Plantain

Plantain

Plantain is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa. The fruit they produce is generally used for cooking, in contrast to the soft, sweet banana (which is sometimes referred to as the dessert banana).

Plantains on Sale

Plantains on Sale

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 100g

Amount Per Serving
Calories 1.30 Calories from Fat 3.33
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.37 g 1%
Saturated Fat 0.143 g 1%
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 4 mg 0%
Potassium 499 mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 31.89 g 11%
Dietary Fibre 2.3 g 9%
Sugars 15 g
Protein 1.3 g 3%

Vitamin A   1127 IU 23%
Folate   22 mcg 6%
Vitamin C   18.4 mg 20%
Vitamin D   0 IU 0%
Calcium   3 mg 0%
Iron   0.6 mg 3%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

In some countries (including here in Australia), there is a clear distinction between cooking plantains and dessert bananas, but in other countries, where many more cultivars are consumed, the distinction is not made in the common names used there. A subgroup of plantain cultivars may be distinguished as “true” plantains.

North America was first introduced to the fruit as “banana plantain”, and in the United States and Europe “banana” generally refers to that variety. The word “banana” is sometimes used to describe other plantain cultivars, and names may reflect local uses or characteristics of cultivars: cooking plantain, banana plantain, beer banana, bocadillo plantain, etc.

Plantains are classified formally as Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana or hybrids Musa acuminata × balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The archaic scientific name Musa paradisiaca is no longer used. Most plantains come from the hybrid AAB and ABB Cultivar Groups.

All members of the genus Musa are indigenous to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and Oceania, including the Malay Archipelago (modern Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines) and Northern Australia.

Plantains are a major food staple in equatorial Africa and Andean regions. Their attractiveness as food is that they fruit all year round, making them a more reliable all-season staple food. This is particularly important for communities living in mountains or forests with inadequate food storage, preservation and transportation technologies.

Description

Plantain tends to be firmer and lower in sugar content than “dessert” bananas. Bananas are almost always eaten raw, while plantains tend to be cooked or otherwise processed, and are used either when green or unripe (and therefore starchy) or overripe (and therefore sweet). An average plantain has about 220 calories and is a good source of potassium and dietary fibre.

Plantains are a staple food in the tropical regions of the world, the tenth most important staple that feeds the world. Plantains are treated in much the same way as potatoes and with a similar neutral flavour and texture when the unripe fruit is cooked by steaming, boiling or frying.

Plantains fruit all year round, which makes the crop a reliable all-season staple food, particularly in developing countries with inadequate food storage, preservation and transportation technologies. In Africa, plantains and bananas provide more than 25 percent of the carbohydrate requirements for over 70 million people.

See also : Plantain Nutrition
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Uses of Plantain as food

Various parts of the plantain plant have been consumed as human food since prehistory.

Steamed, boiled, grilled, baked, or fried

In countries located in Central America and the Caribbean, such as Trinidad and Tobago, Honduras and Jamaica, the plantain is either simply fried, boiled or added to a soup.

In Kerala, ripe plantain is steamed and is a popular breakfast dish.

In Ghana, boiled plantain is eaten with Kontomire Stew, cabbage stew or Fante-Fante (fish stew). The boiled plantain can be mixed with groundnut paste, pepper, onion and palm oil to make eto, which is eaten with avocado. Ripe plantains can also be fried and eaten with black eyed beans cooked in palm oil; a popular breakfast dish. Kelewele, a Ghanaian snack, is spiced ripe plantain deep fried in palm oil or vegetable oil.

In the southern United States, particularly in Texas, Louisiana and Florida, plantains are most often grilled.

In Nigeria, plantain is eaten boiled, fried or roasted; roasted plantain, called boli is usually eaten with palm oil or groundnut.

In Guatemala, ripe plantains are eaten boiled, fried, or in a special combination where they are boiled, mashed and then stuffed with sweetened black beans. Afterwards, they are deep fried in sunflower or corn oil. The dish is called Rellenitos de Plátano and is served as a dessert. The peel of the ripe plantain is boiled with sugar and cinnamon to produce a very rich in nutrients beverage called Atol de Plátano.

In Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Cuba plantains are sometimes boiled, mashed and then eaten with fried eggs for breakfast.

Rootstock

The rootstock is full of fibre and starch. It is used for food in many parts. It is also used for making a type of dry curry in Andhra Pradesh.
The rootstock which bears the leaves is soft and full of starch just before the flowering period, and it is used as food in Ethiopia; the young shoots of several species are cooked and eaten.

The Difference Between Plantains and Bananas
PLANTAINS BANANAS
  • Starchy
  • Used as a vegetable
  • Longer than bananas
  • Thicker skin
  • Resemble green bananas, but may be green, yellow, or black

 

  • Sweet
  • Eaten as a fruit
  • Shorter than plantains
  • Thinner skin
  • Colour is green when not fully ripe, yellow when ripe

Fruit

Plantains can be used for cooking at any stage of ripeness, and very ripe plantain can be eaten raw. As the plantain ripens, it becomes sweeter and its colour changes from green to yellow to black, just like bananas. Green plantains are firm and starchy, and resemble potatoes in flavour. Yellow plantains are softer and starchy, but sweet. Extremely ripe plantains have softer, deep yellow pulp that is much sweeter than the earlier stages of ripeness.

Plantains in the yellow to black stages can be used in sweet dishes. Steam-cooked plantains are considered a nutritious food for infants and the elderly. A ripe plantain is used as food for infants at weaning; it is mashed with a pinch of salt and is believed to be more easily digestible than ripe banana.

In the South Indian state of Kerala, the large ripe yellow fruits of a local variety called Nendran are common in displays in wayside shops. A single ripe banana is a convenient and filling snack for travelers. A popular snack that goes by the name Pazham Pori is made by deep frying slices of the banana (along the length) dipped in a thin batter of refined wheat flour or maida. Also popular is a preparation in which chunks of the ripe banana is sauteed with ghee (clarified butter).

The juice from peeling the plant can stain clothing and hands, and it can be very difficult to remove.

Dried flour

Plantains are also dried and ground into flour; banana meal forms an important foodstuff, with the following constituents: water 10.62%, proteins 3.55%, fat 1.15%, carbohydrates 81.67%, and ash 3.01%.

Dried plantain powder is mixed with a little fennel seed powder and boiled either in milk or water to feed small children till the age of one year in southern parts of India.

Drink

Plantain fruit can be brewed into an alcoholic drink, such as banana beer and banana wine. In Peru, plantains are boiled and blended with water and sugar to make Chapo Juice.

Plantain chips

Plantain chips

Chips

After removing the skin, the unripe fruit can be sliced (1 to 2 mm thick) and deep-fried in hot oil to produce chips.

This thin preparation of plantain is known as tostones or plataninas in some of Central American and South American countries, platanutres in Puerto Rico, mariquitas or Chicharitas in Cuba and Chifles in Ecuador and Peru. In Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, tostones refers to thicker twice-fried patties (see below).

In Colombia they are known as “Platanitos” and are eaten with Suero atollabuey/Suero Costeñoas a snack. Tostada refers to a green, unripe plantain which has been cut into sections, fried, flattened, fried again, and salted. These tostadas are often served as a side dish or a snack. They are also known as tostones or Patacones in many Latin American countries.

In Haiti, these slices are referred to as bannan fris. When sliced thinly along the long axis of the fruit, the chips are referred to as Chicharritas or mariquitas. Both dishes are very popular as snacks and appetisers.

In Guyana and Ghana they are called “plantain chips”.

In Ecuador and Peru, they are called Chifles.

Chips fried in coconut oil and sprinkled with salt, called Upperi or kaya varuthathu are a popular snack in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. They are an important item in Sadya, a vegetarian feast prepared during festive occasions. The chips are typically labeled “plantain chips” when they are made of green plantains that taste starchy, like potato chips.

In Honduras, they are called tajadas. If the chips are made from sweeter fruit, they are called banana chips. They can also be sliced vertically to create a variation known as plantain strips.

