretty sure if you cook or bake, at all, you have these 5 items on hand in your kitchen now. Let’s see if I’m right, all purpose flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and like I mentioned before, the star, bananas.
Remember, it’s even better if you use bananas that are overripe and have started to turn brown. How brown? In my opinion, the browner the better. They can be used just as long as they haven’t started to “go bad”. You can tell they’ve gone bad because they will have a rank odor and usually seep juices. How do I know? Well, let’s just say I went too far once trying to see how long I could wait to use some bananas. Luckily, they were in a Ziploc bag in a container in the refrigerator and were easily disposed. Which brings me to a pro tip:
*Pro tip: Once your bananas have started to turn brown, store them in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator. It will slow down the ripening process, giving you more time to use them before they go bad.
Ok, so I hope you’ve collected those five items. In addition to those five items you will need oil for frying and a sauce pan.
If you haven’t, here's a reminder of what you need:
2 bananas (preferably well ripened)
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla or vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
6 tablespoons of flour
Oil for frying (approximately one cup)
Now, for the recipe:
1. Peel the bananas (2) and place them in a large mixing bowl.
2. Use a fork to crush the bananas (it won’t take much effort since they’re ripe).
3. Add ½ tsp of cinnamon to the crushed bananas and stir.
4. Add ½ tsp of vanilla to the bananas and cinnamon. Then stir to combine.
5. Add 2 tbsps of sugar to the mixture and stir to combine. Crush any lumps of sugar. (If your banana is well ripened, you can decrease the amount of sugar to 1 tbsp).
6. Add 6 tbsps of flour and mix well to combine.
To cook the Banana Fritters:
1. Place a saucepan over medium height and allow the pan to get hot.
2. Once it is hot, pour ½ cup of oil into the saucepan (I use olive oil, but any will do) and allow the oil to get hot too.
3. Use a medium sized spoon to ladle the banana fritter mixture into the hot oil. I make them the size of the spoon.
4. Allow the banana fritter to brown on each side, then turn.
(Banana fritters “drink oil” for some reason, so be prepared to add more oil to the saucepan as you fry.)
5. While the banana fritters are frying, prepare a plate with paper towels. (Banana fritters can be greasy-from all the oil they drink-, but the paper towel allows some of the oil to drain from the fritters.
6. Once both sides of the banana fritter have turned golden brown, remove the banana fritters to the paper towel and allow it to drain.
7. Continue frying the banana fritters until you have no more batter left.
*Pro tip: I use additional paper towel when my banana fritters are finished to remove even more oil. Tear some additional pieces of paper towel. Place the paper towel on top of the banana fritters and press down gently to remove even more oil from them.
Now, it’s time to enjoy your easy and delicious Jamaican banana fritters. There are many variations on how people choose to make Banana Fritters. Some people add more flour and water and a lot of other things to make a more "pancaky" batter and fritter, but this is the recipe I've "perfected" and love. I hope you enjoy it too.
This recipe will make anywhere from 10-12 banana fritters, depending on the size of your banana fritters. Like, I mentioned earlier you can add water or flour to the batter and that would increase the amount of fritters the recipe will yield, but I don't like banana fritters that taste too much of flour. I like them to have a strong banana flavor, but you may want to play with that, depending on your preference.
Want ideas on how to eat them? You can eat Banana Fritters as is or you can make a sandwich with them. For the sandwich, get a slice or two of your favorite bread. Place banana fritters in the middle. Now, bite into this delicious breakfast treat.
People also eat banana fritters as a dessert. They follow all the steps to make banana fritters that I mentioned above and then sprinkle granulated sugar on top of them as the final step. Personally, I think that would make them too sweet, but I've also never tried to that way. If you like things on the very sweet side, you may want to experiment with banana fritters as a desert.
Whenever I have friends to stay over at our house or have any one visit from Jamaica, I make banana fritters. It's a part of my love language and now that I've shared it with you, you're a part of my family. Come back and let me know how the banana fritters recipe went and if you enjoyed them! Feel free to invite me over whenever you make some banana fritters too!