Boiling plantains -- or platanos, in Spanish -- is one of the more common and simple ways to prepare this starchy, banana-like fruit. A staple in many Latin and Afro-Caribbean cultures, plantains are not sweet, unlike bananas, and must be cooked before eaten. Boiling the plantains is often the first step in making a variety of other plantain-based dishes, such as the Dominican Republic's mangu, where the boiled plantain is mashed with oil, vinegar and onions. Boiled plantains are also simply served as a side dish or added to soups and stews.
Things You'll Need
- Large pot
- Salt (optional)
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. You can add a few dashes of salt for more flavor, if you choose.
Cut the ends off of each plantain with a sharp knife on a clean cutting board. If you need the plantains smaller, cut them into 2- to 3-inch chunks. Keep the peels on the plantains for easy boiling.
Add the plantains to the boiling water and allow them to cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. You will be able to easily pierce the plantains with a fork when they're ready.
Drain the water from the plantains and place them on the cutting board to cool slightly, until you can comfortably handle them. Use the knife to make a small slit in the peels, then use your fingers to remove the peels.
Tips & Warnings
- You can boil the plantains unpeeled if you are boiling hard or unripe varieties that won't fall apart in the water. You'll want to keep the peel on if you are boiling softer, more ripe plantains.
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