Plantain…isn’t is just a big banana?
Well no, because unlike regular bananas, it can’t be eaten raw. However just like a dessert banana, the longer its left to ripen, the sweeter and softer it becomes!
Since as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed ripe Plantain in various ways: steamed, baked, fried… Basically if you treat it just like a potato you can make some really interesting dishes: salads, chips, crisps, even mashes. Unlike it’s close cousin the green banana, which I also love, but I’m finding hard to be win over to the masses because of its firm waxy texture (which makes it good for potato salads) – see my ‘Fig Salad’ recipe for example 😉
To fry the plantain, you want the banana to be firm with some dark spots (like the middle row below), too soft and you won’t be able to slice it well, and the high sugar content will cause it to caramelise and stick to the frying pan. Not a pretty sight!
This recipe combines two of my favourite ingredients: plantain and chipotle paste to make the a dish which I think will be featured a number of BBQ tables this summer. Get ready for some finger lickin’ plantain!
Smokin' Fried Plantain
4 Ripe Plantain
1 Red sweet pepper – chopped or sliced (medium size)
1 Green sweet pepper chopped
1 Onion – chopped (medium sized cubes)
1 tbsp Ginger and Garlic paste
1 tbsp Chipotle paste
1 vegetable stock jelly
1 tsp tomato paste
1/4 warm water
Vegetable oil (fry)
A few sprigs of thyme
1. Peel each plantain completely and sliced down the middle. Then chop each strip into 1 inch pieces. Do the same with the potato (see picture)
2. Heat 1 1/2 inch of oil into a frying pan, test the oil with a piece of potato, the gas should be on a medium to high heat.
3. Fry the potato first in batches (should take 10 minutes each), stirring the potato occasionally until cooked. Drain on kitchen towel paper
4. Then fry the plantain separately – this should take 5 -6 minutes. It cooks very quickly, when it floats to the top, you will know its ready, allow it to brown to the colour you desire. Drain on kitchen towel paper as well.
5. Then in another frying pan with a tablespoon of oil fry the onions, peppers and thyme until soft but still with a crunch to the texture.
6. In a separate bowl, mix the ‘wet ingredients’, the seasoning basically and add the warm water to help the ingredients combine into a thick paste.
7. Add the potato, plantain, onions and peppers to the sauce and turn over gently to distribute the flavours. serve immediately!