Plantain chips are also a popular treat in Jamaica, Ghana, Nigeria (where it is called ipekere by the Yorubas), and other countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, Honduras, Ecuador, Guyana, India, the United States and Peru. They are also popular in other Caribbean communities.

In the southern Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, where banana plants are commonly grown, plantain chips are an industry. In Kerala, different types of plantain are made into chips. They are usually cut thick, fried in coconut oil and seasoned with salt and/or spices. Sharkaravaratti is a variety of chips which is coated with jaggery, powdered ginger and cumin. In Tamil Nadu, the ultra thin variety made from green plantains is common. Unlike in Kerala, coconut oil is not used for frying. These chips are typically seasoned with salt, chilli powder and asafoetida.

In the western/central Indian language Marathi, the plantain is called rajeli kela (राजेळी केळ) (literally meaning king-sized banana), and it is often used to make fried chips.

Plátanos maduros

After removing the skin, the ripened fruit can be sliced (between 3 mm and 2 cm thick) and pan fried in oil until golden brown or according to preference. In the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras (where they are usually eaten with the native sour cream) and Venezuela, they are also eaten baked in the oven (sometimes with cinnamon). Only salt is added to green plantains.

Plátanos maduros are a favourite in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Peru, Colombia, Cuba, Suriname, Puerto Rico (where they are called amarillos), Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and most of the English-speaking Caribbean (although just called plantain), Nicaragua and in Venezuela.

In Costa Rica, they are sprinkled with sugar. In western Nigeria, fried, sliced plantains are known as dodo, and in Cameroon, they are known as missole.

In Venezuela, the ripe fruit is cut lengthwise, 3–4 mm thick, and fried until golden and sticky, as a very popular side dish called tajadas; they are an integral piece of the national dish, pabellon criollo. And in Ghana as well, it is used for fufu, chips, and a whole lots of other food preparations.

Arroz a la Cubana

Arroz a la Cubana

Banana Cue, Turrón and Arroz a la Cubana

In the Philippines, Banana Cue is a popular snack. The portmanteau ‘Banana cue’ may be a misnomer as it is not really cooked in a skewer over hot embers like a barbecue. Rather, the peeled flesh of an under ripe plantain is fried in hot oil over medium fire before it is held in a skewer ready for sale. There are two ways to prepare a banana cue. One way is to fry the peeled banana in oil with some amount of brown sugar thrown in to caramelize the flesh. Another way is to fry the flesh in oil until done. When done, they are scooped out of the cooking pan and placed on a dripping pan to allow the oil to drip, before a generous amount of refined sugar is sprinkled over them. A variant from Mindanao, known as Ginanggang, is different in that it is actually grilled over charcoal.

Philippine plantains (called Saba or Cardaba Bananas) are much smaller than the Latin American varieties, usually around 10 – 12 cm and somewhat boxy in shape. They are eaten mostly in their ripe stage as a dessert or sweet snack, often simply boiled, in syrup, or sliced lengthwise and fried, then sprinkled with sugar. They are also quite popular in this fried form (without the sugar) in the local version of the Spanish dish, Arroz a la Cubana, consisting of minced picadillo-style seasoned beef, white rice, and fried eggs, with fried plantains on the side. In addition, there is the equally popular merienda snack, Turrón, where ripe plantains are sliced and then wrapped in lumpia wrapper (a thin rice paper) and deep-fried. Turron is then finished off with a brown sugar glaze.

The traditional South American style large plantains (grown in the Southern Philippines) are now increasingly available in local Filipino markets.

Ash plantains

Sri Lanka’s ash plantains called alu kesel (අළු කෙසෙල්) are generally used for cooking. On some occasions, they are used in Ayurvedic medicine. Plantain flower also called as kesel mala (or kehelmala or kesel muwa).

Tajadas

In Honduras, Venezuela and Central Colombia, fried ripened plantain slices are known as Tajadas. They are customary in most typical meals, such as the Venezuelan pabellón criollo. The host or waiter may also offer them as barandas (guard rails), in common slang, as the long slices are typically placed on the sides of a full dish, and therefore look as such. Some variations include adding honey or sugar and frying the slices in butter, to obtain a golden caramel; the result has a sweeter taste and a characteristic pleasant smell. The same slices are known as amarillos and fritos maduros in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic respectively.

