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10 Uses For Plantain Bananas
Fried plantains are delicious, but you can use both ripe plantains and green plantains in recipes apart from their use in delicious and popular fried plantain recipes and sweet plantain fritters recipes. Listed below are 10 ways on how to use plantains or cooking bananas in your daily food recipes.
Plantains are also known as cooking bananas, with lots of nutrients and health benefits. Here is how to use plantains whether you have the green plantains or the ripe plantains. Read about the ten easy ways to include these delicious fruits in your food recipes, based on the South Indian ways, where it is widely used as a staple food.
Plantains are starchy fruits and they are quite different compared to the normal bananas in texture, nutrients and taste. There are also few differences on how we use them in food. The main advantage with using plantains in our diet is that they can help us reduce the use of grains, as these fruits contain lots of healthy, natural starch. Plantains also have good amount of calories, so including them in the diet will keep you full. In fact, a medium plantain is said to have 122 Calories, so adding cooking bananas or plantains to your diet can help you reduce the use of other starchy foods.
Plantains are staple foods in South India. It is popularly known as ethakka or ethappazham in Malayalam. The uses of plantains or cooking bananas range from making natural and healthy baby food to making crispy and tasty banana chips.
Here you can read about the 10 popular and traditional South Indian ways to inclue plantains in your diet. This include uses for ripe plantains, uses of raw plantains, uses of plantain peels, and use of plantains to make plantain flour.
1. Ripe plantains can be used as delicious, natural and healthy desserts
Ripe plantains are very sweet and perfect to be used as a natural and delicious desserts, just like the normal bananas. However, they are more filling, as they are usually quite bigger than normal bananas and they are also more starchy. They contain more calories than the usual bananas. Some people prefer to slice the ripe plantains evenly in round circles, and then sprinkle with little sugar, to make it more sweet. I prefer the natural sweetness of the plantains, so I love eating them as they are.
2. Steamed Plantains
Plantains have got plenty of resistance starch which is healthy, but in some people this may cause digestive issues when used raw, just like the use of usual bananas that are not very ripe. A solution to this problem is to steam the fruits. They also turn more sweeter once steamed.
Ripe plantains are perfect to be steamed because of their starchy texture. This is one of the simplest and popular breakfasts in many South Indian homes.
3. Stir fry the unripe, raw plantains
You can stir fry the unripe, raw plantains and they make a healthy and tasty side dish for rice. To prepare the stir fry, sauté the plantain slices in little oil for few minutes. After sprinkling little water and salt, cover and cook in low heat for few minutes until they are quite soft and cooked. This will be usually done in about five minutes. Check in between to make sure the pieces are not burnt.
You can combine plantain slices with other vegetables like potatoes, carrots or eggplants to make a mixed vegetable stir fry. If you like, you can also include the peels of the green, unripe plantains to the stir fry, as they are also edible, tasty and healthy.
4. Stir fry the ripe plantains with little ghee or butter
This is one of the popular kids' snacks, and they are sweet and healthy. To prepare this, cut the ripe fruit in slightly thick and evenly round slices. Coat the slices with little ghee or melted butter and stir fry in a heated pan for few minutes. Turn the slices in between, so that it will be crispy on both the sides. Once the slices starts turning brown, you can remove from the pan and serve!
Ghee has a distinct flavour which goes very well desserts and it is very widely used in India.
5. Add ripe plantains to desserts
It is common in India to use ripe plantains to prepare desserts. Instead of usual bananas, you can try adding pureed ripe plantains in desserts. You can either puree the ripe plantains or mash the steamed bananas, to make it easier to be added to the desserts.
Two popular Indian desserts prepared using these fruits are banana kheer and also banana halwa. There is also a popular steamed dessert made using slices of ripe plantains, cashew nuts and eggs.
The use of ripe plantains can make the desserts naturally more sweet without adding much white sugar.
6. Gluten free Green Banana flour
Green plantains are traditionally used to prepare a gluten free flour which is also nutritious. To prepare the flour, it is ideal to use plantains that are closer to ripening, since the resulting flour will be naturally sweet.
Since banana flour is a grain free food, it can be used by those who have gluten problems. It is popularly used in South India to prepare baby cereals. You may also try adding them to baked goods like cakes, muffins etc.
If you wish, you can buy green banana flour from the below link.
7. Sweet Plantain Fritters
Ripe plantains are used to prepare banana fritters, which are sweet and soft inside, yet crispy on the outside. This is one of the most popular tea time snacks in Kerala and they are known by the names ethakka appam, ethakkappam, pazham pori, vazhakkappam or vazhakka appam.
Ripe plantains should be cut lengthwise, and if you want smaller pieces, you can again cut them again in half to make it four equal pieces. Dip them in batter prepare using flour, salt and water and deep fry to prepare the delicious fritters.
Fritters made from plantains tend to be more tasty and firm compared to the usual banana fritters.
8. Crispy And Crunchy Plantain chips
Plantain chips known as ethakka upperi made of green plantains are one of the most popular snacks in Kerala. The green plantains (the ones close to ripening stage) are sliced evenly in round shape, and then they are deep fried in coconut oil. Sometimes plantains that are almost ripe and sweet are also used to make chips, which can result in more sweeter chips. However, green bananas are more commonly used for making the chips, by sprinkling little salt water in the slices and deep frying them in coconut oil, so that the resulting chips are very much crispy and crunchy making it a favourite of anyone who loves chips.
Plantain chips are available to buy from Amazon.
9. Green plantains can be used to prepare savoury fried snacks
Green plantains are also used to prepare deep fried savoury snacks like bajis which are popular in India.
Plantains have to be cut lengthwise, then again cut each piece in to halves, so that you have four equal parts. You can cut them even smaller if you wish. The plantain pieces are then dipped in a batter made of chickpeas flour, salt and spices, and then deep fried.
10. Add plantains to healthy vegetable stews
Cooking plantains are starchy like potatoes and they blend well with vegetables. After removing the peels, you can add the plantain slices to vegetable stews and similar dishes. The peels are edible, but they taste good when used in stir fries. So it is better to remove the peels if you decide to use the plantain pieces in stews.
A healthy, delicious and popular South Indian dish where plantains are used commonly is known as 'Aviyal' where all the vegetables are cooked in coconut milk along with spices, salt and yogurt.
As we have seen now, both green and ripe cooking plantains can be enjoyed in a number of ways. Most of them are healthy dishes, but some of them are deep fried, yet very delicious.
If you want to share the use of cooking plantains in any other vegetarian dishes, please feel free to share it in the comment section!
Do you include cooking plantains in your diet?
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- Banana Fruit Flour: Highly Nutritious And Gluten Free
Flour made from green banana fruits is traditionally used in India to prepare baby food. The flour is gluten free and it is very healthy too.