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Plantain: that one fruit that looks like a big banana, primarily found and used in and around Puerto Rico and other tropical locales. Sometimes green, sometimes light brown, but never quite seems yellow enough to look delicious.
Maybe you weren’t paying attention at the grocery store and thought they were regular bananas. Maybe you got them as a gift. Maybe you woke up with a hangover and they were sitting on your kitchen table. Maybe you’re just plain curious. It doesn’t matter how you came into contact with those oversized banana-type things known as plantains; I’m assuming you’re here because you want to know what to do with them.
I’m going to give you two very basic, easy-to-follow recipes to get you started on your life-long adventure with plantains. I’ll also give you some hints to help you expand on these recipes. Plantains should be delicious and agreeable to you, so if your first experience with them is less than wonderful, give it another try. And if you still don’t like them, just give up and quit using them–as you know, eating should never be a chore.
1. Heat the oil in a small pan (as you would to make french-fries, onion rings, etc.) (Here are some great onion choppers for you!)
2. Peel the plantain and slice it into bite-sized chunks. (Here’s some awesome spiralizers to use!)
3. Fry the plantain chunks in hot oil until they have a firm, golden-brown outside (About five minutes?) Hell, if you really want, you can throw it in a deep fryer or air fryer for extra crispiness.
4. Place the fried plantain pieces on a paper (not Styrofoam) plate or paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
5. Toss the plantain pieces in the honey; alternatively you can use the honey as a dip.
These fried plantains work great as a fresh addition to your Sunday afternoon football appetizer plate, or your after-school-snack repertoire. You can also use this simple recipe as a substitute for french-fries alongside your next fish or chicken dish.
Alternatively: You can deep-fry plantains using one of our recommended best deep fryers. They taste even better when deep frying!
You can use maple syrup, chocolate, or sweet and sour sauce instead of honey. You could also sprinkle powdered sugar on the freshly-fried chunks. Some peoples’ taste buds may also delight at fried plantain dipped in mustards, spicy sauces, or even ketchup. Remember, plantains have a more “earthy” flavor than bananas, so don’t limit yourself to a “fruit salad” mindset.
2 green plantains
1 brownish plantain
½ cup whole milk
2 tablespoons cream cheese
3 tablespoons butter
1. Peel the plantains and boil them in water until soft enough to mash. (This will take slightly less time than it would to boil a potato to mashing consistency; you may salt the boiling water if desired.)
2. Remove from heat and drain with a strainer or colander.
3. While still hot, mash the plantains, adding butter, cream cheese, and milk.
4. Add salt (and/or desired spices) to taste. (Check out our recommended salt and pepper grinder sets!)
Surely you’re beginning to understand that, when cooking plantains, we want to think of our new friends as a substitute for potato more so than a substitute for banana. This particular recipe is great for adventurous mashed potato lovers. Will mashed plantains be a smash-hit substitute alongside the Thanksgiving turkey? Hell no–but they can be a fun change-up to compliment seafood and vegetarian dishes.
Try serving mashed plantains underneath shrimp scampi or sautéed scallops as a fresh, aquatic spin-off of mashed potatoes and gravy. You can also change the ratio of green plantains to brown plantains and make your mash more potato-like or sweeter, depending on your individual tastes and intended application.
If all else fails, use those big plantains to play a prank on your pet monkey. Maybe he’ll think he’s shrinking and freak out.
You can find more delicious plantain recipes in our recommended Spanish cookbooks!
While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!