Maruya: What is it and Where Did it Come From?

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Maruya banana fritter is a common Filipino dish made with saba bananas.

The bananas are cut or fanned into thin slices, and the slices are then coated with batter and fried. Once fully fried, the fritters are then sprinkled with or rolled in white sugar and served. 

As you travel throughout the Philippines, you’ll find different variations of the dish with slightly different ingredients. For example, in the Muslim regions, you’ll find latunda bananas used instead of saba bananas. 

In other regions, people use potatoes and dessert bananas instead of plantains. Not to mention, you’ll hear different names for each dish variation. 

The only thing that remains the same among all is the serving method. Maruya is traditionally served alone, without any side dishes. However, if you want to go a little out of the box and make the experience more enjoyable, try accompanying the fritters with ice cream or syrup-preserved jackfruit. 

Maruya fritters (full recipe here) are served and eaten on a lot of different occasions. Some like to eat it to kill their 10 am hunger, while others eat it as a small snack on their commutes. You can also request the sellers to cut the maruya in different shapes if you want. 

What is maruya

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Origin

Though maruya fritters are said to be from the Philipines, it’s difficult to miss their similarities with banana dishes originating from Latin America and the Caribbean. It’s also very likely that this Filipino street staple might not be “entirely” Filipino at all, and perhaps, might be inspired by a Spanish dish. 

Two things direct our thoughts that way. First, both regions mentioned above used to be Spanish colonies, along with the Philippines. Moreover, both regions (along with the Philippine) have foods deeply influenced by Spanish cuisine. 

In this case, it becomes especially apparent when we look at dishes like tostones, a fritters dish with the same preparation method but different and spicier ingredients. To conclude, it’s possible that maruya fritters are influenced by tostones and are most likely a sweet spinoff of the dish invented by the locals. 

However, since we have really little recorded history of the dish, it’s very difficult to say where exactly it came from. But it’s safe to say it has Filipino origins.

Exploring the Different Variants of Maruya

If you’re a fan of sweet potatoes, then this variant of Maruya is perfect for you. Instead of using regular potatoes, this version uses mashed sweet potatoes mixed with sugar, egg, and flour to create a batter. The preparation is similar to the regular Maruya, but the end result is a little firmer and sweeter. You can choose to slice the sweet potato into thin portions or mash it up to create a solid batter. This version is a popular snack in local merienda spots and is usually sold on the street.

Banana Maruya

This variant is also known as Banana Fritters and is a special type of Maruya that uses ripe bananas. The bananas are sliced into thin portions and then dipped into a batter made of flour, sugar, egg, and baking powder. The sliced bananas are then deep-fried until they turn golden brown. Once cooked, they are sprinkled with sugar and served with various toppings like chocolate, caramel, or whipped cream. This version is a common snack in the Philippines and is usually sold in local merienda spots or at home.

Ube Maruya

Ube Maruya is a new variant of Maruya that uses purple yam or ube. The preparation is similar to the regular Maruya, but the batter contains mashed ube mixed with sugar, egg, and flour. The end result is a little sweeter and has a distinct purple color. This version is a popular snack in the Philippines and is usually sold in local merienda spots or at home.

Tips for Making Maruya Variants

  • Depending on the type of Maruya you’re making, you can choose to slice the potatoes or bananas into thin portions or mash them up to create a solid batter.
  • To prevent the Maruya from going dark, leave a little bit of the attached skin on the potatoes or bananas when cutting them.
  • When mixing the batter, make sure it’s not too wet or too dry. The consistency should be just right to create a firm and crispy Maruya.
  • Use a sharp knife when cutting the potatoes or bananas to create thin and even portions.
  • Heat the oil before frying the Maruya to prevent it from getting too greasy.
  • Once cooked, place the Maruya on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

Tips for Perfecting Your Maruya Recipe

  • Use ripe bananas or plantains for the best taste and texture. Unripe ones will not have the same sweetness and will be too firm to mash.
  • Mash the bananas until they are smooth with no large solids remaining. This will ensure that the batter is smooth and consistent.
  • Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and granulated sugar) in a medium bowl before adding them to the wet mixture. This will ensure that they are evenly incorporated.
  • Use fresh eggs for the best results. Old eggs may not mix as well and can affect the final texture of the maruya.
  • When adding the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, pour it slowly and mix gently. Overmixing can result in tough and chewy fritters.
  • Let the batter rest for a few minutes before cooking. This will allow the baking powder to activate and create a fluffier texture.

Cooking

  • Heat the oil to the right temperature before frying. Too low, and the maruya will absorb excess oil and be greasy. Too high, and they will brown too quickly on the outside while remaining raw on the inside.
  • Use a medium-sized scoop or a tablespoon to drop the batter into the hot oil. This will ensure that the maruya are all the same size and cook evenly.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan. Leave enough space between the fritters to allow them to cook properly.
  • Wait for the maruya to turn golden brown on one side before flipping them. This will prevent them from falling apart in the oil.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the maruya from the oil and let them drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Flavor and Presentation

  • Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the batter for a sweet and fragrant flavor.
  • Roll the maruya in a mixture of white sugar and cinnamon while they are still warm for a sweet and spicy coating.
  • Serve the maruya with a side of whipped cream or ice cream for a decadent dessert.
  • For a quick and easy snack, shape the batter into small fritters and fry until golden brown. These bite-sized treats are perfect for sharing.