In Honduras, they are a popular takeaway food, usually with fried chicken, though they are also regularly eaten at home. They are popular chips sold in pulperias (minimarkets). In Panama, tajadas are eaten daily together with steamed rice, meat and beans, thus making up an essential part of the Panamanian diet, as with Honduras.

By contrast, in Nicaragua, tajadas are fried unripened plantain slices, and are traditionally served in a fritanga or with fried pork, or on their own on green banana leaves, either with a cabbage salad or fresh cheese.

On Colombia’s Caribbean coast, tajadas of fried green plantain are consumed along with grilled meats, and are the dietary equivalent of the French-fried potatoes/chips of Europe and North America.

Tostones being fried for the second time.

Tostones being fried for the second time.

Tostones, Patacones and Tachinos

See also: Tostones

Tostones (also known as banana peze in Haiti, tachinos or chatinos in Cuba, platanos verdes fritos or fritos verdes in the Dominican Republic and patacones in Nicaragua, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Peru and Venezuela) are twice-fried plantain patties, often served as a side, appetizer, or snack. Plantains are sliced in 4 cm (1.6 in) long pieces and fried in oil. The segments are then removed and individually smashed down either with a bottle’s bottom side, or with a tostonera, to about half their original height. Finally, the pieces are fried again and then seasoned to taste, often with salt. In some countries, such as Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, the tostones are dipped in creole sauce from chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp before eating. In some South American countries, the name tostones is used to describe this food when prepared at home and also plantain chips, which are typically purchased from a store. In western Venezuela, much of Colombia and the Peruvian Amazon, patacones are very popular. Plantains are again sliced in long pieces and fried in oil, then they are used to make sandwiches with pork, beef, chicken, vegetables and ketchup. They can be made with unripe patacon verde or ripe patacon amarillo plantains. Tostones in the Dominican Republic are once-fried and are thicker than chips. Although there are many names for tostones in almost every Latin country they are still commonly called tostones in all of Latin America. Mexico and Puerto Rico are the only two that only call tostones by its true name.

Fufu de platano

Fufu de platano is a traditional and very popular lunch dish in Cuba. It is a fufu made by boiling the plantains in water and mashing with a fork. The fufu is then mixed with chicken stock and sofrito, a sauce made from lard, garlic, onions, pepper, tomato sauce, a touch of vinegar and cumin. The texture of Cuban fufu is similar to the mofongo consumed in other Caribbean areas, but it is not formed into a ball. Fufu is also a common centuries-old traditional dish made in Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and other West & Central African countries. It is made in a similar fashion as the Cuban fufu, but is pounded, and has a thick paste, putty-like texture which is then formed into a ball. West African fufu is sometimes separately made with cassava, yams or made with plantains combined with cassava.

Yo-yo

In Venezuela, a yo-yo is a traditional dish made of two short slices of fried ripened plantain (see Tajadas) placed on top of each other, with local soft white cheese in the middle (in a sandwich-like fashion) and held together with toothpicks. The arrangement is dipped in beaten eggs and fried again until the cheese melts and the yo-yo acquires a deep golden hue. They are served as sides or entrees.

Chifles

Chifles is the Spanish term used in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador for fried green plantains sliced (1 or 2 mm thick); it is also used to describe plantain chips which are sliced thinner.

Mofongo

Originating from Puerto Rico, and essentially akin to the Cuban fufu, Mofongo is made by mashing fried plantains in a mortar or food processor with chicharrón or bacon, garlic, olive oil and stock. Any meat, fish, shellfish, vegetables, spices, or herbs can also be added. The resulting mixture is formed into cylinders the size of about two fists and eaten warm, usually with chicken broth.

Mofongo relleno, meaning topped with creole sauce rather than served with chicken broth. Creole sauce may contain stewed beef, chicken or seafood poured in a centre crater formed with the serving spoon.

