How to Cook PlantainOctober 9, 2023
If you’re not familiar with plantain, you could easily confuse it with banana. It does however belong to the Musaceae, the banana family of plants, and is closely related to the common banana. Plantains are grown in tropical areas of the world and used in various cuisines. This interesting ingredient in often included in both savoury and sweet HelloFresh recipes. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to cook plantains, and impress your friends and family with this tropical treat.
What is plantain?
Plantains are fruit, but in a similar way to tomatoes, they are cooked and eaten as if they are a vegetable. Unlike common bananas, plantains are not easy to peel and cannot be eaten raw. They must be cooked and can be prepared in a variety of ways.
Cooked plantain is a staple of Caribbean, Central and South American, African, and Southeast Asian cuisines, and is enjoyed in varying recipes around the world.
Plantains are usually inexpensive and provide great nutritional value and delicious flavour. They are a great ingredient to cook with as they are always ready to be eaten, regardless of their stage of ripeness. You can also include them in a huge range of dishes from breakfasts to appetisers and even desserts.
How to cook plantain
There are a number of ways to cook plantain, including frying and baking:
How to fry plantain
To fry plantain:
- Cut the ends off the plantain and peel back the skin.
- Cut into diagonal slices as this gives a larger surface area.
- Heat oil until hot in a frying pan. Fry the plantain on each side for a few minutes until it begins to caramelise. Make sure it doesn’t burn.
How to make plantain chips
Plantain chips are another tasty treat. To make plantain chips:
- Cut plantains into thin slices and soak in a bowl of salted cold water for 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in a heavy pot until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 190°C.
- Drain the plantains from the water and pat dry.
- Fry the slices of plantain in batches, moving them with a fork to make sure they don’t clump together.
- Fry for 30 to 45 seconds or until they become golden and crispy.
- Remove the fried plantains with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Season with salt and/or granulated garlic to taste.
- Allow the plantain chips to cool, and serve.
How to bake plantain
Baked plantain is a great savoury choice, too. For the perfect baked plantain:
- Heat your oven to 200°C.
- Cut off both ends of the plantain and create a slit along the length of each.
- Put the plantain onto a baking sheet, with the cut side facing up.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until tender.
- Open the plantains up and add a teaspoon of butter into each. Add seasonings at this point (chilli flakes and salt work well).
- Place back into the oven and bake again for 10 minutes.
How long should you cook plantains
The length of time you cook plantain depends on the method of preparation.
- For fried plantains, cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
- For baked plantains, cook for 30 to 45 minutes.
- For sautéed plantains, cook for 10 to 12 minutes, turning every few minutes.
- For fried plantain chips, cook for 30 to 45 seconds.
Plantain is a fantastic way to increase your potassium intake. They’re one of the most potassium rich foods on the planet. Plantain is also a good source of magnesium, containing roughly 16% of your daily requirements. Plantains are high in fibre and can boost your immune system. They contain 36% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A, and up to 24% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin B6.
Mimi Morely, the HelloFresh recipe development manager endorses the health benefits of plantain and states that, “Plantain is a great way to enhance the nutritional content of your meals for a healthy, balanced diet. Not only this, but it’s also a fantastic way to try new flavours and cuisines, too!”.
What to serve with plantain
As it’s so versatile, you can serve plantain with many different accompaniments.
Some of the most popular dishes that compliment plantain include:
- Black beans
- Garlic sautéed swiss chard
- Creamed spinach with parmesan cheese
- Puerto Rican chicken and rice
- Creamy mashed potatoes
- Rice and peas
Recipes with plantain
Cooking plantain is simple and easy, like this Spicy Plantain Curry recipe for beginners.
If you’re looking for more easy and delicious cooking inspiration, click here to discover more.