Foodies, who love all things epicurean, know that there are a lot of plantain recipes that can give us a taste of the tropics. This food is cooked quite often in the Caribbean and many tourists usually encounter it at breakfast time, while on vacation.
It is one of the most prepared staples, which can be consumed at breakfast, lunch or dinner. The ripe version is sweet and can be mashed and seasoned just the way you like it.
If you are one such vacationer that wishes to relive munching on sweet breakfast treats, or just an islander trying to expand your plantain recipe cache, continue reading.
Today we will explore a number of amazing plantain dishes that you have to try.
Let’s Learn More about the Plantain
To settle the initial question of whether the plantain is a fruit or vegetable, the answer is that it is a fruit. It is similar to the banana.
According to the Plantain Council, the plantain is otherwise known as “the Musa paradisiacal. It is a tall plant, which can grow from around 10 to 33 feet high. It has a cone-shaped false trunk, which is formed by the leaf sheaths of its spirally arranged leaves.
The fruit, which is green, is typically larger than and closely related to the common banana (Musa sapientum). The edible fruit of the plantain contains more starch, than the banana, and it is not eaten raw. The plant is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia.”
Where is the Plantain Grown?
This fruit is commonly grown in tropical regions that are located close to the Equator. The five top plantain producing countries include:
Plantain Dishes and Recipes
You will find that the plant grows easily in locations that are moisture rich. So if you travel to Caribbean countries a bit closer to home, it is served aplenty.
If you are thinking, well, how is it served? Then there is a not so simple answer for that question. People prepare plantains differently and yet there are two main ways. Countries such as Jamaica, Panama, Trinidad, Haiti, Cuba, Dominica and the Dominican Republic have it fried, boiled or as a porridge.
The people of Nigeria usually prepare this food with palm oil or groundnut oil when it is roasted. It is called boli. But you can also have it fried or boiled there as well.
1. Guatemalan Rellenitos De Platano
Guatemalans prepare it similarly too. But they have a special “rellenitos de platano.”
For this recipe, they use both boiled and mashed plantain combined with a savory sweetened black beans. Later, they fry the mixture in sunflower oil. This is truly a sumptuous dish.
2. The Islander’s Boiled Ripe Plantains
This is perhaps the simplest way to prepare plantains. It is quick and efficient also.
Take a ripe plantain and wash it at the tap. Remove the two ends, by cutting it away. Then cut it in small portions, according to your preference. Do not remove the skin. Place it in a pot of boiling water, for upwards of 20 minutes until fully cooked.
Once it is cooked, remove the ripe plantains from the water. Place in a container, until you are ready to consume it. In Jamaica, the island people have this with other boiled foods including dumplings, green bananas, chocho, yellow yam, sweet and Irish potato.
Then it is added as a side item, to any vegetable or meat dish that you prefer. Traditionally that can be chicken, stew beef, stew pork, stew peas with pigtail, curry goat, stew fish and anything else you desire.
3. Jamaican Fried Ripe and Green Plantains
Another common breakfast item is fried ripe or green plantains. In this way, many Caribbean people have it with bread, eggs, sausage or bacon, for breakfast. Sometimes it is eaten in a bread sandwich with fried eggs, sausage or bacon.
Plantains are a staple diet on the islander’s table.
Wash your plantain and cut of the ends. Make a lengthwise cut into the skin of the plantain from tip to tip, and then remove it from the rest of the fruit. To prepare the fried plantains further, all you have to do is slice the plantain in several pieces to the desired thinness.
Put on a frying pan with your preferred oil and heat it to your desired temperature. Do not overheat or else the plantains will burn before they are properly cooked on the inside.
Place the pieces in the pan and fry until golden on each side. This should take about five minutes per side. To test, cut a piece of the plantain in half. If the inner parts are still a pinkish color, it is not ready.
Place it back in the hot oil to fry a bit longer. Make sure to fry the side you cut into as well.
4. Dominican Republic’s Tostones
This is a preferred version to the fried plantains often seen in the Dominican Republic. Some say this is a salty version of fried plantains. The name Tostones means "twice-fried."
To make this version, you cut up your plantain into small pieces. Then you fry it and mash it, and then you refry it again. This is where the "twice-fried" comes in.
As before, it is used as a side dish. But, it can be eaten as a between meal snack.
Some prefer to have this as a substitute to French fries. Possibly, it is a bit healthier.
Tostones is sometimes referred to as patacones and are frequently prepared as a staple part of many South American countries diet, including Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia.”
5. Puerto Rican Mofongo
This feast is characteristically served with a light soup. However, some people add green plantains, which are fried as well as seasoned using a bit of pork cracklings. Then, they add a touch of olive oil, salt and garlic.
If you prefer, you can mash it out as well.
6. Dominican Republic’s Mangú
This can be described as a plantain puree. Mangu is identified as Dominican Republic’s national breakfast.
If you are used to mashed potatoes, then you can visualize mangu. But rather you substitute the plantain for the potatoes.
So, you prepare this with some fried cheese, fried salami and fried eggs. Some people add avocado or pear, depending on where you are in the Caribbean. But in the Dominican Republic, it is referred to as Los Tres Golpes (the three hits).
You can season to your liking.
7. Plantain Nachos
If you have a creative flair in the kitchen, then you will love experimenting with plantains. One way you can do so, is to substitute your normal tortilla chips by adding a bit of recently prepared tostones.
This you can have with a dip made of guacamole or onions, tomatoes, peppers, cheese or even some cooked up meat. Your tongue will have a blast sampling all these epicurean delights.
8. Pastelon (Plantain Lasagna)
Here, you can choose to experiment with your plantains.
Pastelon is lasagna that uses the plantains rather than pasta. Prepare your lasagna dish as usual but you will use the plantains to line the container, just as how you would use the pasta.
Some people love to incorporate a lot of cheese and some do not. Prepare the dish to your liking, with your preferred additives.
9. Plantain Burger
This is a far more tasty and healthy burger, which anyone would love.
Plainly, this is a burger made with buns and adding some fried or mashed then fried plantains. There is a place in New York City, Patacon Pisao, which makes a great version of this. If you can, it is truly worth a visit.
10. Plátanos Al Caldero
Take about a delicious and flavorful delight that will make your mouth water.
This is a version of fried ripe plantains that incorporates a bit of sugar and cinnamon. And the end of your preparation you should be happy with your caramelized plátanos maduros.
Try One of these Plantain Recipes Today
People usually prepare plantains as how they customarily would in their culture.
But the thing with finding new foods and recipes is that you are not afraid to experiment and you are open to new ideas.
The plantain is a diverse fruit that can be cooked and prepared in many ways. It is delicious and can be served whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
In the Caribbean household, it is one of the items, which is always on the shopping list and even consumed many times per week. It is diverse, healthy and a real sweet treat when prepared ripe.
The benefit of living in the tropics is that this is something, which you see commonly in many backyard gardens. It saves on shopping expenses and ensures that you can have some plantain recipes all year round.
We hope that you have enjoyed these recipes as much as we have. Feel free to experiment and modify the recipes create something else even more delectably amazing.