I first had this in a Chinese restaurant in the UK. It is a classic, my favorite Chinese dessert, and some restaurants will use a combination of apples and bananas. This is just as delicious with canned jackfruit for a Southeast Asian twist, but bananas are my favorite.
3 ripe bananas, plus 1 extra banana, sliced, to serve
41/2 oz dark brown sugar
2 tbsps of white sesame seeds
Vanilla ice cream, to serve
41/2 oz self-rising flour
2 eggs, beaten
Pinch of salt
For the Batter: Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the beaten eggs, then gradually add 2 tbsps of water and mix together into a batter. Add the salt and leave to stand for a few minutes.
For the Fritters: Place a wok over high heat and add the peanut oil. Heat the oil to 350degreesF, or until a cube of bread dropped in turns golden brown in 15 seconds and floats to the surface.
Peel the bananas, removing any strings from the fruit, and break each one into about 4 pieces. Dip the banana pieces one by one into the batter and then add to the hot oil. Fry for 3-4 minutes or until the pieces turn golden and float to the surface of the oil, then carefully remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
While the banana fritters are draining, heat a small wok or skillet over medium heat and add the sugar. As the sugar starts to turn to liquid, quickly add the fritters and coat well in the caramelized sugar. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds as you turn the fritters in the pan: they will become toasted as they hit the hot sugar.
Remove the toffee fritters from the pan and dip them quickly in a bowl of iced water, then place on individual plates. Decorate with the banana slices and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Take care not to overheat the sugar or it will taste burned, so keep the heat on medium-low when you are making the toffee coating for the fritters.
Reprinted with permission from Ching's Everyday Easy Chinese: More Than 100 Quick & Healthy Chinese Recipes by Ching-He Huang, copyright (c) 2011. Published by William Morrow Cookbooks.