In the Western world, dessert is the apogee of a meal, the course that everyone eagerly waits for. In China, however, things are a little different; desserts do not feature so prominently in meals. Chinese culture calls for a healthier ending to a meal, favouring fresh fruits as an after dinner treat, but this doesn't mean there is a total absence of sweet dishes. Instead, a sweet tooth is indulged between meals, especially when entertaining or celebrating special occasions. There are a few reasons why fancy desserts do not hold a long tradition in Chinese food culture – the lack of refrigerators made it difficult to store food. Ovens are also rare in Chinese kitchens, which is why recipes often call for cakes to be steamed rather than baked.
However, a few Chinese desserts have caught on in the West.
Batter-covered bananas a very popular treat in China, deep-fried and drizzled with a syrup glaze. Some recipes call for a double deep-fry which gives this sweet treat a richer flavour. Here is my take on the Chinese-style banana fritters.