Remember, making maruya is an easy and fun cooking experience. With these tips, you’ll be able to create delicious and perfectly fried fritters that everyone will love.

What to Pair with Maruya?

Maruya is a classic Filipino snack that is often sold in small parts in the market. It is a simple snack that is made by coating sliced bananas in batter and fried until crispy. It is then dusted with sugar or cinnamon and served hot. Here are some classic pairings that you can try with your maruya:

  • Maple syrup: Drizzle some maple syrup over your maruya for a sweet and milky flavor.
  • Vanilla ice cream: Scoop a generous amount of vanilla ice cream on top of your maruya for a creamy and delicious treat.
  • Chocolate chips: Sprinkle some chocolate chips over your maruya for a crunchy and chocolatey twist.
  • Condensed milk: Drizzle some condensed milk over your maruya for a sweet and citrusy flavor.
  • Cocoa powder: Dust some cocoa powder over your maruya for a rich and chocolatey taste.

Flexible Pairings

Maruya is a very flexible snack that can be served with different toppings and sauces. Here are some serving suggestions that you can try:

  • Caramel sauce: Drizzle some caramel sauce over your maruya for a sweet and sticky treat.
  • Spice mix: Coat your maruya with a spice mix for a savory and crispy snack.
  • Chunky saba: Top your maruya with chunky saba for a fruity and refreshing taste.
  • Citrusy syrup: Drizzle some citrusy syrup over your maruya for a tangy and sweet flavor.
  • Flavored syrups: Try different flavored syrups like strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry for a fruity and delicious twist.

Keeping Maruya Fresh: Tips and Tricks

When it comes to storing Maruya, the goal is to prevent it from becoming soggy and to keep it crispy and fresh for as long as possible. Here are some tips to help you store Maruya the right way:

Preparing Maruya for Storage

Before you store your Maruya, it’s important to prepare it properly. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Cut your Maruya into small pieces, about the size of a small cup.
  • Check that your Maruya is firm and not too low in nutrition.
  • Set your Maruya on a table and let it cool down to room temperature before storing it.

How to Reheat Maruya

If your Maruya has become cold and you want to warm it up, here’s what you need to do:

  • Preheat your pan on medium heat.
  • Add a tsp of milk to your Maruya batter to make it freshly prepared.
  • Coat your Maruya with the batter and fry it for 2-3 minutes until it’s crispy and warm.

Remember, the key to keeping Maruya fresh is to store it properly. Whether you choose to store it in the fridge or freezer, make sure to follow the tips above to keep your Maruya crispy and delicious for as long as possible.

Maruya: A Delicious and Healthy Choice for Your Diet

Maruya is a popular Filipino snack made from sliced bananas coated in batter and fried until golden and crisp. While it is often described as a sweet and indulgent treat, it is actually a surprisingly healthy choice for your diet. Here are some reasons why:

  • Maruya is made from fresh bananas, which are a great source of nutrition. Bananas are rich in vitamins and minerals, including potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.
  • The batter used to coat the bananas is typically made with flour, sugar, and milk. While these ingredients may sound unhealthy, they are used in small amounts and can be easily adjusted to make the recipe healthier. For example, you can use whole wheat flour instead of white flour, and reduce the amount of sugar and milk in the batter.
  • Maruya is usually fried in oil, but you can also bake it for a healthier option. Baking instead of frying can reduce the fat content of the snack and make it a better choice for your overall health.
  • Maruya is a quick and easy snack to make, which makes it a great choice for busy people who want to eat something healthy and delicious on the go.

How to Make Maruya a Healthy Snack Choice

If you want to enjoy maruya as a healthy snack, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Use ripe but firm bananas, such as saba or chunky bananas, instead of overripe ones. Overripe bananas are sweeter and softer, which can make the batter too wet and the maruya too mushy.
  • Use a light coating of batter instead of a thick one. This will help reduce the amount of sugar and fat in the snack.
  • Instead of using white flour, try using whole wheat flour or a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flour. This will add more fiber to the snack and make it more filling.
  • Use a non-stick pan or a baking sheet to cook the maruya instead of deep-frying it. This will help reduce the amount of oil used and make the snack healthier.
  • Add extra flavor to the batter by using vanilla extract or cinnamon. This will give the maruya a delicious aroma and taste without adding extra sugar or fat.

Conclusion

So there you have it- everything you need to know about Maruya. It’s a delicious Filipino snack made with potatoes or bananas, and it’s perfect for a snack or a dessert. You can’t go wrong with Maruya, so go ahead and give it a try!

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.