Alcapurria

Alcapurria is a type of savoury Puerto Rican fritter. Although usually consisting mainly of grated green bananas and yautias, they can also contain plantains. The masa (dough) is used to encase a filling of ground meat (picadillo), which are then deep-fried.

Piononos

Pastelon from Puerto Rico

Pastelon from Puerto Rico

A popular Caribbean dish which originated in Puerto Rico is called Piononos, sweet plantain forming a ring stuffed with seasoned ground beef, with and egg and flour mixture covering both open sides of the ring and deep fried.

Piñon

Piñon is traditional from Puerto Rico; similar to lasagne, it uses sweet plantains (amarillitos) to replace the pasta layers. A similar dish called Pastelon is made with layers of mashed plantains.

Cayeye

See also: Cayeye
Cayeye, also called Mote de Guineo, is a traditional Colombian dish from the Caribbean Coast of the country. Cayeye is made by cooking small green bananas or plantains in water, then mashing and mixing them with refrito, made with onions, garlic, red bell pepper, tomato and achiote.

Cayeye are usually served for breakfast with fresh grated Colombian cheese (Queso Costeño) and fried fish, shrimp, crab, or beef. Most popular is Cayeye with fresh cheese, avocado and fried egg on top.

Mangú

See also: Mangú – Mashed Plantains

A traditional mangú from the Dominican Republic consists of peeled green, boiled plantains, mashed with enough hot water they were boiled in so the consistency is a little stiffer that mashed potatoes. It is traditionally eaten for breakfast, topped with sautéed onions and accompanied by fried eggs, fried cheese, fried salami, and/or avocado.

Dodo

Plantain is popular in West Africa, especially Cameroon, Bénin, Ghana and Nigeria; when ripe plantain is fried, it is generally called dodo (dough – dough). The ripe plantain is usually sliced diagonally for a large oval shape, then fried in oil to a golden brown colour. This can be eaten as such, with stew or served with beans or on rice.

In Ikire, a town in Western Nigeria precisely Osun State, there is a special and unique way of preparing plantain chips. This is popularly called Dodo Ikire. Dodo Ikire is made from overripe plantain, chopped in small pieces, sprinkled with chilli pepper and fried in boiling point palm oil. After frying it turns blackish. The fried plantain chips are then stuffed carefully into a special conically shaped woven basket of about 10 centimetres high. This special dodo can have a preservative quality that lasts up to two months without refrigeration.

Boli

Boli is the term used for roasted plantain in Nigeria. The plantain is usually grilled and served with roasted fish, ground peanuts and a hot palm oil sauce. It is very popular as a lunch snack in southern and western Nigeria, for example in Rivers State, Cross River State, Delta State and Lagos states. It is popular among the working class as a quick midday meal.

Matooke

Matooke or Matoke is a plantain dish common in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and eastern Congo. The plantains are peeled, wrapped in the plant’s leaves and set in a cooking pot (Sufuria) on the stalks which have been removed from the leaves. The pot is then placed on a charcoal fire and the matoke is steamed for a couple of hours in water placed in the bottom of the cooking pot. While uncooked, the matoke is white and fairly hard. Cooking turns it soft and yellow. The matoke is then mashed while still wrapped in the leaves, and often is served on a fresh leaf, then eaten with a sauce made of vegetables, ground peanut or some type of meat (goat meat and beef are common).

Pazham pori

Pazham pori – a plantain dish from south India.

Ethakka appam

Ethakka Appam, pazham (banana) boli or pazham pori are terms used for fried plantain in Kerala. The plantain is usually dipped in sweetened rice and white flour batter and then fried in coconut or vegetable oil. It is a very popular snack among Keralites. This is very similar to Pisang Goreng (Indonesian for fried bananas), which is a dessert common to Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Aloco

Plantains are used in the Ivory Coast dish Alloco as the main ingredient. Fried plantains are covered in an onion-tomato sauce, often with a grilled fish between the plantains and sauce.

Use of parts other than the fruit

Plantain flowers

Each pseudo stem of a plantain plant will flower only once, and all the flowers grow at the end of its shoot in a large bunch consisting of multiple hands with individual fingers (the fruits). Only the first few hands will become fruits.

