The story goes that homesick American GI’s stationed in the Philippines wanted a replacement for their bottles of ketchup back home. Food scientist Maria Orosa decided to replace the tomatoes with a fruit that was far easier to come by in the tropics, and Banana ketchup was born. Orosa’s main drive came from a desire to help the Philippines become less dependent on foods imported from foreign countries. Budgie’s recipe for banana ketchup fried chicken is the perfect nod to Maria’s legacy and appreciation for Jollibee - the Filipino fast food chain which managed to beat McDonald’s in capturing the local market and is famous for its hand-breaded fried chicken.
Deep frying - Budgie will cover the basics of safely batch frying, and double frying to achieve perfectly crisp and tender results
Banana ketchup - understanding the base of this classic sauce, balancing the elements of acidity, sweetness and consistency
Pulutan - learning about the culture of street food small plates in the Philippines
1x large chopping board, 1x chef's knife, 1x blender/food processor, 3x mixing bowls , 2x heavy-based pan, 1x spatular, 1x whisk, 2x large baking trays, 1x jar, 1x thermometer, 1x wire rack, 1x tongs, 1x spider strainer, 1x timer
Prep and marinate your chicken for up to 6 hours or over night (see step 4).
Time: 2 hours + 6 hours marination/over night (prep), 20 mins (cook)
Let's first crack on with making our banana ketchup. Peel the skin of the ginger with a teaspoon. Next, remove the woody stem from your garlic and then use the side of your knife to press lightly and remove the skin. Chop your ginger roughly and then place into your mixer along with the garlic.
Move onto you white onions, peeling and roughly chopping. Add to the processor along with some oil and blend into a fine puree. It will become a white cream colour after about 30 seconds. Decant into a clean bowl and set to one side.
Clean down your board before moving onto the bananas.
Break up your bananas straight into your food processor and then pour your vinegar over the top and then blend to a puree. Decant into a clean mixing bowl and repeat across the rest of your bananas and vinegar. Now both of our purees should be done and that will be the base of our banana ketchup.
Moving over to your hob, heat a heavy based pan to a medium heat and pour in the puree of ginger, garlic and onion. Continue to stir keeping it moving around the pan evaporating the moisture away from the puree and thickening it. Once thickened it should also start to brown as the sugars start to colour the onion.
Reduce the heat on your pan and then add your tomato paste - cook it out a little bit removing the rawness of the tomatoes. Add in your spices and toast them gently in the oil for 30 seconds. Next, add your banana-vinegar puree to the pan, stir in the soy sauce and then the light brown sugar. Switching to a whisk, whisk your banana ketchup to remove any lumps from the sugar and then we need to leave this to simmer to a ketchup-y consistency.
So as our banana ketchup is finishing off, slowly on the hob, let's work on our chicken wings. We're going to joint them into 3. Firstly, remove the tip of the wing by cutting through the joint and then do the same for the drum (check my steps). Now, repeat across all your chicken wings and then place into a large mixing bowl.
Now we are going to create a brine. Sprinkle some dry garlic and white pepper over the chicken, give it a good mix and then pour over the soy sauce and vinegar. Place in your fridge for 4-6 hours or over night.
Now, go grab your brined chicken wings from the fridge and then into a clean bowl let's make our coating for our beautiful chicken wings.
Add the potato starch into the bowl with a touch of salt, garlic powder and a touch of pepper (no sneezing!) and then mix your dry ingredients with a fork or whisk.
Now, in one hand (which you'll only use for wet), grab a piece of chicken, remove some of the excess brine and then place straight into the dry mix. Toss your brined chicken coating it thoroughly in the starch. Pat off any of the excess dry mixture and place to one side in your tray. Repeat across all your pieces of chicken, cover and then set to one side for an hour.
Have a good clean down removing all the bowls, cleaning your surfaces and equipment before moving onto the next step.
Move back over to your stove and check on your ketchup. It should have thickened up nicely and the texture should have moved closer to what you'd expect. Decant into a clean container or jar, cover and set to one side until later.
Now let's set up the fryer, into a really heavy pan add your neutral oil, fill up to half way and heat gradually to a temperature of 160°C/320°F - 180°C/356°F. While it's heating, grab your chicken and set up a tray nearby with a wire rack placed over the top. Separate your drums and your flats in your tray.
