Fried plantains – a sweet-savory dish that features thick slices of ripe plantains lightly salted and deep-fried in oil till golden brown. The result is a caramel-like brown crust that is savory-sweet and has a soft and very sweet interior.
Plantains are a traditional treat in many parts of the world – West Africa, East Africa, Caribbean, as well as Central and South America and in some parts of South East Asia. In other words, plantain is cooked wherever they grow. I hope that makes sense?
And because they can be prepared in so many different ways, you’ll never get bored eating them. Bake them into chips, use them as a pizza crust, fry them up as an addition to eggs (or even by themselves). They’re great both sweet and savory.
Plantain is referred to as:
- Allocco in Côte d’Ivoire
- dodo in Nigeria
- Kelewele (Spicy plantain) in Ghana.
- Platanos Maduros in Spanish Language
This particular recipe calls for ripe plantains, the ones that are yellow with lots of dark patches. When I fry this, I don’t add sugar. I only season with a bit of salt. They are perfectly sweet as is, so I really don’t add anything extra. If you like it really spicy, you can try out this amazing spicy fried plantain version called kelewele – You will love it!
What are plantains?
Plantains are closely related to bananas but they are more starchy, hence, they are not eaten raw. They are either Green (Unripe) or ripe.
They’re also as versatile as they are delicious and they pair well with nearly every global cuisine! You can eat them fried, roasted, boiled, mashed, and or baked goods like this bread. They have a flavor profile that can add richness to sweet dishes and heartiness to savory ones. Plantains are the unsung hero of many recipes and you’ll never regret adding them to your kitchen repertoire.
The Unripe ones can be boiled or fried. Likewise, the ripe (yellow) ones can also be boiled but they cannot be made into chips – they will not come out crunchy. However, the ripe ones are best to use for deep frying.
Still confused? I know,…
There is so much confusion around plantains. A lot of times, people tend to have them mixed up. I grew up eating them in their different stages, so let’s see if I can help out a bit. Alright, there is only one kind of plantain but there are 3 colors, depending on its age. The order is green, yellow, then black.
The green plantain can be used just like potatoes. You can boil them, mash them, and fry them. They are rich in starch and they are not sweet but as they age, the starch becomes converted to sugar.
The Green plantain is usually used is for tostones (cut into rounds, fried, mashed, and fried again), it can be steamed just as you would steam potatoes and you can make it into chips – Fried plantain chips or Baked plantain chips.
Then we have the Ripe yellow plantains also known as the Platanos Maduros which are lesser in starch. They become sweet because they are ripe and the starch in them has been converted to sugar. At this stage, they are delicious all on their own—with or without salt. They can be sliced up and fried to make the sweet fried plantains which are great for an unexpected side dish or snack at parties. You can even grill them!
We also have the black plantains which are aged ones. They are the sweetest of the three stages and they are slightly mushy to touch. I like to use this for baking and pancakes – You can see how I used it to make plantain cake here or my favorite breakfast pancakes here.
Personally, I don’t like to use this for frying, though it’s sweeter. However, it tends to absorb more oil at this stage once fried, therefore, I try to stay away from using it in my frying.
I know some people like to fry these black-aged plantains because it’s really sweet. In that case, I will advise you to stay away from deep frying because it absorbs so much Oil. Use a very tiny amount of oil or butter to shallow fry them until they are slightly browned and caramelized on both sides.
How to serve fried plantains
- -It can also be served as a snack
- -It can also be served along with omelet as a full meal.
- -In Central America and the Caribbean. They are often eaten with sour cream, ketchup, mayo-ketchup, or eaten as is.
- -In Africa, dishes like Jollof rice, stewed beans, Fried rice, Fried or Scrambled Eggs, white rice, and many more are often accompanied by fried sweet plantains.
I hope I have been able to help out in a way or two. If you’d like to know more about plantains you can read my thorough write-up on how to cook plantains here. I have also tried to answer a number of frequently asked questions in the article. Enjoy!
- Be mindful of the quantity of salt you add, a little goes a long way,
- Your plantains will not turn out too oily if you use the yellow ones with the dark patches (as seen in the pictures)
- Cooking the plantains requires just watching them as you fry them since it’s always going to be a little different fry time depending on what they look like. You want them to be golden brown not burnt.
- 3 plantains ripe
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups Oil
- Cut the ends of the plantains off and off the skin. slice on the bias into about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Season with salt and mix together.
- Heat the Oil in a medium pan over medium to high heat.
- Carefully add the plantain inside the oil in a single layer (don't overcrowd the Oil).
- Fry the first side for about 3 to 4 minutes. Then flip to the other side and fry for another 3 to 5 minutes or till both sides are golden brown.
- Remove the plantains from the oil and transfer them to a colander.
- Repeat with the remaining plantains if you have more and Serve hot!
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