I’m getting more and more enamored of the idea of throwing together meat (or seafood), vegetables and fruits in one dish. I love the play of colors, I love the diversity in textures, I love the interplay of flavors. It also means hearty dishes with only a fraction of the meat we’ve been so used to eating for as long as I can remember.
This dish of pork, string beans and saba bananas is subtly sweet and hot. It has very little sauce but meat, veggies and fruit are all moist from their natural juices and the drizzle of honey. You can change the proportion of the ingredients, use more sitaw or bananas or pork, whichever way you prefer it.
For best results, use saba bananas that aren’t too ripe and soft so that the slices retain their shape after flash frying. For those with no access to saba bananas, plantain can be safely substituted.
- 2 cups cooking oil for flash frying
- 6 saba bananas each cut into 4 to 6 slices
- 300 grams boiled cooked pork cut into fingers
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 bunch yard-long beans (sitaw), cut into two-inch lengths (2 to 3 c. after cutting)
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 3 to 4 tablespoons honey
- toasted sesame seeds black or white, or a combination (see how to toast in a pan), to garnish
Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan until fine wisps of smoke start to appear. You’re going to flash fry the saba bananas and pork so better start with what flash frying is.
Flash fry the saba bananas until lightly browned. Scoop out and set aside.
Flash fry the pork until golden. Scoop out and set aside.
Pour off the oil leaving only about two tablespoonfuls in the pan.
Saute the onion, garlic and chili flakes until fragrant.
Add the sitaw and sauté for about 30 minutes. Return the pork to the pan. Sprinkle in salt and pepper. Pour in a couple of tablespoonfuls of water to create steam in which the sitaw will cook. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. The mixture will be almost dry at this point. Taste a piece of sitaw; add more salt and pepper, if needed.
Add the banana slices. Toss. Drizzle in the honey. Toss to coat everything with honey. Cook just until the banana slices are heated through.
Transfer the contents of the pan to a platter. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve hot.