Let's slowly drop a few pieces of chicken into our hot oil, starting with your flats. They should roughly take 3 minutes (set a timer if needed) and give them a little move or shake to stop them sticking (continue to agitate them from time to time). Using your strainer remove the flats onto the tray leaving to cool before our second fry.
Now move onto the drums, add them into your oil and cook for 5 minutes. We need to keep these moving much like our flats. Leave to cook before removing and placing on the tray and rack.
Quickly remove any excess bits of batter from the oil and then increase the heat of your flame to bring the oil to roughly 190°C/374°F - 200°C/392°F and then add your chicken back into the pan.
While they cook for another 3 - 4 minutes, grab your banana ketchup and a clean mixing bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons of your banana ketchup to the mixing bowl and then once your chicken is cooked, place them straight into your bowl. Toss the wings immediately coating them in your ketchup (doesn't it sound incredible!).
Now with the wings all coated, let's plate them up. Stack them high on your plate with a small bowl for more of the ketchup and then garnish with some fresh coriander and finish with sesame seeds.
Use a spoon when peeling your ginger - it will really minimise your wastage and it's a lot easier and safer than using a knife.
By now you should definitely be used to peeling and chopping lots of garlic!
We chop the ginger down to make it easier to blend up - fibrous ginger strands can make it difficult to blend.
Don't worry too much about scraping the food processor, you'll capture all the leftover juices when blending the bananas and vinegar.
When blending the bananas and vinegar, feel free to work in batches if you need to as it's essential we get an even puree.
A great way to use up banana peels is to make them into plant-based bacon rashers - take a quick look at my method below.
We won't need to add any oil into our pan with the puree as we added oil before we processed it earlier.
Coconut vinegar is made using the sap of the coconut blossom, which is then fermented. This fermentation creates acetic acid, giving it its gloriously tangy taste. An ‘all-natural’ product, coconut vinegar is great for nurturing your gut's microbiome, largely because it is such a rich source of probiotics.
Once you see the water evaporate, you'll notice a couple of things. Oil will start to seep out into the pan and secondly the change in cooking method - we will be going from a boil to frying.
Similarly to other dishes on the course, we are using sugar as a preservation method. This ancient technique has been used for hundreds of years in the Philippines. Your banana ketchup will keep for extended periods of time due to the high level of sugar making it an inhospitable environment for bacteria to grow in.
Read all about the wonders of banana ketchup here - www.joinrassa.com/articles/banana-ketchup-the-origin-story
How to break down a chicken wing:
We aren't using the tips of the wings for our recipe today but they are perfect for going into your broths/stocks. Just brown them in a pan with some oil (or an oven), and then add in some roughly chopped veg and water.
Although not a traditional brine (salt water solution) the principle remains the same with the soy sauce.
A traditional method from parts of Europe that has spread across the world. Its a technique of submerging in a liquid containing 3%-6% salt by weight, for up to a couple of days. The salt will initially disrupt the structure of the muscle structure.
Try and avoid the dreaded white pepper sneezes!
One of the most important refined starches - it was the first refined starch that really became important commercially. Potato starch is an unusual grain, the granules are very large which gives the starch a thickening quality far greater than any other.
A good technique when coating your chicken, keep one hand dry and one hand wet to keep mess to a minimum.
Take your time when coating the chicken, really squeeze it on as the better your chicken is covered the more crispy it will be.
This is a simple step which you can also do well in advance. Coat your chicken and then leave in the fridge for a day. This will harden up the crust of the coating and also give it a chance to soak up any excess soy sauce.
Your ketchup won't be exactly the same consistency as you are used to - it will be slightly looser but will still have a thick, ketchup like feel to it.
We want to use a more neutral oil like vegetable as they tend to have a high smoking point and then also don't impart any flavour into your food.
Read our article on how to deep fry at home safely! https://www.joinrassa.com/articles/fry-at-home
What the rack will do is allow the chicken to cool evenly, keep it crispy with the even air circulation and also allow any oil to drain away.
We need to fry our two pieces of chicken separately as they have different cooking times. The drums are going to take longer to cook so make sure you cook them together.
Remember to work in batches as overcrowding your pan will make it harder to manage and cook perfectly.
We want to increase the heat for the second fry to add even more texture to our chicken - bring the temperature of your oil up to 200°C/392°F. The double fry allows us to maintain the crispiness of the fried chicken and then also have the sweet and moorish ketchup covering the wings. Add more ketchup if needed.
Enjoy this with a cold beer!