Dad it’s getting black! Yup that’s what I heard the last 2 times I purchased plantains with the intention of sharing the simple recipe for fry plantains. I grew up eating fry plantains as a side to many dishes, but my absolute favourite was making sandwiches with these as the filler. I still recall my mom waiting just until the plantains would be so ripe they’d be very close to going black before she cook them. We were told that the more ripe (or quale) they went, the more sweet they would be. So this is exactly what I was trying to achieve, except with my rather busy schedule I tend to forget about them. Not until one of our girls point them out or when those pesky fruit flies appears, do I remember what I was trying to achieve.
For best results allow your ripe plantains to go a bit dark (it will look discoloured) before frying. In the pic below you’ll notice that the plantains I used were ripe, but were only just starting to go “quale” or discoloured.
1-2 ripe plantains
1-2 cups of vegetable oil for frying.
salt – optional
brown sugar – optional
Start by peeling the plantains. Do so by cutting off the ends and then cutting the plantain itself in the middle (as in the picture below).Discard the ends and get ready to peel off the skin and slice for frying.
Then using a small knife, cut through the skin along the length of the 2 pieces. Don’t go too deep as you only want to cut through the skin. Then peel back the skin and discard. Now cut thin strips (about 1/2 cm or little less than 1/4 inch) along the length of the piece of plantain.
The final step is to fry the pieces of sliced plantain. Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently place the pieces away from you to avoid hot oil splashing onto you. Allow to cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side (medium heat) or until it gets to the colour you like (use a fork to flip them over). The darker you allow it to go, it seems to also enhance the natural sugars in it. You’ll also notice that it floats when cooked through.
This is not a dish for the health conscious, since even though you pat dry on paper towels, the plantain tends to soak up a lot of the oil.
I usually sprinkle a little salt over mine and I know people who does the same with brown sugar… but you can enjoy these just the way they are when they cool a bit.
If you’ve ever purchased a rice dish at a Caribbean restaurant in North America you should have come across fried plantains served on the side. The Jamaican spot where I go for my jerk chicken with rice and peas, knows to give me a good potion of fry plantains with my takeout order.
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