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FRIED SWEET PLANTAINS

April 24, 2012 8:47 am 0 comments

Fried Sweet Plantain is a wonderful side dish made with ripe plantains that are nicely pan fried till golden brown and sprinkled with little salt and a dash of lemon juice. It is a super sweet, crispy on the exterior side and soft inside that makes it tender and just almost melts into your mouth.

Sweet Fried Plantain is a popular way to consume ripe plantains giving it a different dimension to taste and is warming too. This is a popular dish from the Caribbean cuisine as plantains are found in abundance all over the Caribbean. Fried sweet plantain is a sweet and savoury side dish that’s economical and easy to make. You just require the right variety of plantain in making this dish. If you are planning in preparing this appetizing dish, then look for plantains with black skin. It should not be rotten but just super sweet.

Fried sweet plantains is also known as Platanos maduros in Spanish, a staple of Latin American cuisine and also found in few West African dishes as well. These crispy, chewy, slightly caramelized disks shaped fried sweet plantains pairs well with black bean soup, roast chicken, rice or simply on their own.  For plátanos maduros, buy the extremely ripe plantains – the black ones. These contain more sugar and have a softer texture. The yellow stage of the plantain is firmer and contains a lot of starch, and has a flavour similar to a potato when cooked hence would not be tasty.

Warm Fried Sweet Plantains are pure, comforting, appetizing, lightly fried slices caramelized all around dressed with a splash of lime juice and salt, the texture becomes chewy and are infused with an intoxicating rich golden colour attractively piled in a platter makes it truly divine and a luscious dish. Fried sweet plantains are enjoyed in numerous ways; alongside fried eggs, drizzled with sour cream, over ice cream, sprinkled with cinnamon with black beans or rice. Plantains are staple item in South American and African cuisine. Plantains have their own entity while they look like bananas. They are less sweet than bananas. Plantains contain calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamins A, B and C.

Plantains are found in abundance in southern India state of Kerala where the large ripe yellow fruit of a local variety called Nendran is very popular and used in making variety of desserts or snacks. A popular snack that goes by the name pazhampori (Banana fritters) is made by deep frying slices of the banana (along the length) dipped in a thin batter of refined wheat flour or maida. Also popular is a preparation in which chunks of the ripe banana is sautéed with ghee- clarified butter.

Plantains are a staple food in various tropical regions of the world, the tenth most important staple that feeds the world. Plantains are treated in much the same way as potatoes and with a similar neutral flavour and texture when the unripe fruit is cooked by steaming, boiling or frying. Plantains, like banana, are believed to have originated in Southeast Asia, having been cultivated in south India by 500 BC. From here, ancient trade routes distributed it to Africa through Madagascar. By 1000 AD, plantains had spread eastward to Japan and Samoa. It arrived in the Caribbean and Latin America by 1500 AD. Since then, it has spread widely throughout the tropics.

For preparing this pleasant and charming Fried Sweet Plantains, firstly add oil to a medium sized pan or pot. You don’t need the temperature to be as hot as you would for making French fries, but go with a low/medium temperature, so you can easily watch that the banana slices don’t burn.

A plantain doesn’t peel quite as easily as a regular banana – there’s a bit of technique involved. While oil is heating up, chop off the banana ends and slice into the peel lengthwise from end to end. Go just deep enough to hit banana flesh. It may be easier if you first slice the banana in half. The skin should peel right off.

Next, take 2 ripe plantains and slice the banana at an angle so you get about three inches-long pieces that are about one inch thick. Add slices to pan with oil and fry about 5 minutes on each side or until it turn dark brown in colour.  You will need to watch closely toward the end, as brown can turn to black quickly. Drain on a paper towel and sprinkle lightly with salt and lemon juice. Serve warm.

Tip: You can also pan fry or shallow fry to save oil or use less cholesterol.

Make Ahead The plantains can be fried early in the day and kept at room temperature. Reheat in a warm oven and sprinkle with salt before serving.

Like French fries, plantains are cooked in oil until brown. You do have to watch the ripened black plantains closely when cooking – because of their high sugar content they can burn.

Plantain is a carbohydrate source. Its utilizable protein content as percentage of calorie ingestion is higher than sago and cassava, but is much lower than other staples such as yam, maize, rice, potato and wheat. On per gram consumed basis, plantain’s essential amino acid concentrations are very low, even lower than cassava. The low fat content of plantain, coupled with its high starch content, makes it a possible food for geriatric patients. It may also be a possible food alternative for people suffering from gastric ulcer, coeliac disease and in the relief of colitis. It may be the tryptophan, a natural mood enhancer, or the high levels of vitamins C, B6, B12, or maybe it’s just all that fibre, but whatever it is, above and beyond the purported health benefits, I can report anecdotally that I felt pretty happy after eating these golden-browned beauties.

I think when paired with a simple plate of black beans and rice, you’re talking about a super simple, very frugal, and quite delicious dinner really hope you give them a try soon.

Enjoy Cooking!

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