Introducing plantain. Big brother of banana that is quite well known in the tropics but not so much further up north. Being quite low in protein (2.3g protein per medium fruit) it makes a great and easy snack.
Plantain is a bit larger than regular banana. Often they are sold completely green, and in some recipes they have to be green (for boiling for example). The way I like them is fully ripe – yellow with black spots all over. Taste differs deending on the degree of ripeness – solid green plantain is like a potato, fully yellow, no spots, reminds of a starchy banana with firm flesh but chewiness of fruit. Fully ripe plantains’ flesh is pinkish-orange and tastes like slightly tangy pancakes. So flavour wise you have a full spectrum of plain starchy potato-like neutral taste to a sweeter almost dessert side. It takes about 3-4 days to ripen up a green plantain if kept on the counter top in the bowl with other fruit.
You choose what you prefer.
Simplest (and quickest) way to cook a plantain is to pan fry it in a bit of vegetable oil on medium heat:
Make sure you keep an eye on it at all times as it is very easy to burn the slices.
Fried plantains – dust them with a bit of salt and they are good to go. Try them with a cool tangy dip like sour cream or salsa. They are equally nice hot or cold.