In the Philippines, the plantain inflorescence (particularly those from Saba Bananas), locally known as Puso ng Saging (Banana hearts) are eaten.
In Vietnam, the young male flower, at the end of the bunch, is used in salads. In the cuisine of Laos, the plantain flower is typically eaten raw in vermicelli soups. A type of poriyal/ peretal (dry curry) is made from plantain flowers in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.Thoranis made in Kerala with the end of the bunch (called “koompu” in Malayalam) and is considered to be highly nutritious. In Karnataka, the inflorescence is used to make sweet and sour gojju (a gravy dish).

Plantain leaves are used as plates in several tropical regions of the world. Here is lunch served in Karnataka, a southern state of India.

Plantain leaves are used as plates in several tropical regions of the world. Here is lunch served in Karnataka, a southern state of India.

Plantain leaves

See also: Banana leaves

Plantain leaves can exceed two metres in length. They are similar to banana leaves, but are larger and stronger, thus reducing waste in cooking.

In Latin America, plantain leaves are lightly smoked over an open fire, which makes them more flexible, and improves storage properties, flavour and aroma.

In Venezuela, they are fairly widely available in grocery stores or open air markets and are used as wrappers in hallacas.

In Nicaragua, they wrap naca tamales, as well as vigoron, vaho and other dishes.

In Guatemala, Peru, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia, plantain leaves are usually used to wrap tamales before and while cooking, and they can be used to wrap any kind of seasoned meat while cooking to keep the flavour in. Puerto Rican pasteles are made primarily with fresh green banana dough stuffed with pork, and then wrapped in plantain leaves which have been softened at the fire. Similarly, in Africa, plantain leaves are dried and used to wrap corn dough before it is boiled to make fanti kenkey, a Ghanaian dish eaten with ground pepper, onions, tomatoes and fish.

Traditionally, plantain leaves are used like plates while serving South Indian thali or during Sadya. A traditional southern Indian meal is served on a plantain leaf with the position of the different food items on the leaf having an importance. They also have a religious significance in many Hindu rituals. They add a subtle, but essential, aroma to the dish. In the Indian state of Kerala, a food preparation called ada is made in plantain leaves. Plantain leaves are also used in making karimeen pollichathu in Kerala. In the South Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu, plantain leaves is used to serve food during festivals or special occasions. People use the leaves as a cooking foil for steaming idlis (steamed rice cakes) and kozhukkatais (steamed rice dumplings). It is also widely used as a packaging material for packing food and flowers (though this is now replaced widely by plastics). It has similar usage for certain kinds of food in the Philippines as well.

Plantain shoot

After harvesting the fruit, the plantain plant can be cut and the layers peeled (like an onion) to get a cylinder-shaped soft shoot. In the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, plantain shoot is chopped into fine pieces and made as a salad or a dry curry (often seasoned with coconut and green chillies), or as a wet curry (with yoghurt, red chillies and coconut). Plantain shoot is considered rich in fibres, and is considered as a very good remedy for avoiding constipation. Regular intake of the juice squeezed from the shoot or the shoot consumed as a salad is considered by the locals as a sure cure for various ailments, such as stomach ulcers and kidney stones.

This can be chopped and first steamed, then fried with masala powder, to make an excellent dish. This dish is called posola in Assamese and a distinct part of Assamese cuisine. In Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, a thoran is made from the shoot for auspicious occasions like marriages.
The peeled layers are used by farmers as a binding rope for packaging agricultural produce, such as flowers, betel leaves, etc. The dried stem peels are slit into fine threads and are used for weaving mats, stringing garlands and packaging wrapper. Juice from the stem and the peel have also been used traditionally as a first aid for burns and minor abrasions.

