The Wonders of Plantain
by
Minister Paulette Freeman

You, maybe asking what is so special about plantain and why feature them in Food for Thought column.

Firstly, it is interesting to know that plantains can be used in a variety of ways.  But more importantly plantains are rich in Fiber, vitamin A, Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and Iron, they are also a natural diuretic and can help with menstrual bloating and cramp relief, I think we all need to eat more plantain.

Western countries class Africa, the Caribbean and Latin American countries are classed as poor or under privileged, but look at God He has an ingenious way of providing nutritious food in these countries and beyond and one of them is Plantain.

 

Look at these examples

 

Krarko Ghanaian Sweet and Spicy Plantain Fritter

Don’t you dare throw those blackened plantains out, make Krarko instead.  A Ghanaian mother told me no stage of the plantain is wasted, as she handed me one of her countries delicious snacks called krarko, a fritter made with soft blackened plantains. 

When I think of how many blackened plantains never made it to my table, and here I am enjoying plantain in a different way and they are so easy to make.

2 Soft plantains, 1 small diced onion red or white, 1 minced clove of garlic (optional), 1 small chopped scotch bonnet pepper, ¼ of sweet pepper red, yellow or green diced (whichever you like) ½ cup of All purpose flour with tea spoon of baking powder or ½ cup of self raising flour

Salt, Pepper, Oil for frying

In a bowl mash the soft plantain to a pulp, then add the rest of the ingredients, except flour, mix well, then add the flour.

The mixture should be thick enough to drop from the spoon into the hot oil, but not too soft that it takes on oil as it fries.

Once the oil is hot enough, drop them and fry until golden brown, put them on a platter and enjoy the taste of Ghana.

 

Salty, Sweet and Spicy Green Plantains

First remove the skin but do not discard you’re going to need it.  Cuts the peeled plantains into 2 inch discs and shallow fry them on their sides.  

Once they are brown, puts them on paper towel and one by one put them back into their skin, and crush them so they look like discs, you will see the raw bits of the plantains poking out, put them back into the frying pan to finish cooking. 

Now get your salty, sweet and spicy mix ready in a small bowl, half teaspoon of each, salt, cayenne pepper, and soft brown sugar, depending on how many you made and sprinkle with the salty, sweet, spicy mix and watch your tastebuds say wow.  Enjoy this power packed treat eat them whilst they are hot.

 

Green Plantain or Green Banana Porridge

As a child I came downstairs one morning and there was a bowl of brown porridge, I really didn’t want to try it but it was on the table, in those days as a child you didn’t refuse food put on the table, if you did no more food for the rest of the day, hard times.  Well I tasted the porridge and it was delicious, I ate the whole thing and longed for more. 

This porridge is not a quick breakfast but it is worth every minute of the process. 

Before food processors, you would grate the green plantain very fine ready for the porridge. 

Grate the dry coconut add water to draw out the milk, strain it so there is no trash in the porridge. 

But today we have food processors and coconut milk comes in a can both help to lessen the process.

 

Here’s the ingredients for a nutritious breakfast

2 green plantain, Handful of oats (optional), 1 can coconut milk, 2 cups of water, cinnamon stick, 

½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of nutmeg,

½ teaspoon of allspice, Teaspoon of vanilla, condense milk to sweeten once cooked.

Take a large saucepan add 2 cups of cold water add the salted and cinnamon stick water.

Peel and cut the green plantains into chunks put them in the blender, add the coconut milk (optional handful of whole oats) to the blender and puree or liquify. 

Arm yourself with a wooden spoon you will be stirring for a few minutes until everything comes together and thickens, add vanilla, nutmeg, and allspice

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Now leave everything to cook, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan or get overly thick, if it gets too thick add water slowly.

Cook for about 30-45mins.  Remove from heat and add the condense milk to your required sweetness, your porridge is ready, please enjoy.

 

Be adventurous with the humble plantain, I challenge you to create a new family favorite and tell us about it.

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