Tuesday, November 4, 2008

BananaRama- I run for bananas!

Pisang Keling aka Pisang Rastali
Pisang Keling aka Pisang Rastali Pictured above are Pisang Keling or Pisang Rastali.

Pisang. Banana in English. These are fruits that most love and some may not like. I love, love bananas. I started to learn the different names when I was a "banana runner" for my late Great grandmother. She would ask me to run to the small stall to get bananas just for her. Hmm...I love running errands for my mom, running back and forth just for for fun of it. As a 7-8 year old, what the heck. My mom said to obey the elders so I did. In my mind, I would get my "fruitful" reward:)

My great grandmother says bananas. I run! To the stall of course. She would say, "Get me Pisang Madu" - Honey Banana, a small pinky finger sized banana that is super sweet. As sweet as honey. Hence the name. Or Pisang Keling (Pisang Rastali in Bahasa Melayu ) a dark dotted banana which is almost with a slight tartness to it, my other favorite, or Pisang Embun (Embun is Dew in Malay) the closest to most banana species sold in most supermarkets around the world. Then there is Pisang Otel (Pisang Lemak Manis in B. Melayu with English direct translation as Creamy & Sweet Banana) my true favorite. It's small & sweet. Smooth yellow skin, when ripe with a green tip and almost has its own sweet fragrance.

Pisang Pisang.
This banana mostly use for baking, is very good for Cekodok Pisang - fried banana dumpling. Made with just flour, mashed banana & a pinch of salt fried to perfection & Lepat Pisang - a banana kueh, made with mashed ripe banana with flour and a bit sugar and sometimes with grated coconut, wrapped in banana leaves, steamed till cooked. Yes, Add a pinch of salt to enhance the sweetness of this fruit.

Pisang Nangka
- A banana species that taste like that of Nangka - Jackfruit. Interesting enough. Pisang Tandok (Plantain) - Tandok/Tanduk is Horn in Malay as most of these bananas are the size of a water buffalo horns. It is mainly use for cooking, frying will be best. Fried ripe plantain, where its sugar caramelized when fried, oozing through the crunchy fried flour batter. You can see small stalls selling these in the afternoon near roadsides and do ask for Pisang Goreng (Fried Banana.)
Pisang Mas - Sweet but not as good as Pisang Otel to my taste bud, also known as Baby Banana in most Western supermarkets.
Pisang Kapok
(Pisang Kapas in B Melayu & kapas is cotton in Malay) Like that of Plantain and Pisang Pisang, this is best for cooking and be made into fried banana.

There are about 9 names of bananas that I knew and can differentiate when I run banana errands for my late great grandmother. I thank her for this knowledge she had given me, yet I know, even after all these errands, she do not like me much. I assumed of my mischievousness :)
Pisang Otel aka Pisang Lemak ManisPisang Otel aka Pisang Lemak ManisPictured above are Pisang Otel or Pisang Lemak Manis.

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