The plantain is an easy symbol in South American, Caribbean and African cuisine. Rich in starch, it should be eaten cooked. However, before choosing a preparation method, it is essential to peel and slice it. Bananas can be fried in oil to make crunchy dishes or baked for healthier meals. For a side dish or a quick dessert, sauté the plantains in butter until they are soft.
- 4 large ripe plantains cut into 2.5 cm pieces.
- 1 ½ cups of vegetable oil.
- Coarse salt or sugar (optional).
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
- 2 ripe plantains cut into 2.5 cm pieces.
- 1 tablespoon of melted butter or oil.
- 1 teaspoon of sugar.
- 1 pinch of salt.
Makes 2 servings.
- 2 plantains cut into pieces of 1.5 cm.
- 2 tablespoons of butter.
- 2 tablespoons of canola oil.
Makes 2 servings.
Method 1 of 4: Peeling and Cutting Bananas
Step 1. Choose bananas according to sweetness
Chances are you've seen nearly black plantains at the fair or market. Black bananas are the ripest and therefore the sweetest. If you prefer less sweet plantains, choose yellow ones with just a few black spots. Greens are the firmest and least sweetest. Opt for them if you're going to make a savory dish.
The plantains usually stay together with the other bananas in the market. Although they look like ordinary bananas, however, plantains contain a lot more starch and a lot less sugar
Step 2. Cut and discard a 2.5 cm piece from each end of the bananas
To peel a plantain more easily, cut a piece from each end with a sharp knife. Discard the handle and the tip of the fruit.
Avoid bending the handle to peel the banana. The rind of plantains is thicker than that of common bananas, so it is not possible to peel both fruits in the same way
Step 3. Make a cut along the length of the shell
Hold the banana firmly on the cutting board and carefully move the knife from one end to the other. Pay attention not to cut the flesh of the fruit.
To peel a green plantain, make another cut along the length of the fruit, opposite the first. This way, you will be able to pull the shell more easily.
Step 4. Remove the peel from the fruit
With your fingers, pull the banana skin out. It is easier to peel the plantain if it is ripe. In this case, the shell practically comes out on its own after being pulled. If you've made two cuts in the skin of a green banana, pull the pieces away from the meat in opposite directions.
Step 5. Chop the banana into 1.5 cm to 2.5 cm pieces
Read the recipe to see how big the banana pieces should be. Most recipes recommend chopping the fruit into 1, 5 cm to 2, 5 cm pieces.
You can also cut the banana diagonally, if you prefer, to increase the surface of the fruit and make it crunchier and more flavorful
Method 2 of 4: Making fried plantains
Step 1. Heat one and a half cups of vegetable oil in a skillet to 190°C
Fill a deep skillet with vegetable oil and place on the stove. Attach a kitchen thermometer to the side of the skillet and light the heat to medium-high heat. Heat the oil until it reaches 190 °C.
- If the oil temperature exceeds 190 °C, lower the heat a little.
- If you don't have a kitchen thermometer, heat the oil until it starts to glow. When you think you are ready, dip a small piece of plantain into the oil. It will start bubbling and frying immediately if it's hot enough. Wait another minute and test again if it's still cold.
Step 2. Put four or five pieces of plantain in the hot oil
Arrange the four chopped bananas on the cutting board. With your hands, slowly dip four or five pieces into the oil. Be careful not to drop them and spill oil on your skin.
- If you are afraid of getting burned by oil, place the banana pieces in a slotted spoon and dip them in the oil.
- Fry the bananas in small portions so the oil temperature doesn't drop too quickly.
Step 3. Fry the bananas for four to five minutes
Start a timer and fry the bananas until they are golden brown. Turn them halfway through with a spoon or slotted spoon so they are browned and crispy evenly.
Lower the heat if the bananas brown too quickly
Step 4. Place the fried bananas on a paper towel-lined plate
Carefully transfer the fried banana pieces to a lined plate using a spoon or slotted spoon. Paper towels are used to absorb excess fat.
Allow the oil to heat to 190°C again before frying the next portion
Step 5. Season the bananas with salt or sugar
Season the fried bananas any way you like or serve them plain. They don't last very long, so enjoy them still hot.
Did you know?
The fried plantain has different names. When fried only once, they are called ripe. When fried twice, they are known as tostones or patacones.
Method 3 of 4: Making Roasted plantains
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 220 °C and line a baking tray with baking paper
Place a deep tray on your work surface and pull out a piece of wax paper. Line the tray with wax paper and set aside.
If you don't have baking paper at home, you can also line the tray with a silicone mat or grease it with a non-stick spray
Step 2. Mix the chopped bananas with butter, sugar and salt
Place the two plantains you chopped into 2.5 cm pieces into a bowl. Add a tablespoon of melted butter or oil, a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt. Gently mix with a spoon until all the banana pieces are covered.
- You can also use vegetable oil instead of butter if you prefer.
- Leave the sugar out if you don't like sweet plantains.
Try a little with your favorite spices. Instead of salt or sugar, how about seasoning the bananas with a dash of cinnamon or curry powder?
Step 3. Distribute the seasoned banana pieces across the baking tray
Transfer the bananas to the baking paper lined with baking paper and distribute them in a single layer. Leave at least 1.5 cm of space between the pieces so that they bake evenly.
As the wax paper already contains silicone, it is not necessary to grease it to prevent the bananas from sticking
Step 4. Bake the plantains for 10 to 12 minutes
Place the tray in the oven. Bake the bananas until they are very soft and brownish in color. Serve them still hot.
Roasted plantains make great desserts and side dishes for heavier dishes
Method 4 of 4: Sauteing plantains
Step 1. Melt the butter in oil in a skillet
Place two tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Add two tablespoons of canola oil and bring to medium low heat.
- Stir the butter from time to time to mix it with the oil.
- Use coconut oil to add a slight tropical flavor to the recipe.
To make the bananas sweeter, add three extra tablespoons of butter, one teaspoon of ground cinnamon, two tablespoons of brown sugar, and one teaspoon of vanilla essence to the skillet. Mix well to form a sweet sauce for cooking bananas.
Step 2. Place the banana pieces in the skillet
Pass the two chopped bananas into the skillet. Distribute them in a single layer, being careful not to pile them up.
To make more than two bananas, divide them into portions
Step 3. Saute the bananas for 10 to 12 minutes, turning them from time to time
Keep the heat on medium low so the bananas don't brown too quickly. Turn them over with a spatula or spoon from time to time. Leave them on the fire until they are golden on all sides.
The plantains will soften in the fire
Step 4. Turn off the heat and serve the bananas with the buttery sauce
With a spoon, transfer the bananas to a serving dish and carefully pour the sauce over them. Serve them pure or seasoned with a little salt or sugar.