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Plantain | How To Cook Plantain The Healthy Way

Updated on September 26, 2014
Plantains are usually bigger than bananas
Plantains are usually bigger than bananas | Source

The Big Size Type Bananas In The Image Above Are Called Plantains or Platanos In Spanish

Plantain - In this hub, I'll show you how to cook plantain, the healthy way. You'll also learn how to pick them when they are ripe and just right at the grocery store.

What Are Plantains, And What Do They Look Like?

Plantains are another variety of bananas that are usually grown in tropical areas. As seen in the image to the right, plantains differ from regular banana fruit in that they are usually bigger and firmer.

Plantains are very nutritious, they are known to be lower in sugar content than regular bananas, and are generally used for cooking. While bananas are almost always eaten raw, plantains should be cooked before it is consumed. Although I have known some to eat a ripe plantain raw. This is not a good practice as raw plantain is not easily digested in that state. So, in this hub we'll consider healthy ways to cook plantain. But first, how does the color of plantain play into how we cook the plantain?

How Much Do You Know About Plantain?


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Green or Yellow Plantain

When cooking plantain, it's important to know that plantain cooks differently depending on whether it is ripe or not. Unripe plantains are usually green in color, while ripe plantain's color vary from yellow to brownish-yellow. The ripe plantain is sweet, firm, and easy to slice, and the skin peels easily.

Green, unripe plantains on the other hand are not sweet, they are a bit hard and skin can prove difficult to peel. However, green plantain are said to contain high level of iron, and is also a preferred substitute for yam in some African culture.

How To Cook Ripe and Unripe Plantain

Most people have seen plantain, but not all know how to go about cooking it. A great number of people don't even know that plantain has to be cooked prior to consumption. Oftentimes, I've had people walked over to me in grocery stores when I've bought plantain and asked me how to cook these nutritious fruit.

The style of cooking plantain varies from one culture to another. Whether they are ripe or not, plantains can be cooked in various ways. There's a healthy option, and there's a not so healthy option of cooking plantain, each will be covered in details in this hub. You can then choose the option that's best for you.

Green plantain slices
Green plantain slices | Source
Ripe plantain slices
Ripe plantain slices | Source

Boiled Plantain

Plantain can be cooked boiled for those who do not fancy the frying method. To boil the green plantain,

  • First rinse the skin to remove any dirt residue.
  • Cut plantain into chunks, about 2 inches apart with skin on.
  • Pour plantain chunks into 2 - 3 cups boiling salted water, cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Drain and remove skin.

When cooked (boiled) the green plantain resembles sweet potato in taste. It can be used as a substitute in some soup recipes that calls for potatoes. Boiling plantain with the skin-on helps to retain most of the nutrients and also keeps it from getting soggy.

Boiling plantain is an healthy way to cook plantain. This method only requires that plantain be cooked in water. No other ingredients is needed, not even the salt, which is optional. Boiled plantain can be alone or with some scrambled eggs and/or stew.

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Fry ripe plantain in oil
Fry ripe plantain in oil | Source
Fried plantain the way I like it, with egg and salsa! Time to devour
Fried plantain the way I like it, with egg and salsa! Time to devour | Source
Yum! What a great way to start the day. Use of images by permission only.
Yum! What a great way to start the day. Use of images by permission only. | Source

Fried Plantain

This is the most popular method of cooking plantain. Though most culture use this method of cooking, more and more plantain lovers are gradually moving away from frying plantain to either roasting, baking and boiling it for health reason.

Plantain can be fried in oil (preferably vegetable oil). To fry plantain,

  • Remove the skin of plantain.
  • Cut plantain into chunks, cubes, or circles. Different people like it different ways/shapes.
  • Set your frying pan or wok on the stove at medium heat.
  • Gently drop plantain pieces into hot oil to prevent oil from splashing which could cause serious burn.
  • Fry plantain for about 5 to 10 minutes stirring or turning occasionally. Remove plantain from hot oil once its golden brown. Remove excess oil from plantain by dabbing with paper towel.

You can serve with scrambled eggs and salsa. This combo of fried plantain and eggs makes a great breakfast meal. It is both a sweet and healthy combination. Fried plantain can also be eaten alone with stew, or as a side dish with rice and beans.

