Another shock came a few days ago when I was in the supermarket and a man was looking at plantain as though it were a Martian. As he watched a woman pick some up to buy, he started asking her how to eat them and if you have to cook them. She was Haitian and explaining to him how to make Banane Peze (a Haitian way of double frying plantain, dipping it in a vinegar solution, after the first frying). I then realized what I consider a common ingredient - plantain - is really foreign to some people.
Plantains are high in potassium and Vitamin A, as well as carbs. It's a good vegetable to feed kids who are involved in sports, for a natural energy source. This is why it is very common in tropical places, where much of the population does hard, manual labor. Places like the Caribbean, Central America, Asia & Africa...it's hard work working in sugarcane fields and this natural energy source keeps them going.
Today, I am providing you with two recipes -one utilizing ripened plantain and one using green plantain.
Double frying green plantain is common in many Latin American countries and they are called Tostones. In Haiti, they do it a little different with a vinegar solution, which multiplies the flavor even more. Even though I am half Haitian, I was surprised to realize I have not before posted any Haitian recipes. Here's the first one & will have to post some more soon to replace the guilty feelings for not representing the cuisine of my culture.
Banane Peze(click here for printable recipe)
2 green plantains
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
If you have never before peeled raw green plantain, it is a little difficult. First cut off the ends.
With a small knife, score the peel of the plantain along the natural ridges in the skin. Stick the knife under the skin on one end of the plantain. With your fingers, go along the length of the plantain underneath the skin and the skin will pop off. Repeat on the other sections until all of the skin has been removed.
Slice the plantain into large pieces.
Heat a skillet with oil. Fry the plantain slices about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Remove onto paper towels.
In a small bowl, combine water, vinegar and salt.
For the next step, you can use the flat side of a large knife like a cleaver or wrap a heavy pot (cast iron) in foil and use the bottom of the pot. I have a tool available in Caribbean and Latin American markets called a tostonera. Place the fried plantain slices in the tostonera and press down. Alternatively, place the fried plantain slices on a cutting board and with the cleaver or the cast iron pot, press down until the fried plantain slice is flattened.
Dip flattened plantain slices in vinegar solution for about 10 seconds. Shake off excess liquid and refry in hot oil for a few minutes on both sides, until crispy.
These will be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Serve on their own or with hot sauce. In Haiti, they would either use Picklese or Sauce Ti Malice. Picklese is Habanero Peppers, Carrots & Cabbage which are pickled in vinegar. Sauce Ti Malice is a hot sauce made with the usual hot sauce ingredients & tomato.
And now, the next recipe is the easiest way of making plantain that is common in any Caribbean home and is a guaranteed kid pleaser, full of natural sweetness.
Fried Plantain(click here for printable recipe)
1 very ripe plantain (skin should be black)
Slice plantain on the bias, about 1" thick. Do not slice too thin as they are ripe and soft. If they are sliced too thin, they will disintegrate in the oil.
Heat oil in a skillet, enough for shallow frying.
Fry 1-2 minutes on each side, until browned.
Naturally sweet and delicious!
Some kids like sugar and some like salt..frying plantain is one of those versatile foods that every child will love...and now you have 2 ways of preparing them to satisfy every palate.
For more plantain ideas, check out my recipes for Kelewele, Tatale and Plantain Paneer Kebabs
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#16
...and Srivalli's Kids Delight hosted this month by Smitha
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