How often are we left with a bunch of rapidly ripening bananas hanging from a hook in the kitchen? You look on in dismay knowing that by the next day, it would have tipped over its ‘use by’ date and you know you won’t be able to finish them on time.

But dangerously ripe bananas are great for baking. They are sweeter, and infuse the baked product with plenty of flavour. (A bonus is that you don’t need to use that much sugar either.) That’s when I like to make Jempur Pisang, a traditional ‘kueh’, or dessert which has its roots in Malay cuisine.

Jempur Pisang is incredibly easy to make and brings back nostalgic images of a simpler life in the kampongs (rural villages) of old Singapore. Housewives in the 1950s and ’60s liked to serve it as a mid-afternoon snack or for tea parties. They make a great addition to school lunchboxes, for any dessert or if you’re feeling adventurous, you could try to use them in place of profiteroles in a croquembouche.

Jempur Pisang (or Banana Puffs)

About 2 dozen

150 g self-raising flour
3 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
A pinch of salt
2-3 very ripe bananas, mashed (preferably *pisang raja though any ripe sweet banana would be fine)
50 ml water
Oil for deep frying

• Combine flour, sugar, egg, salt and bananas in a bowl and mix well.
• Add in the water, a little at time, to form a moderately stiff (but still pour-able) batter.
• Heat oil until hot, then carefully drop tablespoons of the batter in and deep fry until golden.
• They float when they are cooked. (They continue to brown for a little while after they are removed from the heat so lift them from the oil a little before they take on the brown hue.) Drain on kitchen towels and serve as is, or dust with some powdered sugar.

*Pisang raja is a banana variety in Southeast Asia. The name is Malay, meaning literally ‘banana king’. Despite the grandiose imagery, these bananas are really petite little things, but stupendously sweet. These are my favourite.


9 thoughts on “The Saturday Kitchen – What to do with dangerously ripe bananas?

    1. Hi Spring Tomorrow. Thanks for dropping by & leaving a comment. 🙂 Glad to link up with a fellow Singaporean. I am based in Singapore (see my About page) too. These are not goreng pisang but jempur pisang, actually. Goreng pisang coats the banana in batter, but jempur pisang uses mashed bananas mixed with flour etc. Both are deep fried. The flavours are similar but these are two different recipes. 🙂 I love both kinds too.
      BTW I popped into your blog too. Love your recipes, and am tempted to try a few too.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This was a great recipe. My mother makes something similar, Italian version, made with rice instead of bananas. She would make the Italian rice balls on a Sunday morning. They are sweet and kind of like a donut hole. THANK YOU for sharing. It’s wonderful to have favorite traditions.

    You can see website for Italian recipes:
    Frittelle di riso, fried rice fritters, are a Tuscan tradition for St. Joseph’s day, March 19. Across Tuscany you’ll find numerous festivals being held on this day to celebrate Italy’s “father’s day”.

    frittelle di riso

    1 liter milk (about 4 cups)
    150 gr. white rice
    pinch of salt
    3 eggs
    50 gr. sugar
    grated orange peel, from 1 orange
    1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
    oil for frying
    powdered sugar
    In a sauce, heat up the milk, rice and salt. Cook until the rice softens and begins to fall apart; if you need to, add more milk during this time. Remove from heat and let the cooked rice cool down, even better if you cover it and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
    In large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, orange peel and flour. Add the cooked rice and mix well. With your hands form small balls and set aside. Heat your frying oil up, then fry the balls until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels, then sprinkle powdered sugar on top.
    Buon appetito!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi BrilliantViewpoint.
      Thanks for sharing this recipe. It’s very similar, and I’ll certainly try this. I love the interaction going on here. It’s interesting to see how some ideas are universal…battering something, deep-frying and turning it into something delicious.


What did you think?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.