When fried, unripe plantain is very crunchy and is usually eaten as chips. Fried ripe plantain on the other hand is very sweet and soft on the palette. Because of its sweetness, ripe fried plantain or chips are kids favorites and can be easily incorporated into any meal that kids love.

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Roasted/Grilled plantain with peanuts
Roasted/Grilled plantain with peanuts | Source

Rate This Healthy Treat

4.8 stars from 4 ratings of Baked or Grilled Plantain

Instructions for Grilling or Baking Plantain - Open Pit Method

Plantain can also be cooked by grilling or baking. Grilled or baked plantain is said to retain all of its nutrients as nothing is lost as with boiling or frying it. This method of cooking plantain is considered the healthiest of all and preferred by health conscious plantain lovers. It is also an healthy option for weight watchers.

A common method of grilling plantain is by placing peeled plantain on an open pit or grill. This is also called roasting. Plantain is left on an open fire pit until it is golden yellow (fully cooked).

In Nigeria (my native country), roasted plantain is called boli, or bole. In that part of the world, plantains makes a full meal by itself. They can be fried in oil (dodo), cooked by boiling (with skin on), or pounded in mortar and combined with some yam variety to make a fufu like meal (akpu) that is then eaten with soup.

Some people prefer to grill plantain with the skin on while some prefer to have the plantain in direct contact with the coal. A grilled plantain should be well cooked after about 40 - 50 minutes of being on the grill.

Ingredients for Grilled/Baked Plantain

  • 1 - 6 Ripe Plantain, Yellow Firm

Instructions for Oven Roasted Plantain

  1. If you do not have a grill or open charcoal pit, you can roast plantain in an oven.
  2. Peel plantain, but do not cut into pieces as with frying.
  3. Set oven to about 400 to 450 degrees (depending on the oven)
  4. Place peeled, but whole plantain in oven. Bake the peeled plantain in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes, turning occasionally to achieve an evenness in the roasting.
  5. Plantain should be ready to eat after 40 minutes of grilling/baking, or when plantain is golden brown.

If you've never tried plantain before, will you try it based on what you now know from this hub?

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Grilled or Roasted Plantain Is Healthy Plantain

Roasting, or baking plantain in the oven is my preferred method because I don't have to deal with the smoke from the grill or pit and I get the same result, if not better. But, the good part is, whether your plantain in grilled on an open charcoal grill, or roasted or baked in an oven, these methods by far, provides a healthy way to cook plantain. Plus, there's no oil for frying, thus, fat free.

Grilled plantain can be eaten alone as a snack, dipped in butter, with roasted Spanish peanuts (my favorite, seen above), or dipped in salted palm-oil.

Watch How to Cook Platain

Where To Buy Plantain?

Plantain can be found in the produce, fruit and vegetable isles of most grocery stores today. It can also be found at most farmers markets that caters to Eastern Mediterranean Cuisines, and in some Chinese stores. But you will most definitely find plantain in any African store or market.

When buying your plantain, stay away from the overly ripe and mushy ones. The yellow ripe, but firm plantains are better. These are perfect for grilling, frying, and boiling.

Keep a ready supply of plantain at home. They are handy as a quick fix for snacks, for a more elaborate part of your breakfast, or a side dish option. Whichever method you choose to prepare your plantain, one thing is sure, you'll enjoy having plantain as a great addition to your kitchen menu.

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Author: Comfort Babatola - ©2013

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    • naturegirl7 profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 6 years ago from South Louisiana

      I've always wanted to try plantains, but didn't know how to cook them. Thanks for the lesson. Great hub.

    • ournote2self profile image

      ournote2self 6 years ago

      Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing!

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 6 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @ournote2self - My pleasure. Try it sometime. You'll find not only does it look delicious, it taste delicious!

    • Hairybizness profile image

      Peggy 5 years ago from Oahu, Hawai'i

      My co worker gave me a bunch of plaintains from her back yard, and I had no idea how to cook them. Thank you for the tutorials. They are almost all yellow, I have them hanging in my back yard. I will do a hub when I cook them next week.

