Banana Cue (Filipino Fried Caramelized Bananas)

March 31, 2021

Filipino

By: Jasmine Briones 

If you’ve never had banana cue, you are in for a treat! This popular Filipino street food is made from fried saba bananas coated in caramelized brown sugar. It is pretty easy to make and will satisfy any sweet tooth!

a photo of caramelized bananas on barbecue sticks laying on a banana leaf

The name banana cue (or bananacue) simply comes from the combination of the words banana and barbecue. Although these are not cooked in the same manner that barbecue is (marinated and grilled), their similarity in appearance and use of skewers to serve is what brings in that term.

Banana cue is made with Saba bananas, which is one of the most popular banana varieties in the Philippines, where it originates. These bananas are primarily a cooking banana, but you can also eat them raw if you’d like as well!

a photo of caramelized bananas on barbecue sticks laying on a banana leaf

For banana cue, the Saba bananas are fried in caramelized brown sugar and then are usually skewered onto a bamboo stick for ease of enjoyment, although that step is not necessary. Banana cue is usually consumed as a mid-afternoon snack or as a dessert.

Here is what you will need:

  • Saba Bananas: We find our Saba bananas at our local Asian or Filipino Markets. If you can’t find it fresh, you can opt for frozen as well. Opt to use bananas that are not too ripe, as the banana cue will be mushy.
  • Brown Sugar: We used light brown sugar here, but muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar would work as well.  To ensure that your sugar is vegan, you can opt for an organic variety.
  • Oil: We like to fry in canola oil as it has a high smoke point, is cheap, and has a neutral flavor.

A few notes:

  • We have tried this recipe with both fresh and frozen Saba bananas, and both have worked well.
  • Suppose you can’t find Saba bananas, Plantains, Burro bananas, or Thai Bananas can be used in their place. We suggest halving the plantains for ease of cooking since they are usually much longer than Saba.
  • The bamboo skewers are unnecessary, so if you don’t have any, you can eat the banana cue with your hands or utensils.
a photo of caramelized bananas on barbecue sticks laying on a banana leaf

If you’re looking for more veganized Filipino recipes, we’ve got you covered:

a photo of caramelized bananas on barbecue sticks laying on a banana leaf

Make sure you tag us on Instagram @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris and hashtag #sweetsimplevegan if you recreate any of our recipes; we love to see your photos!

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a photo of caramelized bananas on barbecue sticks laying on a banana leaf

Banana Cue (Filipino Fried Caramelized Bananas)


  • Author: Jasmine @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

If you’ve never had banana cue, you are in for a treat! This popular Filipino street food is made from fried saba bananas coated in caramelized brown sugar. It’s pretty easy to make and will satisfy any sweet tooth! 


Ingredients

  • 1 bunch saba bananas (about 7-10; see notes)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • Canola oil

Equipment

  • Pan or wok, for frying
  • Optional: bamboo skewers, for serving
  • Cooling rack or clean plate
  • Heat safe tongs

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 1/2 to 2 inches of oil in a pan or wok on medium-low heat. You don’t want too much oil, just enough to cover about half of the banana. 
  2. Gently peel bananas but keep them whole. Set aside.
  3. Once the oil is warm, liberally sprinkle in half of brown sugar and wait until the sugar starts to caramelize.
  4. Carefully add the bananas into the hot oil on top of the caramelized brown sugar and begin to fry. After about a minute, start turning the bananas. Sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top of the bananas and in the surrounding oil and fry for about a minute more. Turn again continue with this process until you have added all of the brown sugar. Then, continue to turn every minute or two, so that they fry evenly. The goal here is to cook the bananas until they are golden and completely coated in the caramel. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your bananas, but ours usually take about 8-10 minutes total.
  5. Once finished, shake off any excess oil and place the banana cue onto a clean plate or cooling rack to cool. You can stand them up in a colander to drain a bit as well. We suggest not placing it on paper towels as it may stick.
  6. Once it is cool enough to eat and handle, you can eat them as is or skewer 1-2 of them onto some barbecue sticks. Dig in and enjoy! 

Notes

  • Saba Bananas: We find our Saba bananas at our local asian or Filipino Markets. If you can’t find it fresh, you can opt for frozen as well. Plantains, Burro bananas, Thai Bananas also work well here! Plantains are usually much longer so we suggest halving them lengthwise for ease of cooking. Lastly, avoid using overripe bananas or the end result will be mushy, Also keep in mind that larger bananas may take longer to cook. 
  • Brown Sugar: We used light brown sugar here but muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar would work as well. To ensure that your sugar is vegan, you can opt for an organic variety. If your bananas are large, add a bit more sugar.
  • Oil: We like to fry in canola oil as it has a high smoke point, is cheap, and has a neutral flavor.
  • The bamboo skewers are not necessary. If you don’t have any, you can eat the banana cue with your hands or with utensils on a plate. 
  • Category: Dessert, Snack
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Filipino

Keywords: banana, banana cue, fried bananas, caramel, vegan, filipino, snack, dessert

Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links. This simply means that we earn a commission if you make a purchase through those links, but the price on your end remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!

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