Banana Chips Technolgy, Including Root Crops

The main material for making banana chips is raw saba banana. Ripe has increased sugar which makes the middle of slices go brown before the entire slice turn crispy. It also has lower starch and higher moisture content which makes cooking difficult. I think turning it to crisp is impossible.

Any cooking banana can be made into chips. Eating bananas are not. Saba are cooking bananas while latundan, lakatan and cavendish are eating bananas. Want to know their differences aside from the very obvious shape? In both ripe conditions, cooking bananas hold it shape during boiling while eating bananas do not. The latter become saggy.

Because it is made of raw banana, many producers add commercially available banana flavor. It’s a bit odd but true. Buy some properly labeled chips there and you will see… I felt nostalgic about the training I conducted. The seminar organizer asked me why my cooking tasted like raw banana. My answer was obvious. No need to mention.  Additional flavoring prevents this cases from occurring.

Use separate oil batches for first and second frying. The latter absorbs sugars which burns in subsequent use. Both oil batches maybe cleaned for several use by allowing sugar crystals and broken chips settle to bottom and decanting after.

If you feel the cassava you are working with is too hard, stop and discard them away. They are probably past harvest maturity and might contain considerable amount cyanogen, a paralytic compound.

Be aware of potatoes with green peels. The green substance is called solanin. It is poisonous. Scrape the green part off and the rest can be used safely.

Procedure:

1) Prepare syrup by mixing one kg sugar with one liter water. Boil for 30 minutes. Cool. Adjust sweetness intensity by adding or lessening sugar quantity. Use refractometer for better accuracy.
2) Select bananas. Wash it thoroughly until all the adhering dirt are removed.
3) Peel by cutting both ends, making a single longitudinal slit and lifting the skin off with knife. It is tricky and hard at first but you’ll get used to it eventually.
4) Place in basin of water to prevent browning and wash off latex.
5) Slice uniformly. Thickness should be 1/16 inch. Use a guided knife, a manual slicer or a machine slicer capable of high speed work.
6) Heat the cooking oil up to 270°F. In absence of candy thermometer, monitor by placing a slice in oil, it is ready when rapid bubbling appears on sides. Cook for 15 minutes or until crispy. Remove from oil and cool.
7) Soak in syrup for 3 minutes. Drain. Store remaining syrup and use for next batches.
8) Cooked in oil (270°F) for 5 to 10 minutes. Separate sticking pieces.
9) Remove from oil. Place on manila paper or clean towel to drain off excess oil. Turn to facilitate draining.
10) Pack in PP bags or other suitable containers.

Sugar Free?

Skip steps 7-9 and you have it. You may sprinkle powdered flavorings instead. Like barbecue, cheese and chili.

Taro/Gabi, Cassava/Kamoteng Kahoy and Potato Chips?

The same slicing and frying procedure apply. However, pay close attention to frying time as they get cooked in seconds and burnt easily. Jollibee and McDonalds french fries cooking trick is awesome for this. The specially made frying strainer allow quick dipping in and removal from hot oil. If you’re a fan of these two fast-food chain then you already seen how it works.

Using Coconut Husk to Roast Taro Corms

The traditional way to cook cassava, sweet potato and taro. Roast it inside burning coconut husk.

1) Get a large and matured coconut. Take off the husk. Set aside the coconut for later use. Save all the husks. It will be used to cook taro corms.

coconut husk taro corms

2) Get taro corms. Fit them inside the assembled coconut husk. Do not overfill, fill one if the corm is large, fit more if there is ample of space left.

