Sometimes there is nothing better than fried plantains, especially for a simple breakfast.
All across West Africa fried plantains are served as snacks or starters and as a side dish to foods such as jollof rice, roast chicken or grilled fish. Sometimes they are served as the mains to mop up some peanut stew or bean stew.
In Sierra Leone, vendors sell fried plantains as part of the popular street staple ‘fry fry’. Imagine a sandwich stuffed absolutely full of plantains, fish, eggs, pancake etc all topped up with a spicy onion gravy. Oh, the memories.
Freddy thought that plantains looked like big bananas. So much so, that I once found him sternly telling off our miserable looking banana loving mini chef for not eating the ‘banana’. Guys, that is like eating bread dough instead of bread.
He’s not the only one left a bit confused by plantains. If you’re not a plantain aficionado, it’s easy to misunderstand that strange, banana-like fruit. (Yeap, plantains are a fruit… a designation that causes some to scratch their head because when plantains are green, you use them like a starchy vegetable. I am just adding to the confusion, aren’t I?) A plantain is certainly not a banana for many reasons, but here is one: when a banana peel is black, the banana is rotten. A black-peeled plantain? At its peak ripeness.
Types of Fried Plantains
Plantains are indeed special and pretty versatile too. How versatile? There are three types of fried plantains, and each is unique with its own special texture and flavour. Try plantains in their various stages of ripeness till you find what works for you.
Fried Green Plantains (Savory Plantains)
Fried green plantains are unripe, but they can still be cooked with as you would a starchy vegetable. Fried green plantains are fried twice, and they are crispy but not sweet.
Fried Yellow Plantains (Sweet Fried Plantains)
Yellow plantains are firm and sweeter. Fried yellow plantains are my favourite type of fried plantains as they are sweet but not too much.
Fried Ripe Plantains (Very Sweet Fried Plantains)
When a plantain’s peel turns black, that plantain is ripe as can be. Those in the dark about the delight of plantains will turn their nose up at a black-peeled plantain, but you, plantain aficionado, will not be fooled. Fried ripe plantains result in very sweet fried plantains.
How to peel plantains and cut them
If you’re wondering how to peel plantains, let me begin by telling you what not to do.
The worst way to peel a plantain: like it’s a banana. If you do this with a green plantain, the end result will be a plantain covered with large pieces of peel that have held on for dear life.
If you do this with a yellow or black plantain, the end result will be a mess (especially with black-peeled plantains).
How to peel plantains the right way: on a chopping board, use a sharp knife to cut off each end. Next, while firmly holding the plantain, slit the peel lengthwise with the tip of your knife along each seam. (Only go as deep as the peel.)
Making Easy Fried Plantains
For this recipe, I prefer my plantains firm and yellow to create sweet fried plantains that are sweet enough but not syrupy sweet.
Peel and slice plantains, and sprinkle some salt on both sides.
Fry one side of the plantains till golden brown, then turn over and fry on the other side.
(The second side will cook much quicker, so keep an eye on your plantains. A ruined plantain is a tragedy.)
Remove plantains from oil and drain on kitchen paper.
So please try this fried plantains recipe and please leave a comment below about how you like yours. Are you a sweet fried plantains type? Or a starchy savory plantains type? Or somewhere in-between?
Ok enough chat from me. So here is how to make fried plantains. Please do try them and if you do make them, then please do tag #recipesfromapantry on Instagram or Twitter so that I can pop over and have a look. It is really, really awesome for me when you make any one of my recipes. You can also share it on my Facebook page.
Thank you for reading my sweet fried plantains recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue dreaming up recipes, traditional African recipes, African fusion recipes, Sierra Leone recipes, travel plans and much more for you.
- 2 plantains
- Salt to taste
- 6 tbsp of oil for frying or more depending on the size of your pan
- Peel the plantains and cut into slices.
- Sprinkle some salt on both sides.
- Put enough oil in frying pan so that the oil comes up to about a 3rd of each slice of plantain when they are in.
- Heat the oil until when you put a piece of plantain in, it sizzles.
- Put in the plantain slices.
- Fry on one side till golden and turn over and fry on the other side.
- The second side cooks a lot quicker than the first side so keep an eye on this.
- You might need to reduce the heat on the plantains as well after turning the slices.
- Remove plantains from oil and drain on kitchen paper.
- If frying plantains in more than one batch keep the first batch in an oven on warm.
- Serve immediately.
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