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Pisang Berangan Bananas
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Pisang Berangans are small to medium-sized bananas, averaging 10 to 18 centimeters in length, and have an angular, straight to slightly curved, oblong shape. The fruits grow in upright bunches, and each bunch contains between 12 to 20 bananas. The peel is smooth, ripening from green to yellow when mature, and as the peel continues to age, it may develop a slight orange hue with black spots and markings. Underneath the semi-thick peel, the ivory to cream-colored flesh is firm with a somewhat starchy, dense consistency, softening as it ripens. Pisang Berangans are best consumed when fully ripe and bear a unique sweet and sour, tropical flavor with subtle acidity.
Pisang Berangans are available year-round in Malaysia.
Pisang Berangans, botanically classified as Musa paradisiaca, are a Malaysian banana variety belonging to the Musaceae family. The semi-sweet banana is one of the most popular varieties in Malaysia, primarily consumed as a dessert cultivar, and is also known as Ang Bak Chio in Hokkien, a language traditionally from China that is also spoken in Singapore. In combination with the cavendish banana, Pisang Berangans account for approximately half of the banana plants grown and produced in Malaysia. In the modern-day, the well-known variety has recently been struggling against diseases such as fusarium wilt. The Malaysian government is closely partnering with scientists to breed new hybrid varieties from some of Malaysia’s most famous banana cultivars, including Pisang Berangans, in an effort to maintain consistent production for local use and international export.
Pisang Berangans are a good source of potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, fiber to stimulate the digestive tract, and vitamin C to strengthen the immune system while reducing inflammation. The bananas are also a source of folic acid to assist in creating new red blood cells and contain lower amounts of magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.
Pisang Berangans have a balanced, sweet and sour flavor well suited for both fresh and cooked applications such as frying and baking. The bananas are primarily consumed straight, out-of-hand as a snack or dessert, or the flesh can be sliced and used as a topping for banana splits. Pisang Berangans can also be blended into smoothies and used to flavor ice cream. Beyond fresh applications, Pisang Berangans are frequently sliced and fried, known as pisang goreng, and are sold as popular street food in Malaysia. The banana variety holds its shape well after cooking and develops a crisp exterior with a soft interior. Pisang goreng is often consumed as an afternoon snack or dessert, and new variations of the dish include grated cheese, sprinkles, or chocolate sauce as a topping over the fried bananas. Pisang Berangans can also be caramelized in butter, baked into banana cakes, muffins, and cupcakes, or mixed into banana cheesecakes. Pisang Berangans pair well with dark and milk chocolate, nuts such as pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and pecans, and fruits such as strawberries, oranges, mangoes, and pineapples.
In the town of Puchong, Malaysia, Pisang Berangans were one of the local varieties used in the first-ever Banana Cook-Off Competition sponsored by 1010 Grocer. The weekend event was held in December 2020 at the Hilton Garden Hotel in Puchong. Cook-off participants each had their own cooking station to showcase their best banana dish, and some of the featured dishes included banana pancakes, fried bananas, banana puddings, and banana egg rolls. During the event, there was also an all-you-can-eat banana competition where participants ate as many bananas as they could within three minutes using a fork and knife. Winners of the two contests received gift baskets from 1010 Grocer, and the event was created to bring awareness of the fresh banana varieties that are transported from local farms to the store in Puchong.
Pisang Berangans are believed to be native to West Malaysia and have been growing wild since ancient times. While much of the variety’s history is unknown due to lack of historical records, Pisang Berangans are one of the most cultivated cultivars in Malaysia, grown in the banana producing regions of Sarawak, Johor, and Pahang. Today Pisang Berangans are found through local markets and grocers throughout Malaysia and are grown in home gardens. The variety is also exported to the Middle East, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Recipes that include Pisang Berangan Bananas. One is easiest, three is harder.