Plantains are members of the same family as bananas; but, in contrast to bananas, plantains are more brittle and have a far lower concentration of sugar. Around the year 300 B.C., Alexander the Great brought these amazing fruits to Europe. Throughout history, the seeds of these fruits have been used as a source of nutrition for many medicinal plants. They are being put to extensive use in the kitchens of tropical countries all over the globe, particularly in places like Africa, South America, South-East Asia, India, and the Caribbean.
Plantains have been used in a wide variety of cuisines, which is evidence of their adaptability. One may prepare them by steaming, boiling, grilling, baking, or frying. They have a starchiness and texture that is comparable to potatoes, but their flavor is more sugary. It is typical practice in the Caribbean to mash them with red onions, resulting in the production of a well-liked meal known as mangu.
Plantains have a moderate amount of salt and are an excellent source of vitamin A, potassium, and fiber (they are nutritionally similar to bananas). The inflammation and pain caused by gout, allergies, kidney stones, anemia, urinary issues, and TB may all be alleviated by eating plantains. It is also believed that eating plantains on a daily basis might help prevent ulcers and reduce the discomfort associated with ulcers.
Plantains are found at most supermarkets. Simply search for plantains that are green in color and seem to be firm and fresh. Yellow plantains have already started to get sweet.
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Plantain baked in Orange Juice
2 plantains, ripe (skins almost completely black)
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons orange zest, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, & grease an 8″ square baking dish.
2 Peel & slice the plantains, preferrably lengthwise, then lay the slices out in the prepared baking dish.
3 Mix honey, juice, zest & salt & pour over plantains.
4 Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg, then sprinkle over the top of the plantains.
5 Bake for 15-20 inutes or until browned & tender.
Mashed Plantains with Leeks and Fresh Herbs
7 cups water
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 large unpeeled semi-ripe plantains, ends trimmed, each cut cross-wise into thirds (yellow with black)
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large leek, finely chopped (white and pale green parts only)
4 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
2 teaspoons fresh Italian parsley, minced
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chopped pecans
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
1 Bring 7 cups water and broth to boil in heavy, large pot. Add plantains. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until plantains are very tender and yellow-orange (some may begin to come out of peel), about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Cool plantains 10 minutes. Remove peel using hands or small paring knife. Transfer plantains to large glass bowl. Add 1/2 cup of reserved cooking liquid and mash plantains until smooth, adding more liquid by tablespoonfuls to thin mixture, if desired. Set aside.
2 Melt butter with olive oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leek and sauté until tender but not browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in thyme and parsley. Add leek mixture to mashed plantains; stir to blend. (Can be made 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Microwave on high until heated through before continuing.).
3 Mix sour cream and cumin into hot plantains. Season with salt and pepper. If using last tablespoon of butter, cut into small cubes. Scatter butter and pecans over; serve.
Plantain Salad Imoyo
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 small green bell pepper
1 small hot red pepper
1 small cucumber
1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
1 Peel the plantains by cutting through the peel lengthwise and sliding your fingers under the skin to pull it off.
2 Place the whole plantains in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover; bring to a boil and simmer for about ten minutes or until plantains are soft enough to pierce with a fork (If you use ripe ones which have gone yellow and are developing black spots, 10 minutes will be fine–the green ones will take longer and won’t taste as good).
3 Drain the plantains and set aside to cool.
4 While the plantains are cooking, peel and seed the green pepper and slice it into long thin slices.
5 Seed and chop the red pepper.
6 Peel, seed and dice the cucumber and place in a bowl with the peppers.
7 Whisk the oil, lime juice, salt and pepper, and garlic (if you are using it–I like it) together until creamy; this will take a couple of minutes.
8 Slice the cooled plantains on the diagonal into 1/2″ pieces and add to the vegetables in the bowl.
9 Pour the marinade over and mix well.
10 Serve at room temperature.
11 Note: This salad is best if made an hour or so in advance so the flavors can ‘marry’ — I find it needs more salt and pepper at the table–a matter of taste.
Skillet Sweet Potato and Plantain
1 large sweet potato, diced into small cubes
1/2 vidalia onion, sliced thin
1 large plantain, thinly sliced at an angle
2 tablespoons olive oil
ground cayenne pepper
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
1 Peel sweet potato and dice into small cubes.
2 Boil potato in water; until cooked. Drain, shake off as much water as you can.
3 Saute onion in 1 tbsp oil over med. heat for about 5 mins in large non-stick skillet.
4 Add other 1tbsp oil and plantain to skillet, increase heat to med. high. Saute till golden brown. Add cooked sweet potatoes. Using a metal spatula, saute all three ingred. for another 3-5 minutes seasoning to taste with sea salt, pepper, and ground cayenne pepper.
5 Serve with rice or in tortillas and salsa and/or guacamole. Enjoy!
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