There is one particular variety though that caught my attention right from the start. They call it “Seeni Kesel” which means sweet banana. Just like the regular bananas this is commonly eaten raw as dessert after a meal or snack in between meals. But what makes this banana quite interesting to me is that it has the taste and texture of the Philippine “Saba” or what is known in the US and Europe as Musa Saba. Although smaller in size and more rounded in shape like the Philippine “Latundan” it’s basically “Saba” with an added bonus of extra sweetness making it even perfect for cooking.
I have regularly cooked them boiled (“laga”), fried (“prito”), cooked in coconut cream (“ginataan”), “turon”, banana que, used in pork stew (“linagang baboy”), “balbacua” and of course, very often, sweetened banana (“minatamis na saging”).
You only need a few ingredients to prepare this simple yet so satisfying dessert. For about 15 pcs of bananas (1 ½ kilos) I use ½ cup of sugar (yes that’s enough, this banana is sweeter, remember?), 1 screwpine leaf (“pandan”), 1 tbsp butter, a pinch of salt and of course about ¾ cup water.
In a thick pan, put the water and let it boil. Add the bananas (cut in half), followed by the sugar, salt, butter and finally “pandan” leaf. Don’t mix, cover the pan and let it simmering on low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes.
When the liquid is reduced and sugar & butter starts to caramelize give it a gentle mix. Increase your fire to medium and continue slowly mixing until golden brown. Don’t worry if you will char some bananas a little bit, that will make it even better.