Crispy Fried Green Plantains made with green plantain, a staple food in both the Caribbean and Latin America. Green Plantain is considered a vegetable when green and fruit when ripened (turns yellow). As a staple food with not much information available to learn about its origins, it is worth knowing that it is a good substitute for root vegetables, grains, and pasta. The more cooking and recipe options the better.
In my last article titled “Did you know that not all plantains are the same” I mentioned that a plantain is not a banana nor is a green banana a plantain. A green plantain or a sweet plantain is simply a plantain. A banana will always be a banana whether green or yellow. This is the absolute truth!
What is a plantain?
So what is a plantain? In my last article, a plantain is usually sold when its skin is green. If it becomes yellow, it is sold as sweet plantain because as it gets ripe, the inside gets sweet. Plantains take a long time to ripen. When fruits start ripening which is the hydrolysis process that causes them to become more palatable, the fruit becomes sweeter, less green and softer as it ripens.
The more moisture a fruit contains, the faster its starch is broken down into sugar—this process is called hydrolysis. Since plantains contain more starch and less moisture (65% compared to a bananas’ 83%), the starch hydrolysis occurs at a much slower pace. Plantains can take up to 5 weeks to ripen. Once ripened, the same consumption options apply, boiled, fried, baked, etc.… Cooking with plantains is not a difficult task.
Plantain is a good source of carbohydrates with a low-fat content. With several other significant health benefits, it is fair to say that it provides not only several recipes options but also it is a vegetable or fruit that is super filling. As it is usually consumed with meat or vegetables, many people prefer to eat it as plantains chips, a snack that is loved by many.
How to fry plantains
Crispy Fried Green Plantain is prepared different ways. The following options are only by preference:
- Fried Plantains are usually cooked twice. Meaning you first cook the plantains pieces (1-inch-thick) halfway, press the pieces with a plantain presser and fry them again until crispy.
- When frying plantains, many people will either soak the plantains after pressing in a solution of vinegar and salt or just vinegar. This process gives the crispy fried green plantains a brighter yellowish color and a slightly salty taste.
- When frying plantains, it is not necessary to soak the pieces in the solution previously mentioned if you intend to eat it with a side of vegetables or meat because of the salt content. The less salt we put in our body, the better it is for us.
Plantains are versatile and have many health benefits. Green or yellow, there are several cooking options. Please keep in mind that not all plantains are the same. You may notice a different shape at the supermarket, and the texture may be a bit different. Don’t be alarm. It is all good! The only difference is that the regular plantain is best when fried and others are better when boiled or baked.
Everything You Need to Know About Cooking with Plantains: Jessica Bose: Food Hacks
CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future: http://www.cgiar.org/our-strategy/crop-factsheets/bananas/
What is a Plantain? Plantains vs. Bananas? http://grabemsnacks.com/what-is-a-plantain.html
7 Reasons to Add Plantains to Your Diet (#5 Will Make You Think): https://draxe.com/plantains/
How to make Crispy Fried Green Plantains
- 1 green plantain firm
- Oil for frying
- Cut off the ends. Place the plantain flat on a cutting board. With the tip of the knife, slice the skin along one of the ridges. Peel off the skin with your fingers by working from tip to tip until the entire skin is removed.
- Cut plantain in 1-inch thick slices crosswise.
- Over medium heat, heat enough oil in a heavy bottom frying pan. Place the pieces carefully in the oil. (do not throw, do not splash)
- Fry the pieces on both sides until lightly browned. Remove from oil and set aside while you continue frying remaining pieces.
- With a plantains presser, flatten each piece and refry in same oil. (do not crowd pan)
- When crispy and golden, remove and place on paper towel to remove excess oil.
- Enjoy as a snack, or as a side dish.