Ripe plantain fritters are fried treats made with thin slices dunked in batter with a hint of cardamom and deep-fried to crispy and caramelized fritters. These are best served with evening chai. Kerala's pride, pazham pori.
I love plantains and as mentioned in my KaiPola recipe, I can live the rest of my life eating ripe plantain that is steamed, fried, sauteed, stuffed, etc. Pazham Pori is every mallu's favourite snack made with the King of Kerala Fruit! 😜
There are many variations depending on region and personal preference. My mom's way is usually how my aunts also make but there is some magic in my mom's recipe that was hard to crack. I think it is primarily because she does not have a recipe. It's simple as that...but makes it complicated for me.
What can go wrong?
Ok, now let's talk about Ripe plantain fritters popularly known as pazham pori! What can go wrong with this? If you have made pazham pori and always ended up with a batch that is too oily, not crispy on the edges, not sweet enough, has no colour and makes you feel guilty for frying and wasting, then let me assure you my recipe will give you the best result.
Having had her pazham pori all the time, I thought I can replicate it in my kitchen but I was wrong. The first time I made this was a disaster. I followed some recipes online that asked for sugar and baking soda! I hate to waste the ripe plantains that are like exotic fruit here, hardly available and that too not of good quality. So, I made it a point to learn and watch my mom make pazham pori when I went home.
Pazham Pori or Ethekka Pori or Nenthranpazham porichathu all translates to Banana Fry - which is not right term. But you will find a ton of websites calling this "Kerala Banana Fritters" which I honestly believe is misleading.
No baking soda or sugar
What I was not correct about (there is no wrong way) was adding sugar and baking powder. You don't need either to make pazham pori my mom's way.
If you add sugar, the fritters turn darker while deep frying even before the plantain starts to get cooked. The ripe plantain will lend sweetness and gets caramelised while frying so there is no need for sugar in the batter.
Secondly, baking powder or baking soda is not required because it will cause the batter to separate from the plantain making the fritters puff up.
So let me share our home recipe sans sugar and baking soda/powder!
- Flour: I have used all-purpose flour aka maida or plain flour. I have tested these with a mix of whole wheat flour. You will need to adjust the water as per the flour used.
- Cardamom powder: This is just to add flavour to the batter.
- Nigella seeds: This is optional but highly recommended.
- Turmeric powder: This is better than adding food colour. You won't get to taste it.
- Plantain: Make sure to use ripe plantains that you can easily slice without making a mess. Too ripe is not ideal for deep frying.
- Salt for the batter
How to prevent oily batch?
- Don't use overripe plantains
- Don't make the batter too loose
- Don't fry on low flame
How to make it sweet without adding sugar?
The sweetness comes from the ripe plantains that get caramelized. Adding sugar to the batter will suppress the flavours of the plantain. Use a good sweet ripe plantain so the fritters are also sweet.
How to make crispy fritters?
Add rice flour for the crispy quotient and fry on a medium flame until you can see the bits of plantain caramelising. Don't forget to turn the fritters so that they are evenly cooked and fried.
How to add colour?
A pinch of turmeric gives these fritters a yellow hue which is more appetizing but it is optional.
Just in case you have some more batter left and no more plantains to fry, then use it to make date fritters. Just remove the seed and dip it in the batter and deep fry while the oil is hot.
Now that you are here, why don't you check another plantain recipe - my favourite food that I can eat every day - Pan-roasted ripe plantain with eggs?
Mom's Ripe Plantain Fritters
For the batter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour you may use half wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon rice flour
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds optional, but recommended
- 1 pinch cardamom powder
- 1 pinch turmeric powder optional
- ¾ to 1 cup water more or less depending on the flour quality to make a thick batter
- salt to taste
- 2 medium-sized ripe plantain just-ripe but not too ripe
- Oil to deep fry eg. sunflower oil
- Mix all the ingredients of the batter to make a smooth lump-less not too thick batter. When you dunk a slice of ripe plantain, the batter should stay coated.
- Trim both ends of the plantains, cut in half, peel the skin and start slicing each half lengthwise a little less than a ¼ inch. (not too thin)
- Heat the oil in a thick bottomed deep pot. Test the readiness of the oil by dropping a small drop of batter. if it sizzles and comes on top then it is ready to fry.
- Pick one slice from one end of it and dip it into the batter on both sides ensuring it is evenly coated. Pull out and carefully slide into the hot oil.
- Deep fry on a medium flame until both sides turn golden and you can see some spots caramelized.
- Serve hot with a hot cup of tea!
- You can use wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour or make it half plain and half wheat.
- Avoid overripe bananas, they tend to suck all the oil and get too mushy