Everything is Better Fried
Good evening, and welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Night Bytes! Thanks to work and school, I really had to work to squeeze this one in, so apologies that it’s a bit shorter than usual. I’m still steadily making my way through The Unofficial Legend of Zelda Cookbook by Aimee Wood, and this week’s menu is: Fried Bananas and Monster Rice Balls.
“Children love fried mighty bananas. The trick is frying them over very high heat.” – In-game description from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
In BotW, Fried Bananas can be made by cooking Mighty Bananas, Tabantha Wheat, and Cane Sugar. When consumed, they’ll restore a number of Link’s hearts. The real-life recipe honestly wasn’t that far off. You basically make a thin pancake batter out of flour, water, cinnamon, brown sugar, and a few other spices. Simply dip your bananas in the batter, and shallow-fry in a little oil in a pan. Wonderfully simple.
By some quirk, my local grocery store was out of bananas, but they did have a ton of baby bananas. Since I’ve never actually tried them before, I thought, hey, what the heck, might as well kill two birds with one stone. Did you know baby bananas are delicious? I say this as a person who doesn’t particularly love bananas (there’s something about the texture, and lord help me if one of those stringy bits ends up in my mouth). It’s like they somehow concentrated all that banana flavor into one mini banana. Delightful!
In my experience, most things fried are delicious. And these Fried Bananas are certainly no exception. Crispy on the outside, soft-but-not-mooshy on the inside. Not too sweet, either. And the spices really add some oomph to the banana. It’s almost like you wrapped a banana in a thin pancake and fried it. I’ll definitely be making these for breakfast one of these weekends. They cook up in minutes, and require minimal prepping. The only thing I would change about these little delights is adding more cinnamon than the recipe calls for. Though, to be fair, I always want more cinnamon.
The Husband’s Opinion: “It’s crunchy, chewy, gooey, and it’s delicious. It’s like these sweet little bananas have been wrapped in a deep-fried crepe. I have like, zero complaints about this. It’s really good.”
Final Verdict: 5/5 Golden Tri-Forks
Monster Rice Balls
“Rice balls flavored with monster extract. Their unique aroma is not for everyone.” In-game description from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
In BotW, you can make Monster Rice Balls by cooking Monster Extract, Hylian Rice, and Rock Salt. When consumed by Link, he’ll regain some heart containers. The real-life recipe is pretty simple too. Simply melt down some peanut butter and honey in a saucepan, and mix in some purple food coloring. Take the resulting goop and mix it in with rice cereal.
Fun fact: purple food coloring and peanut butter do not like one another. Had this been the traditional rice crispy treat with marshmallows, I’m sure the purple color would have been wonderfully vibrant. Unfortunately, I ended up using probably a third of a bottle of food dye, and I still got this unpleasantly murky purple. Well, brownish purple. Brurple? That’s about as unpleasant a word as it is a color.
These Monster Rice Balls were also much more difficult to assemble than a traditional rice crispy treat. The honey-peanut-butter-dye slurry mixed great with the rice cereal, but the resulting mixture didn’t want to stick to itself. I ended up having to shape the “onigiri” flat on some tin foil so it wouldn’t stick to the plate. Then it had to go into the fridge to chill and hopefully hold together. Which it… sort of did. I let them get nice and cold before pulling them out of the fridge for the final decoration. The recipe calls for fruit leather to imitate the nori, but, well, that didn’t work out great, either. It didn’t want to stick, and I couldn’t find one that was quite the right color.
To make matters worse, the treats absolutely did not want to remain together once they began to warm up. Just the heat of my hands was enough to get them falling apart all over again. It was incredibly challenging just to get the not-so-great pictures that I managed to snag (though my phone had some very sticky fingerprints after). Thankfully, they taste much better than they look. The peanut butter is delicious, and mixes so well with the honey. But these babies are rich. I wouldn’t recommend eating more than half of one.
The Husband’s Opinion: “It’s just a modified rice crispy treat. The peanut butter has a really nice kick, which helps mellow out the honey. But with both the peanut butter and the honey, it’s pretty rich. It’s an interesting take on a classic.”
Final Verdict: 3/5 Golden Tri-Forks
Well, that’s it for this week’s Friday Night Bytes! If there’s a particular video game food you’d like me to attempt, please give me a shout! I’d love to hear suggestions from y’all!