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Banana Cue

Banana cue is a typical street food classic which you’d find in the markets around the Philippines, typically on skewers and fried with brown sugar. It’s typically eaten as a mid-afternoon snack or dessert with a refreshing drink to wash it down with. On the market stalls you might find banana cue sat alongside turon (deep fried banana wrapped in a spring roll wrapper with jack fruit) and kamotecue (another skewer but with sweet potatoes and brown sugar). The sugar Gene uses is jaggery which is a cane sugar from across Southeast Asia, Africa and India with a deep, caramel flavour.

Time: 10 mins (prep), 20 mins (cook)

Serves: 4 people

Equipment: 1x wok, 1x large spoon, 1x chefs knife, 1x tongs


  • 250g sugar (Gene uses jaggery)
  • 4 pcs whole saging na saba / plantains (cut to 4–6-inch size)
  • 800 ml cooking oil
  • ¼ tsp salt


Step 1

To a deep pan or wok add your cooking oil and gradually bring it to a high heat.

Step 2

When the oil becomes hot, add the peeled plantains into the oil. Keep them moving until they turn a little bit golden and begin to cook/soften.

Step 3

Now, gradually put in the sugar and salt, adjust the heat to medium-low and continue cooking until the melted sugar coats the bananas. We need to keep gently stirring the bananas so that it can get coated with the sugar easily.

Step 4

Remove the cooked bananas one-by-one and place onto a plate. We can also immediately skewer them with large bamboo skewers.

Step 5

Let cool then serve.

Gene's Notes

Step 1

Saba are Philippine plantains measuring 4-6 inches.

Use plantains that are semi ripe. This will help us cook them at a high temperature and help them keep their shape.

To deep fry safely at home have a read of our guide - https://www.joinrassa.com/articles/fry-at-home

Step 2

Peeling plantains

  1. Use a knife to trim the end.
  2. Using the tip, score down the length of the plantain without cutting into the flesh.
  3. Using your fingers, peel from the cut you made and remove the skin.

Let the plantains turn golden before adding the sugar.

You can also see this recipe when I take you around the food stalls in Manila.

Step 3

The sugar will fall to the bottom of the pan and then as it starts to melt we will be able to coat the plantains with the melted sugar (it is like a thick gravy).

Brown sugar may be used but will produce a darker glazing.

Be patient at this stage. We want it to cook gently and get a nice colour on the sugar.

Step 4

As this is a market or street food dish, it is typically served skewered so it can be eaten on the go.

Step 5

If you can wait for it to cool, please do but I just couldn’t resist!

Allow the oil to fully cool before disposing of it.

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I'm here to share my love for Filipino food with the world. I'm also the founder and president of the Center for Asian Culinary Studies.