Hope you’ve had a good weekend and welcome to another instalment of Malaysian Monday.
Introducing Cekodok or Cucur Kodok (Cucur = fritter, Kodok = toad). Toad fritters!? Don’t worry, no toads were harmed in the making of today’s episode.
The name probably comes from the lumpy, bumpy appearance of the fritter. Other names include Jemput Pisang (Banana Greeting).
The main ingredients of Cekodok are bananas, sugar and flour. The simplicity of this fritter means it’s easy to whip up a batch when visitors come a-calling, which may have given rise to the Jemput-jemput name (just my thoughts so don’t quote me on this!).
In Malaysia, one can buy Cekodok and its more famous cousin Goreng Pisang (Banana Fritters), from street vendors. However, the cekodok bought from these stalls can sometimes be a little disappointing as the ratio of flour to banana is too high -resulting in a tough little ball of dough.
Mum wouldn’t let us buy cekodok very often though , “because they use rotten bananas”. Technically the bananas are not rotten but the best fruit to use are ones that have over-ripened so much that the skins have turned an unsightly shade of dark brown/black. Using these bananas result in a much sweeter fritter.
Of course, there is no hope of bananas ever getting to that stage in our household, so we start with just-ripe bananas.
Cekodok are usually meant to be quite spherical, but mine are flat thanks to a modified cooking technique. The fritters are usually cooked in huge amounts of hot oil so they float. To reduce the amount of oil, I’ve cooked them shallowly in a non-stick frypan – they don’t quite look the same but taste just as good.
Unfortunately, there are no ratings today because Mr. Kitchen Hand cannot face bananas in any form (he thinks he may have had a bad experience with something banana flavoured during childhood).
The cekodok has a slightly crisp outer layer, but is still a little chewy on the inside. It tastes of bananas of course, but cooked banana has a wonderful mellow caramel flavour.
There’s not a really a hard and fast recipe for cekodok because it all depends on how many bananas you start with and individual taste preferences dictate the amount of flour and sugar used. I’ve even seen recipes which include grated coconut or egg.
Here’s how I made mine, feel free to remix it your way.
(Makes about 12 small fritters)
2 ripe bananas (I used sugar bananas)
2 tablespoons sugar – adjust to taste (I like the flavour of brown sugar, so I used that instead)
2 tablespoons wheat flour (adjust if necessary)
¼ teaspoon baking powder
In a bowl, mash the bananas well using the back of a fork. Mix in the sugar and stir thoroughly until the sugar dissolves. Add the flour a spoonful at a time and stir until incorporated (add more flour if a thicker, spongier fritter is preferred). Then add the baking poowder and stir well. The batter should be just stiff enough to be dropped from a spoon – a bit like a thick drop scone (girdle scone) batter. Or if you’ve ever made ricotta fritters, that’s the sort of consistency we’re looking for.
Deep fry, turning often to get an even colour. Or shallow fry as I did, turn when bubbles appear on the surface. Drain on plenty of kitchen paper. Serve warm.