Plantains are the fruit of the Musa Paradisiaca, a type of banana tree. They are a staple crop in much of Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia and are served boiled, steamed, baked, or fried. Plantains resemble bananas but are longer, thicker and starchier in flavor. As a plantain ripens, its high starch content changes to sugar changing the flavor to something close to a banana. Plantains at this stage can be thinly sliced and fried, mashed or they can be baked until tender and served with roasted meats or vegetables. When a plantain is totally ripe, the peel is almost completely black. Although these plantains might look past their prime, this is when their sugar content is the highest and can be sliced, fried and served on top of ice cream and other deserts.
My first night in San Miguel I got to taste plantains, they were served fried with rice, beans and fried chicken at the local bar. They have a texture similar to McDonalds hash browns the outside is slightly crisp but the rest is soft and chewy. The taste is close to French fries but sweeter, the best way to eat them is with lots of salt and a little bit of lime juice. Fried plantains have quickly become a favorite staple in the valley for the whole group.
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