Plantains are the less sweet cousin to bananas. Belonging to the same family as bananas, plantains are larger, firmer and have a lower sugar content than bananas. Also unlike bananas, plantains are generally used for cooking and should not be eaten raw for they can be difficult to digest. In this guide, we'll show you the different ways to cooking plantains.
Unripe plantains are usually green in color but can be a yellow-brownish color. At this stage, they are very hard, super starchy, and their skin is difficult to peel. Unripe plantains are not sweet so they are best for making baked plantain chips, and crackers.
Semi-ripe plantains are a solid yellow color and are softer than unripe ones. They are ideal for making plantain tortillas, plantain waffles, and mangú.
When plantains are fully ripe, they are yellow with dark brown spots. They are soft and their skin is very easy to peel. Additionally, ripe plantains are much sweeter than those of the previous stages. At this stage, they are savory and are ideal for frying and roasting.
While they may look like they have gone bad, super plantains can still be eaten. Super ripe plantains are black, soft, and much sweeter than ripe ones. Therefore, they can easily be used in dessert dishes like caramelized plantains.
Frying is the most common and straightforward methods for cooking plantains. In addition, frying brings all of the natural sugar to the surface which causes it to browns easily and caramelizes. For best results, choose ripe plantains that are a dull yellow or brown color.
Like other fruit and vegetables, plantains can be grilled. Grilling them adds a smoky flavor to the plantains and you can even add extra sweetness with a butter-sugar glaze.
Another healthy method for cooking plantains is by baking them. Baking plantains gives them a crispy outside while maintaining their creamy and tender texture. Ripe and extra ripe plantains are best for this method for unripe or semi-ripe plantains are too starchy and will result in a crispier and dry texture.
Pictured below is roasted plantains with Jollof rice and beef.
This is the most simple and straightforward method. There is no special preparation required, all you need is a pot of water, salt, and milk. Ripe plantains are best for this method.
Pictured below are oiled plantains with Nigerian spicy vegetable soup.
Not that you're an expert in cooking plantains, try out some of these mouth-watering dishes.
Get a taste of Puerto Rico and Central America with Canoas de Plantano Maduro, or stuffed plantains. This dish is made by frying a plantain, baking it, and stuffing a baked plantain with minced meat and cheese. Yum! Additionally, it can be eaten as an appetizer or made into a meal when served with rice and beans.
Your mouth is probably watering right now and for good reason. Ecuadorian slow roasted pork is a dish that is cooked in a beer marinade with garlic, cumin, and annatto. Portions of this tender and succulent pork are best when served with plantains.
Put a twist on the usual ice cream and swap out a borning banana with a sliced caramelized plantain. Feel free to add any kind of ice cream or topping you would like to this delectable dessert.