Going absolutely bananas!

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If you’re bananas about bananas, then being in Malaysia will definitely feed your addiction.

There are so many varieties here that even locals have a hard time naming them all. From tiny dwarf-like ones to giants as big as your arm, bananas should come with a manual.

Here’s Butterkicap’s list of popular Malaysian bananas. Some are good eaten when ripe, most are fantastic deep-fried and all make delicious fried mashed banana balls (Cekodok) when over-ripe.

Pisang Raja

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With a bright yellow skin, sweet flavour and smooth texture, Pisang Raja can be eaten fresh or fried.

Pisang Awak

Sweet and fleshy, it’s best as fried bananas or pisang goreng or made into Lepat Pisang and Pengat.

Pisang Raja Udang

Can be eaten ripe or made into other typical Malaysian desserts – Pengat Pisang, Lempeng or Cekodok when over-riped.

This variety of banana is difficult to find and looks particularly unique due to its purple to rusty orange skin. The flesh itself is similar in colour to other varieties of banana with a sweet and slightly sour flavour.

Pisang Lemak Manis

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This banana is petite, bright yellow, sweet and fleshy. It is good eaten ripe. This variety can be planted and will be fully grown within four months.

Pisang Tanduk

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This giant of a banana is fantastic to make as Pengat Pisang. With a slightly sour flavour, it balances perfectly with the sweetness of dark brown sugar and the saltiness in coconut.

Pisang Helang

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Similar to Pisang Tanduk, this banana is also rather huge. The difference is in its flavour and colour – it is not sour and the flesh is pale compared to the darker yellow of the Pisang Tanduk.

This banana is also good to make Pengat especially for those who do not like the hint of the sourness of Pisang Tanduk.

Pisang Nangka

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Unlike other bananas, this variety remains green in colour even when ripe. Once it turns yellow, the banana is considered over-ripe and the flesh too soft to be eaten. At this point you can mash it up to make Cekodok. This variety is good when battered and deep-fried.

Similar to Pisang Tanduk, the flavour is sweet and slightly sour. Other things you can make with Pisang Nangka include Pengat Pisang, Lepat Pisang and Pisang Rebus.

Pisang Rastali

This banana is small in size thus making it perfect to enjoy after a meal.

Delicious when ripe, Pisang Rastali is commonly enjoyed after a meal as dessert. While the skin is not as pretty, often peppered with dark spots, it is thin, with a wonderful aroma and sweet flesh inside.

Pisang Emas

Credit: Suria Helang Lui.

Petite in size, Pisang Emas is also commonly eaten after a meal once ripe. When over-ripe, you will find that thew32 skin sticks to the flesh inside. At this point, it is best made into Cekodok.

Pisang Abu

Many love making a curry with the green variety. If the banana is over-ripe, it can be fried.

This variety of banana is not usually eaten ripe due to its mild flavour and often rubbery texture.

Pisang Berangan

This variety is delicious as Goreng Pisang.

Sweet, with a lovely aroma, this banana is great enjoyed as a dessert when ripe. Its firm flesh makes it perfect for deep-frying.

Banana recipes you’ll love

Here are some banana treats and the best bananas to use for it. You can probably use different varieties of bananas but these are Butterkicap’s favourites.

  • Curry – Pisang Abu, PIsang Lemak Manis
  • Pengat – Pisang Tanduk, Pisang Helang
  • Lepat – Pisang Awak
  • Goreng – Pisang Awak, Pisang Berangan, Pisang Raja
  • Cekodok
  • Rebus – Pisang Awak

This article first appeared in butterkicap.com

Butterkicap is a food and culture platform and community that enables anyone to experience Malaysia through stories of her people, food and places.