Pazham Pori – Sweet Plantain Fritters

Sweet Nedrapazham or plantain fritters
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These rectangular fritters are made with ripe plantains.  It has a thin crunchy crust giving away to sweet and soft plantain as you bit into it.  Pretty easy to make and darn delicious to boot!

Sweet Nedrapazham  or plantain  fritters

Prazam pori is the sweet plantain fritter popular in parts of South India, especially Kerala. These rectangular treats are typically served as an evening snack. The thin crunchy crust gives away to a melt in the mouth soft and sweet plantain filling.

Treats made with bananas are popular all over the tropics – and wherever else you can find bananas. For many in the west, banana refers to one fruit, the yellow long one which comes in bunches, the Cavendish variety. In south India, this particular variety is not held in high regard. We have more flavorful varieties, the fingerlings, apple bananas, red, pisang, and then there are plantains.

In Kerala, plantains are more popular than bananas. These are known as ‘Nendran pazham’ or ‘Ethappazham’. The raw ones are used to make a variety of dishes like – avial, erisseri, and of course the plantain chips. When these become overripe it finds itself in desserts like – pradhaman or ada (steamed rice cakes with various fillings) or fritters.

Plantains and Bananas

Plantains are starchier than their banana cousins and hold up well to cooking. If you make this dish with the popular Cavendish bananas, the fritter will end up with a runny inside. I would consider myself lucky, or extremely talented, if the fritter holds its shape in that case. Anyway, the point is that it ruins the whole textural experience.

In other Asian countries sturdier varieties of bananas are used to make fritters – but the Kerala ethappazam porichathu or pazam pori or ethakka appam is always made with ripe (preferably overripe) plantains.

Back to pazham pori – choose your plantains wisely. My dad, fil, uncles and to some extend DH are good at choosing the plantains. They ask for the ‘nadan’ variety – which simply translates to local. These are a little petite compared to the the commercially farmed ones and are usually grown organically. There is a detectable tastes difference. But out here I just get the one that the store has on hand.

Ripe plantain slices

You look for the yellow ones that are turning black – almost all black is great too, unless it is already mushy. If it is plain yellow you wait for it to turn brown and watch it to progress to black. Now here is a caveat, if the plantain was harvested before it was mature, it ends up being dry and chalky instead of turning sweet and tender.

Making Pazham Pori or Ethakka Appam

 Batter up

Many modern recipes call for batter made with all-purpose flour, aka maida. Maida was (still is) a rarity in my mom’s kitchen 30 years back. In her words it is good for is “to make a goo with absolutely no nutritional value”. But she and my gran ( their grans as well) used to make to die for pazham pori. It used to be crisp, with good fruit to batter ratio (I am channeling my inner tempura master here). In fact, the crust is similar to tempura crust – not gummy, not fluffy but with just the right amount to a crispy crunch.

I make it with mostly rice flour (some times all rice ). A little AP flour is added as a binder. You could use corn flour or potato flour or even a little cooked rice flour as binders as well. These are all good options when looking for a gluten free version.

There was no need for food coloring or turmeric powder (!). The bananas were ripe, the batter clear and thin, you get all the color you need right there, naturally!

If that is not enough for you, or if you like a thicker coating of batter then some added color might be the answer. Whether it is turmeric or tartrazine is entirely up to you.

Pazham Pori or Ripe Plantain Fritters served with hot cardamom chai

 This was one of those afterschool snacks that got stolen most in our mess hall. So yes you might still find me swatting the little hands trying to steal mommy’s share. What can I say, a year or two of living in a residential school run by nuns can lead to ‘food insecurities’ – that is my story and I am sticking to it 😉 .

Off to have mine with a hot cup of cardamom chai.

If you are ever in Kerala – try these from any of the myriad tea stalls found there. Or ask your home stay host.

Pazham Pori
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
 
Deep fried ripe plantain fritters are a popular evening snack in Kerala. These are golden and crispy on the outside and sweet and soft on the inside.
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6
Author: Syama
Ingredients
  • 2 or 3 Plantains Ripe
  • 1 C Rice Flour
  • ¼ C AP Flour / Maida Notes
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • 2 Green Cardamom 1/4 Tsp Crushed
  • 2- 3 Tbsp Sugar Notes
  • 1 Pinch Turmeric Powder optional
  • 1 1/2 C Water As needed
  • Oil To Fry
Instructions
  1. Mix the flours, salt, sugar, and turmeric (if using) together. Add enough water to make a medium thick batter. Mix well so that it is lump free. Sprinkle the powdered cardamom on top and mix in.

  2. Peel and slice the plantains into about ¼ inch thick pieces.

  3. Heat enough oil in a thick bottomed frying pan to deep fry the fritters (at least 1-inch depth of oil). When it is hot (around 350F) add a drop of batter to the oil. If it sizzles and floats to top the oil is hot enough. If it burns, turn off the heat and let the oil cool a little before proceeding. If it stays at the bottom wait for the oil to heat up a little more.

  4. Dip the sliced plantains in the batter. Let the excess batter drain from the pieces and drop the pieces into the hot oil. Keep the heat at medium. As the edges turn crisp flip the fritter and fry until the fritters are golden on both sides. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towels.

  5. Repeat with the remaining pieces.

  6. Best served warm.

Recipe Notes
  • AP flour is added as a binder – 2 tbsp is enough in this recipe.
  • A good  replacement for AP Flour is corn starch/ tapioca starch or mix in ground cooked rice.
  • Use ripe preferably over ripe  plantains in this  recipe
If you try this recipe, I would  love  to hear  about it ! Leave a COMMENT, RATING , share a photo and TAG me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, OR PINTEREST 

 

Tips

  • Slice the plantains into pieces ¼ to 1/3 of an inch thick. And coat them in the batter just before dropping into the oil.
  • Keep the oil hot – not so hot that it is smoking, but just enough so that the fritters sizzle as then touch the oil. When it is ready for frying the oil shimmers. This is the stage when the hot oil from the bottom is moving up and there is circular motion going on. If you let it stay at this heat for long all the oil gets heated to a point where it can not hold any more heat and begins to burn. The take away is Shimmer – GOOD Smoke – BAD {Shimmer too long} à {Smoke} àBAAAAAAADDDD
  • The batter is vegan, so you can safely store it in the fridge for a couple of days if needed.
  • Plantain fritters can be frozen as well, though fresh is definitely better.

Leftover batter?

Mix in more Ap flour and a pinch of baking soda to make into a thick batter. Drop into the oil by the spoonful – just like Undan Pori.

Pazham Pori - or Ethakka Appam - Sweet Plantain Fritters from Kerala

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