The main material for making banana chips is raw saba banana. Ripe has increased sugar which makes the middle of slices go brown before the entire slice turn crispy. It also has lower starch and higher moisture content which makes cooking difficult. I think turning it to crisp is impossible.
Any cooking banana can be made into chips. Eating bananas are not. Saba are cooking bananas while latundan, lakatan and cavendish are eating bananas. Want to know their differences aside from the very obvious shape? In both ripe conditions, cooking bananas hold it shape during boiling while eating bananas do not. The latter become saggy.
Because it is made of raw banana, many producers add commercially available banana flavor. It’s a bit odd but true. Buy some properly labeled chips there and you will see… I felt nostalgic about the training I conducted. The seminar organizer asked me why my cooking tasted like raw banana. My answer was obvious. No need to mention. Additional flavoring prevents this cases from occurring.
Use separate oil batches for first and second frying. The latter absorbs sugars which burns in subsequent use. Both oil batches maybe cleaned for several use by allowing sugar crystals and broken chips settle to bottom and decanting after.
If you feel the cassava you are working with is too hard, stop and discard them away. They are probably past harvest maturity and might contain considerable amount cyanogen, a paralytic compound.
Be aware of potatoes with green peels. The green substance is called solanin. It is poisonous. Scrape the green part off and the rest can be used safely.
1) Prepare syrup by mixing one kg sugar with one liter water. Boil for 30 minutes. Cool. Adjust sweetness intensity by adding or lessening sugar quantity. Use refractometer for better accuracy.
2) Select bananas. Wash it thoroughly until all the adhering dirt are removed.
3) Peel by cutting both ends, making a single longitudinal slit and lifting the skin off with knife. It is tricky and hard at first but you’ll get used to it eventually.
4) Place in basin of water to prevent browning and wash off latex.
5) Slice uniformly. Thickness should be 1/16 inch. Use a guided knife, a manual slicer or a machine slicer capable of high speed work.
6) Heat the cooking oil up to 270°F. In absence of candy thermometer, monitor by placing a slice in oil, it is ready when rapid bubbling appears on sides. Cook for 15 minutes or until crispy. Remove from oil and cool.
7) Soak in syrup for 3 minutes. Drain. Store remaining syrup and use for next batches.
8) Cooked in oil (270°F) for 5 to 10 minutes. Separate sticking pieces.
9) Remove from oil. Place on manila paper or clean towel to drain off excess oil. Turn to facilitate draining.
10) Pack in PP bags or other suitable containers.
Skip steps 7-9 and you have it. You may sprinkle powdered flavorings instead. Like barbecue, cheese and chili.
Taro/Gabi, Cassava/Kamoteng Kahoy and Potato Chips?
The same slicing and frying procedure apply. However, pay close attention to frying time as they get cooked in seconds and burnt easily. Jollibee and McDonalds french fries cooking trick is awesome for this. The specially made frying strainer allow quick dipping in and removal from hot oil. If you’re a fan of these two fast-food chain then you already seen how it works.
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.