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Hairybizness - Thanks for stopping by. Glad you find this useful.

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 5 years ago from Ireland

      I must admit I had never heard of plantains before I read this article. From your photos they do look delicious. I love eating bananas so may give this recipe a try too.

      Thanks for SHARING. Voted up and awesome

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @viking305 - I'm so glad you stumbled on this. They are Oh so delicious! They taste even better with fried egg. As a matter of fact, I'm going to have some right now. It's always good to have plantains handy.

      Thanks for your comment and votes.

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 5 years ago from India

      Love banana chips. Have to try the grilled banana soon. Rated as interesting.

    • iruvanti profile image

      iruvanti 5 years ago from U.S.A

      In India green plaintains are treated as a vegetable. We make savory dishes with the green ones and desserts with the ripe ones. Thanks for sharing.

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Yes iruvanti - we also consider it a vetetable in Nigeria. It's used in soup and beans recipes. Our cuisines are really not that different as we also savor lots of spices like you do. It's a small world!

      Thanks for your comments.

    • FreezeFrame34 profile image

      FreezeFrame34 5 years ago from Charleston SC

      I have yet to try a plantain, but this gives me some ideas on how to experiment with them!

      I once bought a green unripe plantain at a store thinking it was a banana. It ripened, but when I tried to peel it, it was super hard; I threw it out; wish I had your hub then!

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @FreezeFrame34 - Now you know what to do next time. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • mishee18 profile image

      Michelle Yap 4 years ago from Philippines

      I do not know if plantains, is what we call "lakatan" or "latundan" here in Philippines. I would try to do some of your tutorials :)

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      I have never tried a plantain.. they look like bananas.. I do not know where to buy them.. but if I do I will know how to cook them thank you

      debbie

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @mishee18

      @dinkan53 -

      Don't know how I missed your comments. forgive me. You are much appreciated for stopping by and commenting. Thank you so much!

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @Deborah Brooks - Plantains or Plantano (in spanish) are very popular with people of spanish descent, also in Africa and other tropical regions. Most grocery store now carry them.

      Thank you for your comment.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Plantains are common and Peru and we just moved to an area where they're very inexpensive. I like them fried (of course) and grilled, but I've never thought to roast them in the oven. I look forward to trying it, thanks! I'm sure they'll be delicious. In Northern Peru, they often boil the green plantains, peel them and then mash them and fry them. This tastes and looks a lot like rice but is much more nutritious.

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @vespawoolf - Fried plantains are everybody's favorite. Just fried some this morning. And yes, they can also be roasted and boiled-mashed-&-fried as you described. Always delicious however it's cooked.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. :)

    • profile image

      cbarbar 4 years ago

      Hi Comfort!

      I love plantains and I have been eating them since I was a child. I love them fried, but recently tried them baked and I love them baked even more. Thanks for the very informative hub post!

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Thanks cbarbar for your comments. Plantains are tasty baked or fried. Just yesterday, I had fried plantain twice, with eggs for breakfast, then with rice and beans for lunch. Always delicious.

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 4 years ago from New Jersey

      Thanks for a new look for plantains. My son is a vegetarian, but the rest of the family is not. He has made plantains, but the only way we knew was to deep fry them when they were very sweet. The boiling and grilling methods are great ideas!

    • jeanjoycee profile image

      Jean Joycee 4 years ago

      wow so yuummeee. Looking very tasty.

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @Jean Bakula - I know lots of people are only familiar with the frying method of cooking plantain. Unfortunately, it's not a very healthy method. But, I must confess, that even I sometimes prefer the added delicious taste of the frying oil.

      I hope your son will find the grilling and baking methods even more delicious. I actually just finish eating a not-too-ripe boiled plantain with eggs and fish for breakfast.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Very well appreciated.

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @jeanjoycee - Yes, it's really yummy. You should try it sometime. Be careful though, it's addictive! Just kidding.

      Thanks for the read and comment.

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      I might try your plantains and eggs and salsa. The combination of sweet, sour and salty sounds delicious. :)

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @iguidenetwork - To try it, is to believe it. Careful though, it's addictive! I'm craving some of those right now.

      Thanks for stopping by, and commenting. Very well appreciated.

