FIRST FRUIT FRIDAY: SABA Banana

It’s a fruit, a vegetable, a carb.

It’s breakfast, dessert and a dip.

No one thing can be all that, right?

Here in the Philippines, the Saba is.

The Saba, also called Cardaba, is a hybrid fruit and owes its characteristics from banana species native in Southeast Asia.

As a plantain, it is usually cooked before consumed but is still edible raw. It’s the main ingredient for a number of snacks and desserts, such as the banana-que (fried bananas caramelized in sugar), turon/lumpiyang saging (deep-fried banana wrapped in spring roll wrapper) and dangdang-que (grilled banana slathered with margarine and sugar).

Slightly ripe bananas are perfect for Dangdang-que

It’s also the specie of banana that is used in making Banana Ketchup, a condiment that is known world-wide as a Filipino innovation. Sometimes, it’s incorporated in viands and its puso (literally means heart) is even a vegetable dish all on its own paired with rice.

Puso ng Saging
(Heart of a Banana)

Boiled Saba is also a great alternative for rice. It provides the same nutritional value as a potato would and is perfect at any time of the day. it’s usually paired with Lawlaw (the fermented fish dip we wrote about here:
https://whatinthephilippines.com/2019/03/29/bagoong-and-bahong-and-lawlaw-oh-my/). The briny protein gives the banana’s starchy sweet center a boost, a combination that’s worth a try or two.

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