3) Take out the corms. Ignite the husk by pointing a burning paper against it. Again, arrange the corms inside and close it immediately.

taro corms in burning coconut husk

Do this step with extra caution. Dry coconut husk is very flammable. Use fire proof gloves or tongs to prevent skin burns. Carry out the operation in an open area. It produces a large flame and considerable amount of smoke when the flame when off. It might be good for smoking fish tinapa.

smoking coconut husk

4) The coconut husk burns for approximately 20 minutes and leaves charcoals, ashes and the roasted corms. Let it cool for about 15 minutes before touching.

roasted taro coconut ashes

5) Peel off the burnt and toasted skin. It is hard, removing definitely need the aid of sharp knife. Peel it carefully and prevent the black coal from going to yummy cooked flesh.

peeling off toasted burnt skin

6) Enjoy!

Traditional taro taste, slight feeling of itchiness, kick of smoke flavor plus the dryness that makes me want to drink water with every bite. I did drink a lot after eating. Extreme heat have evaporated too much moisture and  infused some smoke flavor. Perhaps the flavor of burning coconut husk.

How to Make Sweetened Suman Taro/Gabi

I did try the cassava suman procedure for making the taro version. The sugar and grated taro mixture was too fluid that it was flowing out of banana wrapper. I devised a procedure with a slight modification.

Here it goes…

1) Get taro corms. Avoid corms with grown shoots or cut apex. Corms with apex removed probably had grown shoots too. Those are not recommended for cooking purposes.

2) Wash to remove adhering soils and dirt. Peel off the skin and immediately soak in water to remove latex and prevent browning.

3) Grate on stainless steel grater. Weigh. Mix one part sugar for every two parts grated gabi. Adjust ratio according to taste preference.

4) modification comes here: Place the mixture in pan over a low heat. Stir continuously until a jam consistency is attained.

5) Get banana leaves, should be young, whole or with few teared parts. Softened it by heating gently over flame. Cut to desired sizes.

6) Wrap portions in banana leaves. Scoop out mixture. Place on banana leaf. Roll. Then fold all four sides to close.

7) Arrange neatly in casserole. Half fill with water. Place weight on top to prevent bulging of banana wraps. Boil for 30 minutes or until done.

Boiling suman directly in boiling water never did well. Taro gelatinization was slow that it allowed water to break through. Only the superficial layer was hardened. The inner part remained soft due to water absorption.

Corrections made:

Proceed to step “5 & 6” after step “3”. Arrange in a double boiler and steam for 30 minutes.

Or

After step “3”, place the mixture in llanera and steam for 30 minutes or until a consistency similar to taro cake is achieved.  Proceed to step “5 and onward”. In step “7”, 15 minutes boiling is enough.

————

As suggested by dennis. Thanks to you friend!

Marvin,

Glad that you like the Taro Cake (suman na Gabi). I noticed that you only steamed it for only 30 minutes.And you did not put coconut cream (gata sa niyog). I would assume for the short steaming is your time constraint. hehehe. Antok na. This would make your taro cake more delicious and have a longer shelf life if a longer cooking/steaming has been done.

To eliminate the fluid in making the taro cake, you can do either the following:

1) after grating, place the grated taro in a clean cloth and squeeze most of the liquid (slimy fluid) or

2) sun dry it for several hours.(I would like to try total sundrying to attain the powder form – for purposes of storing). Maybe you can experiment on it too Marvin and post the end result.

In this way you eliminate most if not all the liquid or moisture content of the grated taro.

Best to use as sweetener is granulated sugar. But also good to use coco honey/syrup for diabetic individuals, though, you will not attain the consistency of dryness in wrapping.

Again, you can try it some other time at balitaan mo ako.

Thanks,

Dennis

The Taro/Gabi Cake

Dennis told me, a suman made of taro tastes good. I tried figuring out how it’s made. Maybe a procedure similar to regular rice cake or a method of cassava suman.

Cassava suman. A piece of nilaib banana leaf is rolled to form a tube. The tube is then held vertically. Bottom end is closed by folding. Filled with a mixture of grated cassava and sugar. Again, the top is closed by folding the leaf. Several filled tubes are arranged in  a cooking vessel. Half filled with water then boiled until cooked.

nilaib – pass over a flame shortly to give a soft texture.

