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Old 02-08-2007, 05:08 AM   #1
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What is a plantain? (split)

Can anyone enlighten me on what a plantain actually is!

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Old 02-08-2007, 07:20 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by thegrova
Can anyone enlighten me on what a plantain actually is!
As far as I know, plaintains are like bananas except that they need to be cooked and have a higher starch content. Here are some pictures of what they look like.

There is however a herb of the same name which is used primarily as a poultice for bee stings, swelling etc.
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Old 02-08-2007, 10:44 AM   #3
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I learned how to make fried plantains from a Puerto Rican friend of mine. The trick is to double fry them.

She peeled & sliced them, then pan-fried them in hot vegetable oil on both sides until they were just lightly browned. Removed them from the pan & allowed them to drain/cool on paper towels. She then, using a flat meat mallet or the side of a large knife, gently crushed/smashed each piece lightly & refried them again on each side to a nice deep golden color. They were crispy on the outside; soft & tender on the inside. Taste is rather potato-like, with a light banana overtone. Underripe ones will be more potato-like; riper ones will be slightly more banana-like.
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Old 02-14-2007, 08:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mark Webster
I did work down in Key West for a few years and had the opportunity to enjoy many cuban dishes. Roasted pork is a great entree with some yellow rice, black beans and of course fried plantains.

A great Cuban sandwich can be made with a couple slices of roasted pork, sliced ham, a white melting cheese (even a provolone), a dill pickle slice and a couple drops of hot sauce. Use a sour dough bread or another hearty bread, brush with melted butter and grill.

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Strange thing is, I have a feeling the "Cuban Sandwich" originated in the States...
To fry plantains, you have to make sure they're ripe. That means the skin on the outside is almost, or completely, black. Peel off the skin and slice the plantain in two or three slices. Fry in a little oil - they're delicious; called " Tajadas" over here.
You can also roast them. Peel them, sprinkle a little salt and cinnamon on them, and bake in the oven till done.
Alternately, if you find GREEN plantains, you slice them into thick, 3/4 inch rounds and fry them both sides for a few minutes. Take them out and drian for five minutes. Salt them, then squash them a little until they're flatter. Re-frey until golden brown and you have "Tostones" or "Patacones", as they're known in Colombia!
OR you can slice your green plantains really thin on a mandoline, deep fried and get "tostonsitos"!!
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Old 02-14-2007, 11:26 PM   #5
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Here is a basic definition from Wikipedia - but in 25-words or less ... it looks like a banana but has the starch content and texture of a potato ... and is usually cooked like a potato.
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Old 02-15-2007, 12:13 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by thegrova
Can anyone enlighten me on what a plantain actually is!
thegrova, if you can wait, I can elaborate a little more. I just finished writing a column about unusual fruits in the market. Plantains was one of the fruits I discussed.

It's late for me and I will post tomorrow.
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Old 02-15-2007, 06:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking
I learned how to make fried plantains from a Puerto Rican friend of mine. The trick is to double fry them.

She peeled & sliced them, then pan-fried them in hot vegetable oil on both sides until they were just lightly browned. Removed them from the pan & allowed them to drain/cool on paper towels. She then, using a flat meat mallet or the side of a large knife, gently crushed/smashed each piece lightly & refried them again on each side to a nice deep golden color. They were crispy on the outside; soft & tender on the inside. Taste is rather potato-like, with a light banana overtone. Underripe ones will be more potato-like; riper ones will be slightly more banana-like.
This is the way I've always heard of preparing them. Not sure I'd like them, but they are readily available around here now with the large Hispanic/Latin population.
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Old 02-16-2007, 12:20 PM   #8
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Sorry, thegrova, my promise to respond yesterday got caught in a time crunch. The column I wrote was a walk through the produce department to look at unusual and often not tried fruits and veggies. At any rate, here is part of an article I just finished writing:

Okay, let’s move further along. Oh, I just passed the bananas. Nothing so unusual about them, but right next to these friendly fruits is something not so familiar. Plantains. Even though they are the cousins to bananas and may look like bananas, they’re very different.

They are firmer than bananas and the sugar content is lower. They can be used when they are green and not fully ripe and starchy. They will taste somewhat like potatoes at this stage. Or, used when overripe and sweeter. There’s really no middle of the road when it comes to plantains.

Most often plantains are cooked before they are eaten, but very, very ripe plantains can be eaten raw. Ripe plantains are delicious mashed and added to bread puddings, in pancake batter, muffins or as a substitute for bananas in banana bread.

Green plantains are very firm and can be sliced thin and fried like potato chips. They are a common treat in Puerto Rico and Cuba. They can also be sliced and fried when they are slightly riper and sweeter. If you don’t choose to make your own chips you can usually find them in ethnic markets. The more starchy chips will be labeled “plantain” chips. Those made with riper plantains will be called “banana” chips.

When choosing plantains, you can tell how ripe they are by their firmness and the color of their skin. The least ripe ones will be very firm and will have yellowish skins. Their skins can vary from this golden tone to green, all the way to black. By the time they are black, they are quite ripe and ready for puddings, breads and the like.

How about giving these unusual fruits a try? I think some fried plantain chips sounds yummy. I’ll bet they would be delicious dipped in some salsa.


Hope this helps. Sorry for the delay in responding.
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Old 02-16-2007, 12:27 PM   #9
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a plantain is a banana
the yellow bananas that we refer to as bananas are actually "dessert bananas" (the yellow Cavendish species is most common)
a plantain is also called a "cooking banana"
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Old 02-16-2007, 01:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poutine
a plantain is a banana
the yellow bananas that we refer to as bananas are actually "dessert bananas" (the yellow Cavendish species is most common)
a plantain is also called a "cooking banana"
Encyclopedia

I think you have it backwards. A banana is a type of sweet or dessert plantain. Other plantains are not as sweet and must be cooked before eating, this they are referred to a cooking plantains.
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