How to Cook Jamaican Plantains

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Plantains are a staple food in Jamaica. They look identical to their cousin, the banana, but their flesh is starchier and firmer. Like a banana, the plantain skin starts out green and changes from yellow to black as it ripens. Plantains also become sweeter as they ripen. They're often cooked and served as a vegetable side dish in Jamaican meals. This versatile food can be cooked in a variety of ways at any stage of ripeness and eaten as a savory side or dessert.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Vegetable oil or butter
  • Large skillet
  • Spatula or tongs
  • Baking sheet
  • Foil
  • Nutmeg
  • Brown sugar
  • Basting brush

Fried Plantains

  • Cut both ends off the plantains. Slit the skin vertically from end to end in several places and remove the peels with a knife.

  • Slice the plantains vertically in thin strips or diagonally in thick chunks. Season them with salt, pepper and cinnamon.

  • Heat vegetable oil or butter in a large skillet on the stove. Wait for the oil to get hot, and lay the plantain pieces in the skillet.

  • Fry the plantains for about 15 minutes, or until both sides are golden. Remove the plantains from the skillet, drain them on a paper towel and allow them to cool before eating.

Baked Plantains

  • Peel the plantains by cutting off both ends. Slit the skin vertically from end to end in several places and remove the peels with a knife. Slice the plantains in thin, vertical strips.

  • Line a baking sheet with foil for an easy clean-up. Lay the sliced plantains on the baking sheet. Brush the slices with butter or olive oil and season them with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and salt.

  • Bake the plantains at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and check them after 30 minutes. Baked plantains are finished when they're golden brown and the brown sugar has caramelized.

Grilled Plantains

  • Choose ripe plantains. Lay them on a hot grill whole with the skins on. Cover the grill.

  • Check the plantains and watch for the skins to rupture. Taste them to determine if they're ready or continue cooking until the flavor is to your liking.

  • Remove plantains from the grill with tongs. Allow them to cool. Peel the skins, slice and eat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make twice-fried plantains by first making fried plantains. Put the fried plantains on a plate and mash them lightly with a potato masher. Fry the plantain patties a second time in the oiled skillet until the outer layer is golden and crispy.
  • Ripe plantains, those that are black or beginning to turn black, are easier to peel than green ones.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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