Once you discover fried plantain, you won’t understand how it hasn’t always been a part of your life. You may even wonder why you ever bothered with chips or fries.
Not seen plantain before? They are those things that look exactly like bananas, but a bit bigger, and the skin is more angular.
It’s very easy to mistake them for bananas.
I did this once, years ago while living in Paris. For breakfast, I used to grab two bananas every day from a grocer, on my way to work. This particular day I accidentally grabbed two plantain – I was probably thinking ‘ Yay, bigger bananas.’
If you bite into a raw plantain however, you very quickly realise it’s not a banana – they suck all the moisture out of your mouth, it’s VERY uncomfortable, trust me!
I learned what plantain was that day, but it was still a while before I tried them properly.
These days, living in south London, there are plenty of places for me to buy plantain. Even my local big name supermarket sells it. Look in your nearest Asian or Caribbean grocers.
At my local Sri Lankan grocers, I can buy 3 plantain for £1.20. This is, in truth, more than we need for two portions, but what can I say? My partner and I are plantain-a-philes. That is officially a thing now. Didn’t you know?
You can buy your plantain green (unripe), yellow, or black (over ripe). My preference is middle-of-the-road yellow; the green ones are a bit too dry for my taste, and the black ones a bit too sweet. Experiment though! I had fried black plantain with hot creole sauce in New Orleans, and I loved it, but if I’m making it at home, I just find the yellow ones easier to work with. If you’re making it for the first time, definitely start with the yellow ones, then branch out!
You will need:
– 2 or 3 yellow plantain (1 per person generally speaking, and don’t worry if they have bits of black on them, that’s fine, you just don’t want them completely black, at least this time).
– Oil (I use sunflower, groundnut or coconut, as these are best for frying)
-1 frying pan
What you do:
Slice your plantain(s) diagonally, with pieces around 1.5cm thick, like so:
Heat your oil till it starts bubbling gently.
Place your plantain in the pan (gently, to avoid painful splashbacks!). You can cover the bottom of the pan with the plantain, but don’t let pieces overlap.
Sprinkle your seasoning fairly liberally all over.
Fry for 8 mins, or until golden brown, then turn plantain with a spatula, season the other side, and do the same.
Lay a piece of kitchen roll on a plate, and transfer plantain pieces onto it. The kitchen roll will soak up any excess oil.
Use the same oil to repeat the process if you have any plantain left over, but reduce the seasoning because there will be some left in the oil from last time.
Enjoy your fried plantain! They are delicious on their own or dipped in ketchup (go easy though, ketchup is full of sugar – I’m on the lookout for a sugar-free ketchup right now, I’ll report back when I find one).