You may already be familiar with plantains and use them in your kitchen from time to time. Perhaps you’ve strolled the produce department and seen these “green bananas” waiting for some attention. Let’s peel apart what they are and give them an easy application that’ll put this on your grocery list for good! I’ll give you a brief explanation, then let’s give them a try with an old familiar recipe that is too good to pass up. Plantains explained. A recipe you have to try!
If you ever wondered what the heck to do with those cooking bananas that you’ve found every time you go looking for fruit at your local grocery store, look no further. You’re in for a treat. For starters, plantains are similar looking to a banana but they are actually quite different in texture and taste. They are a superfood that many people don’t understand. Let’s take a look at a few of their outstanding qualities.
- An excellent source of Magnesium
- A wonderful natural provider of Potassium
- High in Vitamin C
- Loaded with Vitamin B-6
- Decent amounts of Fiber
- Natural Carbohydrates
- Low in fat, cholesterol and calories. One full plantain is around 230 calories
As you can see, they pack a pretty good nutritional punch don’t they? Let me address the elephant in the room at this point. Some of you are probably staring at the carbohydrate note and thinking I just spoiled the plantain party for you. Not so fast. Just give them a chance.
Let me tell you a little bit about what I have discovered about a healthy diet in general. I have discovered that a healthy diet has moderation built in. There are few limitations to what you can or should eat. These are mother natures’ resources for a reason. I have tried about every diet under the sun and limiting any one thing for me eventually results in an explosion of my seeking out the very thing I have been trying to limit. Ever notice if you have tried to limit carbs for example, that eventually you go on a carb spree and feel like you wrecked your diet? Stop. Take step back. Start over. Simplify.
You can choose any food in moderation and it will elevate naturally needed vitamins and minerals for your body. So let’s get back to plantains. They are in the Musa family, and must be cooked to be enjoyed properly. Shortly, we will get to how. If you love the occasional potato chip frenzy or crave something with a crunch or salty taste every now and then, you can replace this with something much better for you.
I would also like to note that plantains stole the party on the hit TV show Iron Chef I believe it was. A chef prepared the recipe I am about to share with you, and to my amazement, everyone went absolutely bonkers over something that is so easy to do, it had to be a shock to the chef as well! But for good reason!
- Plantains – They should be firm to the touch and have a nice green outer skin. Firm is good. Yellowing is too ripe for what we are doing here. A nice deep green even with a blackish sort of vein around the edges up and down is jut perfect. Plantains aren’t as completely round as bananas. They almost have panels that work their way around into a banana shape.
- Adobo – A must have staple in the spice department. If you aren’t familiar with it. Get it. It’s a sort of allspice and it turns things into magic with it’s flavor. Moderation is key with this, too much will be an overload for your taste buds, but don’t be afraid to use just a bit more than you would use say, salt.
- Oil- I use olive oil.
- Using a knife , cut off both ends of your plantains just to get the nubs off.
- Take that same knife and score the outside of the plantain from top to bottom, at least 3 or 4 times all the way around.
- Peel away the green skin and you should be left with an off white or yellowish, solid plantain. Looks like a banana but I wouldn’t take a bite. Go ahead and try and you’ll see why. It’s raw. Totally different than a banana. It’s a solid missile compare to a bananas soft squishy texture and it tastes nothing like it.
- Spit out the plantain you attempted to taste and move on to the next step. 🙂
- Cut your plantain into about 1-2 inch pieces and carefully place them into your hot cooking oil, you can submerge them totally, or what I tend to do now is use an inch or two of oil and turn them upside down and on their side until they are a completely golden color on the outside.
- Remove them from the oil and use paper towel lined saucers to smash each piece so that they’re flat.
- If you haven’t cooked them enough you might notice a little bit of sticking and tearing apart. That means they weren’t quite ready to smash. You can find a kitchen tool made exactly for this. It’s a tostonera, or plantain smasher.
- Once you have all your pieces smashed, reintroduce them to the oil and cook them visually until they are a nice deep golden yellow color.
- Remove them from the oil and sprinkle Adobo all over.
If you have never tried this, give it a try and let me know what you think. These are great on their own, or think of what you could do if you line the bottom of a plate with them and dress them with chopped onion, tomato, cilantro, chicken, the possibilities are endless! You can add these to a healthy snack or dinner. Thank you for joining me today for plantains explained. This is certainly a recipe you have to try!