Caramelized Bananas

Caramelized bananas are a classic Chinese restaurant dessert. With this banana recipe you end up with a crackly, cooled candy glaze surrounding soft, piping-hot bananas at the center — the best of both worlds.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg

4 firm bananas

Cooking oil for deep-frying

7 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons water

Ice cubes in cold water

  1. Place the sesame seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat, shaking the pan frequently until the seeds are lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

  2. Immediately remove from the pan to cool.

  3. Crack the egg and pour it into a small bowl, lightly beating it with a whisk or fork.

  4. Place the flour in a dish.

  5. Peel and cut the bananas into thirds.

  6. In a wok, heat the oil for deep-frying to 360 degrees.

  7. Just before deep-frying, coat the bananas in the flour, then in the egg, and back to the flour, shaking off the excess.

  8. Using a pair of chopsticks or a slotted spoon, carefully lower the banana pieces into the hot oil.

  9. Deep-fry, a few pieces at a time, turning frequently, until golden brown, about 2 minutes.

  10. Remove the bananas with a slotted spoon and dip them into the ice water.

  11. Drain the bananas on paper towels.

  12. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan.

  13. Cook over medium heat until the mixture caramelizes and turns to a pale straw color, about 8 minutes.

    You don’t have to stir it because the sugar should melt and incorporate into the water.

  14. Immediately remove from the heat.

    The syrup will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat, and the color will turn golden in a few seconds.

  15. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper or foil.

  16. Top with an oiled cooling rack.

  17. Lay the fried bananas on the rack, pour the sugar syrup over the bananas, and then sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

  18. Gently place the bananas on a lightly greased serving plate and serve immediately.

Even after you dunk the caramelized bananas into the ice water, they still may stick to the serving plate. Grease the dish with a little cooking oil or butter, and you won’t leave any delicious bits stuck behind.

Create your own caramelized fruit dessert by using mangoes, pears, peaches, or whatever is ripe and fresh in your area. It’s hard to find a fruit that won’t benefit from this candied treatment.

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