Tuvalu – Coconut Banana Fritters

First things first, why Tuvalu? You can thank a deep YouTube spiral, which led me to this video of the future King of England and Duchess Kate getting their groove on in Tuvalu. After watching that, I suddenly felt like a fantastic dancer.  Tuvalu is an incredibly small (less than 10 square miles) and remote country whose cuisine makes heavy use of fish, taro, and tropical fruits. It is no surprise that the dessert served to William and Kate during their visit highlighted delicious fruits of the island-namely, banana and coconut.

The Bake

The dough itself is simple – combine all the ingredients together until you have a a slightly runny batter. While the two recipes I consulted called for using a potato masher to integrate the bananas into the the other ingredients, I got away with using a fork. The resulting batter was slightly chunky-but still tasted great-and the pieces of banana added texture to the fritter. If you want the banana to be more thoroughly combined, I would suggest either: a) mashing the bananas in a small bowl before adding them to the rest of the ingredients, or b) breaking out a stand or hand mixer and whipping all the ingredients together.

A word of caution – deep frying is dangerous. Even though I have deep fried my fair share in the past (I did spend 5 years in the Midwest after all) I still managed to burn my tongue by licking one of the chopsticks straight after I used it to take a fritter out of the oil. Relatedly, chopsticks are a decent tool for grabbing these little fritters out of the oil-just don’t lick the hot oil off of them. Ultimately, you are better off investing in a slotted spoon for deep frying (which I haven’t done yet; but do as I say, not as I do).  Most important takeaways: Oil is hot. Wear an apron. Resist the temptation to eat anything straight away.

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As you can see from the pictures above, I wasn’t able to get the fritters into a perfect ball. The model recipes recommended using a ice cream scoop, but I eat ice cream by the pint so a tool to get smaller scoops of ice cream has no place in my apartment. After attempting to form nice spheres for two batches, I gave up and decided it would be cooler to drop the fritters into the oil free form and decide on their “official” shapes after the fact. This little guy is my favorite (it’s a pregnant duck):

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The Moment of Truth

No real surprises here, these are fried donuts. However, the addition of banana and coconut make this so much more exciting than your typical donut. The banana adds flavor to the batter-which allows the fritter to stand on its own, rather than having to rely on sugary frostings-and the coconut adds a slight crunchy texture. I can only imagine how delicious these fritters would be if they were made with bananas and coconuts fresh off the tree.

Being an obnoxious sugar addict, I decided a tad more sweetness was required.  And what pairs perfectly with banana and coconut? Nutella, obviously. (To be fair, Nutella pairs perfectly with everything). I have no shame.

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The Recipe

This recipe is courtesy of Sasha Martin of Global Table Adventure.

2 ripe bananas roughly chopped

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup shredded or flaked coconut

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 egg

1/2 cup coconut milk

Powdered sugar or sugar (for dusting)

Combine all of the ingredients besides the banana in a bowl and mix. Using one of the two methods described above, mix in the bananas. Heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a skillet/ pot/ dutch oven until it reaches deep frying temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Gently plop spoonfuls of the batter into the oil. Flip the fritters after about a minute or when the underside is golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to dry. When cooled enough to touch dunk in powdered sugar or sugar.

Fun Fact

Tuvalu’s largest source of income (several million dollars) is royalties from licensing its internet domain name “.TV” to television companies around the world.

 

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