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How to Cook With Plantains


Plantain bananas are known as just plantains and are the less sweet member of the banana family. They grow in humid, tropical regions and are very widely grown in South America. Plantains have thick skin with a salmon colored pulp, which sweetens somewhat as they ripen. As the fruit starts to ripen they turn yellow then brown. The plantain fruit must be eaten cooked, not raw. Green plantains are often cooked as a stew, whereas the ripe ones can be sliced and then grilled or fried [source: University of Kentucky]. Here are some ways to prepare plantains.

Sautéed plantains

Ingredients:

  • Four very ripe plantains -- peeled and cut diagonally into ½-inch (1.3-centimeter) thick slices
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • ½ teaspoon salt or 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in frying pan.
  2. Place half the plantain slices in the frying pan, and cook for about five minutes on each side, until they turn brown.
  3. Remove them from the frying pan and sprinkle with either salt or brown sugar.
  4. Repeat the process with the rest of the plantain slices [source: Westmoreland].

Plantain chips with banana avocado dip

Ingredients:

  • Two green plantains -- peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 6 cups oil
  • Coarse salt
  • One very ripe banana
  • One ripe avocado -- peeled and pitted
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan until it's very hot.
  2. Drop the plantain slices into the oil one at a time.
  3. Fry them until they're golden brown.
  4. Remove the plantains from the oil with a slotted spoon.
  5. Place them on a paper towel and blot them.
  6. Blend together the avocado, banana and lemon juice in a blender until smooth. Serve them with the plantain chips [source: Martha Stewart].

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