Health benefits of plantains

  • Plantain has more calories weight for weight than in the fruit bananas. 100 g plantain consists of 122 calories, while dessert banana hold only 89 calories. Indeed, they are very reliable sources of starch and energy; ensuring food security for millions of inhabitants worldwide.
  • It contains 2.3 g of dietary fibre per 100 g (6% of DRA per 100 g). An adequate amount of dietary fibre in food helps normal bowel movements, thereby reducing constipation problems.
  • Fresh plátanos have more vitamin C than bananas. 100 g provide 18.4 mg or 31% of daily required levels of this vitamin. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
  • Plantains have more vitamin A than bananas. 100 g fresh ripe plantains contain 1127 IU or 37.5% of daily required levels of this vitamin. In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin A plays a vital role in the visual cycle, maintaining healthy mucus membranes, and enhancing skin complexion.
  • As in bananas, they too are rich sources of B-complex vitamins, particularly high in vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine). Pyridoxine is an important B-complex vitamin that has a beneficial role in the treatment of neuritis, anemia, and to decrease homocystine (one of the causative factors for coronary artery disease (CHD) and stroke episodes) levels in the body. In addition, the fruit contains moderate levels of folates, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin.
  • They also provide adequate levels of minerals such as iron, magnesium, and phosphorous. Magnesium is essential for bone strengthening and has a cardiac-protective role as well.
  • Fresh plantains have more potassium than bananas. 100 g fruit provides 499 mg of potassium (358 mg per 100 g for bananas). Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure, countering negative effects of sodium.

Storage and Selection of Plantain

  • Look for firm, mature, deep green, well-formed plantains that feel heavy in hand. Do not buy overripe, damaged, split fruits, as they stay poor. Once at home, store them, out of the bag, at room temperature for up to 4-5 days.
  • Once ripened, plantains too, like bananas, are very fragile and show decay in short time span.

Preparation and Serving methods

  • Plantains are inedible raw and should be eaten only after being cooked.
  • To prepare, just wash the raw fruit in cold water and mop dry using paper cloth. Using a paring knife trim both ends. Then, cut the fruit into short lengths, split the skin superficially along the ridge and peel the skin gently away from the flesh to get the pulp. Often, the whole fruit may be barbecued with its skin. Otherwise, its peeled flesh may be cut into thin slices, grated, chunks; treated much like potatoes in many traditional African and West-Indian dishes.
  • Plátano can be delicious once cooked and usually served in main dishes as the chief carbohydrate source in many parts of the tropical regions.

Preparation and Serving methods

  • Plantains are inedible raw and should be eaten only after cooked.
  • To prepare, just wash the raw fruit in cold water and mop dry using paper cloth. Using a paring knife trim both ends. Then, cut the fruit into short lengths, split the skin superficially along the ridge and peel the skin gently away from the flesh to get the pulp.
  • Often, the whole fruit is barbecued with its skin on, otherwise, it’s peeled flesh may be cut into thin slices, chunks,or grated ; in many traditional African and West-Indian dishes plantain is treated much like potatoes.
  • Plátano can be delicious once cooked and usually served in main dishes as the chief carbohydrate source in many parts of the tropical regions.

Recipes using Plantain

Aloko

Alloco is a Ivorian snack made from fried plantain.

See our Plantain Recipe Collection for exciting ways to use plantain.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Plantains make delicious savoury recipes, used in place of potatoes in grills, mashed, bake, or fries.
  • In South-Indian Kerala state, Vaazhakka Upperi (plantain chips) seasoned with salt and pepper, is a popular snack.
  • Tostones (plátano, fried twice), prepared in a similar way are again a popular snacks in the Caribbean and Latin Americas.
  • Its flower head (inflorescence) and interior icicle-white, tender stem (vazhai thandu in Malayalam) too are eaten in various kinds of recipes in South-Asian regions.
  • Sopa de Plátano is a popular Caribbean soup preparation that used green platanos, garlic, coriander, and cheese.
  • Atol de Plátano – The riper the fruit, the sweeter the taste of this Caribbean and Latin American cuisine staple. In the case of Atol de Platano, use ripe plantains. You’ll know they are ready to use when the peel turns black. This beverage can be served at any time of day.
  • Mangú – Mashed plantain served with fried onions is a national breakfast dish in Dominican Republic. Mashed platanos are served with rice, eggs, beans, poultry, fish, etc., in these regions.

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