    • Kevin Peter profile image

      Kevin Peter 4 years ago from Global Citizen

      Even the ripe plantains can be fried after removing their peels. Before frying, they have to be put in water and then cleaned well. Add some turmeric powder into the water. This gives a yellow colour to the chips. Then dry it well using a dry cloth and then cut in desired shape. Usually thin slices taste good. Then fry it. Before taking the fried chips , pour a mixture of water and salt into it. Add only one or two spoons of this mixture depending upon your salt requirements.

      The boiled plantain tastes very good. Thanks for your useful hub.

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @Kevin Peter - Thanks Kevin for your contribution to this hub. As you rightly said, ripe plantain can be fried. Though I have never heard of plantain being cleaned first before frying, but I'm sure it can be done.

      Thanks for stopping by to read and comment. Very well appreciated. :)

    • thehaplesshostess profile image

      BG 4 years ago from PA

      Not even the produce clerks in grocery stores that carry these can tell you how to prepare plantains, so I've never been brave enough to try them. Thank you so much creating this hub!

    • phildazz profile image

      Allan Philip 4 years ago from Toronto

      How nice of you to write about plantains; I once had an iron deficiency and was told by my physician's nurse to eat lots of plantains. Guess what? It worked, never had a problem since cause I love plantains.

    • profile image

      ignugent17 4 years ago

      Looks good and healthy. I must taste good too. :-)

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @thehaplesshostess - I noticed that too.

      Once a lady behind me at the checkout lane asked the cashier what those are (referring to plantain). She said, "I don't know", and then proceeded to ask me what they were and how to cook them. Everyone around us were tuned in once I started talking.

      Though many people are clueless when it comes to plantain it, but they are always delighted and willing to try it once they get the needed information.

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @phildazz - It really does help with iron deficiency, especially the green unripe plantain. It could be used as a meat substitute (when peeled and cut in chunks) in a collard green soup. That's a double dose of iron right there.

      Girl, I'm glad you don't have that problem anyone! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Very well appreciated. :)

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @ignugent17 - Believe me when I say, it tastes good, it looks good and it's healthy. You'll love it!

      Thanks so much for stopping by, reading and commenting. :)

    • chocomaggie profile image

      chocomaggie 4 years ago

      Hi, loved this hub of yours. I was not aware that plantain can be baked or even grilled for that matter!!! awesome ideas...My hubby is from kerala (India) where deep frying the bananas is a very popular way of cooking them. The dish is called "nool appam" in malayam....it is my favourite too. I am for sure trying out your recipes....

      :)

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @chocomaggie - Here on Hubpages, we learn new things everyday. I'm glad you can now try baking or grilling your plantains. These methods are a healthier option to the frying.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for so much useful information about plantains! I've been hearing a lot about them lately. Your detailed and very interesting hub has convinced me to try them!

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @AliciaC - I'm glad you find this useful and convincing. When you do try them, you'll find that are a very tasty meal/treat. Thank you for your kind comments.

    • Edjanse profile image

      Ambiga Jeyaratnaraja 3 years ago from India

      Oh so much we can do with plantains. Really interesting and a new one. Have to try it out. Love reading more of ur hubs. Voted up and interesting.

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 3 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @Edjanse Plantain is a very versatile fruit that can be cooked virtually in every way possible. Thanks for the votes and comment.

    • Esther  Strong profile image

      Esther Strong 3 years ago from UK

      I have always fried plaintain in the past but have been concerned of the health implications so knowing other ways of cooking them as you've presented here is very useful. Voted up and more.

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 3 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @Esther Strong - I appreciate your taking the time to read and comment. Thank you!

    • Rachael Tate profile image

      Rachael Tate 2 years ago from England

      I love fried plantain but can never get it right when I try it at home. I think it's probably not quite ripe enough when I cook it. Yours looks amazing!

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 2 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Hey Rachael. You're probably right. It maybe wasn't ripe enough. It need to be just right. Like when you bite into it raw, you get that sweet but firm texture.

      That reminds me, I've got some just like that that I need to prepare for breakfast, to eat with some eggs and salsa serving. Thanks for your comment, and have a blessed day!

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