What went wrong?
Long before I knew the meaning of the term and long before it became the name of a chain of clothing stores, I never realized the pleasures of living in a banana republic.
Make that, a many-kind-of-banana republic, with different varieties of bananas widely available.
In our household, we preferred the variety called "lakatan," a smaller, yellower, sweeter version versus "latundan," long-ish, large-ish with a whiter flesh.
If I'm not mistaken (and please correct me if I am), the "latundan" is similar, if not the same, variety as what is sold here in North America, the Cavendish.
Now that there's the hegemony of the Cavendish, I find myself yearning for other bananas, but not having any remedy, we've had to make do. In fact, my godmother now makes her "turon" (banana spring rolls) with these regular bananas instead of "saba," which is another banana-like fruit that used to be quite prominent on our table.
Going through the produce aisles of our Asian supermarket one day, I saw that they had what has been labelled as "burro," which looked similar to "saba."
I immediately thought of one of my favourite snacks, "minatamis na saba," which is just saba boiled in a light sugar syrup. I used to eat it with crushed ice and some milk, possibly evaropated milk, poured on top. I was getting excited about the possibility but had to contain myself.
After all, I should be a tad wary, because I remember way, way back, being newly landed in a strange land, the one time we craved for "minatamis na saba," we ended up with something quite awful. My mother must have bought what looked like "saba" and cooked it -- but it wasn't the same fruit at all and we just couldn't eat the "minatamis na ewan" (boiled who-knows-what-fruit in sugar syrup).
Which is to say, this "Nenita" might be a ringer. . .
So, we forged ahead, boiling these burro bananas in water sweetened with a little bit of brown sugar.
We seem to remember that saba needs to be boiled for quite a while, so we cooked ours in the slow-cooker. After a long while, we checked and were quite surprised and taken aback to discover that the bananas had taken on a reddish hue!
Whoa! What's with the color!? I remember that boiled saba is actually a brown color. We were very puzzled.
As for the taste, the bananas themselves didn't seem to have sweetened at all after cooking in the light syrup. I tried to salvage it by adding condensed milk, but the bananas themselves were quite disappointing.
What went wrong?
I mean, is there more to minatamis na saba that we don't know about?
A mystery, this.
eatingclub vancouver Filipino food
Boiled Saba (Burro Banana) with Condensed Milk
Caribbean "Fish n' (Banana) Chips"
Turon (Philippine Banana Spring Roll)
Minatamis na Saba (Philippine Boiled Saba Banana)