GINATAANG SABA


Philippine Cooking Bananas

I got this idea from a Sri Lankan dish which they generally make for those who are recovering from illnesses because the chilli level is considerably lower. When I tried it, it reminded me so much of the squash and sitaw guinataans my mom made when I was a kid. It's amazing how much the saba tastes like squash when made like this!

Note: Guinataan - anything cooked in gata or coconut milk. Saba are Philippine cooking bananas mainly used for sweets and a few vegetable and meat stews. Plantains can be substituted. - Ken

4 - 5 unripe (very green!) bananas or 2-3 (very green) plaintains
1 tsp salt
1/4 c oil (can cut down on this)
2 c coconut milk
3-5 cloves of garlic (to your taste), chopped finely
1 small onion, finely sliced
2 fresh chillis, sliced (optional)
2 tsp dried shrimp, soaking in 2 tsp hot water (omit if vegan)
1/2 c sili leaves (or other greens that might go with this,
like spinach, for example)
salt and pepper, to taste
Peel the bananas or plaintains, cut them in half cross-ways, and then in slices or quarters lenthwise (to whatever size you wish). Rub them with the salt.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and then fry the slices a few at a time, until they are golden brown. Drain on paper towels (or in a collander) and set aside.
Heat ~1 tblsp (or so) of oil, then fry the garlic, onion (and chilli if using) for about a minute or so, then add the cocounut milk (and dried shrimp in its soaking water). Simmer for around 5-10 minutes. Add the fried bananas and the leaves and simmer until the gravy is thick. Adjust the saltiness and pepper levels to your taste. Serve over rice.
For an interesting taste, try using coconut oil as a medium of cooking (not for frying the bananas though). Even though it might be more unhealthy, it does give a nice flavour to the food.


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