I decided to follow the cassava suman. I guessed it was more appropriate cause they are both root crop. Peeled gabi and washed it thoroughly. Added 250 grams sugar in 560 grams grated taro. Sugar was added gradually until it reached the acceptable sweetness. It was acceptable at 250 grams. Mixed it thoroughly and tried the above mentioned cassava suman procedure.

While packing, I noticed the solution was too fluid. It was oozing out from banana leaves. Adding cornstarch absorbs some water and gives a dough like consistency. Partially cooking it in pan might also solved it. Starch will undergo slight gelatinization giving more solid texture. However, it was getting late and I was getting sleepy. Instead, I transferred the mixture in llanera and steamed it for 30 minutes.

taro cake

It was great. The original taro taste, sweet and slightly milky.

Tips to prevent browning reaction:

Peel the taro thicker. Browning reaction was more intense on outer part near the peel.

Refrigerate before grating. Cold temperature seems slowing down the reaction.

Grate fast and mix sugar immediately.

How to Make Taro/Gabi Chips

I used the white gabi/taro variety for making this chip. Two taro varieties are available here, white and pink. The pink (we call it red actually) has pink flesh and shade of the same color on base of stalks. The white variety has a clean white flesh and a regular green stalks.  White plant grows much taller than pink.

I have never eaten any taro chips before conducting this procedure.

How to…

1) Gather taro corms. Discard any with grown shoots or cut apex. Corms with grown shoots are not meant for cooking. Those with cut apex probably had grown shoots and merchants want to hide its true status.

2) Wash with water to remove adhering dirts. Taro came from underground. Sure it has adhering soil particles.

3) Remove peels with a vegetable peeler or a guided knife. The latex oozes out then the surface turns brown. Dip in water often to prevent this.

taro gabi latex brown flesh

4) Using the same tool for peeling, slice it thinly and uniformly. Thin to facilitate fast cooking and uniform to achieve even fry.

5) Soak in water immediately to prevent browning reaction. Do the peeling above the water bath so the slices fall in.

6) Wash the slices in several changes of water to remove latex. I did wash mine five times.

7) Drain off water through a strainer. Tap the strainer several times to remove as much water possible.

8) Fry in oil over medium heat until the slices became curled and light yellow to light brown. Remove from oil and place on clean towel or paper to remove excess oil.

9) Sprinkle powdered flavor if desired. The plain taro flavor and crispy texture are enough for me. No need to add additional powder.

white taro gabi chips

Getting Some Taro Corms

Taro or Gabi. We literally call it gabi even if its popular name is taro. I was too naive that I discovered it just a while ago.

I went to father’s farm to get some taro. It was not easy cause father has abandoned taro farming. The crop demand was so low that a half sack only cost 30 pesos.

Taro farming has been abandoned but I was sure I can still find some. The plant grows easily even in poorly irrigated area. Uprooted corm can still grow and multiply as long as its side is touching the soil.

A large taro corm. Too bad I was not looking for this one. Gabi with grown stalks and leaves is not harvested for human consumption. Papa and big brother said, boiling in water will not make it soft. Same is true with pressure cooking, broiling and frying.

uprooted taro corms

A large taro plant is uprooted by pulling the stalks. Young corms are attached to it or left underground. Dig the soil carefully to get the remaining.

gabi corm

I managed to get about three kilograms. I guessed it was enough. Besides, there were no more plants big enough for uprooting.

gabi taro plant corms

What we do with taro.

1) Boiled gabi. Our very popular merienda when we were still young. Wash young corms to remove dirts. Boil in enough water until soft. Remove the skin then eat. However, we preferred broiled cassava and boiled camote. We were gathering gabi whenever the two were not available.

2) Mashed taro. Mashed it and mixed with sugar to mask the effect of itchy substance – never know the specific name yet.

3) Vegetable dish ingredient.  It serves as meat extender and gives the soup a viscous texture.