Everything I know about Elvis Presley, I learned from The Honky Tonk Man. Which is to say, I don’t really know anything about Elvis Presley. Spending many of my formative years watching professional wrestling has somewhat skewed my world view. It turns out that Elvis didn’t really like smashing his guitar over people’s heads. Who knew?
Anyways, what I do know about Elvis is that the guy had a serious addiction to peanut butter and banana sandwiches (among other things). Elvis loved PB&Bs so much that the sandwich has become something of a cult dish over the years.
Although spreading peanut butter and mashed bananas on white bread, and then frying the whole mess–grilled cheese-style–in butter sounds incredibly satisfying to me, I’ve never actually had a peanut butter and banana sandwich. But I’ve concocted something that may be just as good, if not better, than a PB&B:
An Ube and Saba Banana Sandwich!
Elvis was a hero to most,
But he never ate saba bananas
I got the idea for the Ube and Saba Banana Sandwich one morning when I was enjoying some toast spread with Halayang Ube–a sweet spread made from Filipino purple yams (it’s also the same stuff I put in my Homemade Ube Pop Tarts).
As I was eating my ube toast with some coffee, I glanced over at my kitchen counter where I had some Filipino Saba Bananas laying around. And then I thought, “Hey, I could make one of them Elvis sandwich things with Ube and Saba!”.
This Saba is Bananas.
Saba Bananas are a little different than the normal Cavendish variety widely available in supermarkets. Sabas are native to Southeast Asia, perhaps originating in the Philippines. Saba Bananas can be eaten fresh or cooked, and are the choice bananas for Filipino desserts like Turon and banana-cue (another post for another time). Saba bananas are also the main ingredient in the ubiquitous Filipino condiment Banana Ketchup.
Cavendish on the left, Saba on the right
Saba bananas can be found in most Asian markets and are usually labeled as “Saba” or “Burro” bananas. Saba bananas have a thick skin, and are shorter and more stout when compared to regular bananas. When ripe, Saba bananas are just as sweet as regular bananas, but are a bit more starchy. However, Saba bananas are not as starchy as plantains. Do not substitute plantains for Saba Bananas–they are completely different beasts! In a pinch, regular bananas can be subbed for Sabas.
My Ube and Saba Banana Sandwich is constructed in pretty much the same was as a peanut butter and banana sandwich–but I actually fry my banana slices first before putting them in the sandwich (simple fried Saba Bananas are a Filipino comfort food).
Fried Saba Bananas
After frying the bananas, I spread some Halayang Ube on a couple slices of white bread, then laid the caramelized banana slices onto the ube-spread bread, then spread the outside of the sandwich with butter.
Butter on the outside, Ube and Saba on the inside
After a quick fry in a hot skillet, you’ve got yourself one hell of a sandwich. The subtly sweet ube, warm caramelized saba bananas, and buttery crisp bread make for a wonderful dessert or late night snack.
If Elvis Presley were Filipino, he definitely would have loved Ube and Saba Banana Sandwiches. That, and his mother would have called him Elbis.
The Filipino Elvis Sandwich
AKA “The Elbis”
AKA Ube and Saba Banana Sandwich
Makes 1 Sandwich
3 Tablespoons butter
1 ripe Saba banana, cut lengthwise in 1/4-inch thick slices
2 slices white bread
2 Tablespoons Halayang Ube (Filipino purple yam spread, found at Filipino markets)
3 Tablespoons Butter
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place the sliced bananas into the skillet and fry until golden brown on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Spread the Halayang Ube evenly on both pieces of bread. Place the fried banana slices on one of the slices, then place the other slice on the bananas to form a sandwich. Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter evenly on both sides of the sandwich.
Fry the sandwich in a skillet over medium-high heat until both sides of the sandwich are golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side.