Thursday, March 3, 2011

Plantains for Your Membranes – Fried Sweet Plantains for the Winter Blues

According to my sources deep inside the online health community, eating plantains can help fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), or as it's more commonly called, the "winter blues." 

I don't really have issues with S.A.D., and when I do, I usually fight it with beer, but it is nice to have another option.

It may be the tryptophan, a natural mood enhancer, or the high levels of vitamins C, B6, B12, or maybe it's just all that fiber, but whatever it is, I can report anecdotally that I felt pretty happy after eating these golden-browned beauties.

Above and beyond the purported health benefits, I have an even better reason to try plantains: meatless boredom. I like to mix in the occasional meatless meal, but tend to repeat the same old standbys. Plantains are perfect for breaking up that routine. Besides, I bet that some of your have never even tried them before, and that's just not right.

If you live near any kind of large city, especially one with a Latin-American community, you should find these fairly easily. As I mention in the video, you've probably looked at them many times at the store, but were unsure of exactly what they were, or what you should do with them.

I think when paired with a simple plate of black beans and rice, you're talking about a super simple, very frugal, and quite delicious dinner. I really hope you give them a try soon. Enjoy!


Fried sweet plantains ingredients for about 4 portions:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 ripe plantains (peel should be mostly black),
salt to taste
lime wedges, optional

View the complete recipe

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

That looks terrific. Question: when you say it's just black beans and green onions on rice, could you be more specific? These are dried black beans that you've rehydrated overnight and then cooked in the standard beany style? Something quicker? Canned beans?

JollyG15 said...

Looks delicious. Could you please provide us with the recipe for the black beans too? Preferable vegetarian (your worst nightmare!).

Chef John said...

They are just canned BB that I seasoned and smashed a bit.

Chef John said...

btw, I plan on doing a refried black beans video next week!

Ahmetia Campbell said...

I don't think I did anything right when I tried making these a few weeks ago. #1 Problem, they were green. Oh well. Do you think this would work on bananas too if I was looking for something really sweet and desert like?

Ana said...

Yum! I grew up eating fried plantains (platanos). I like them for dessert with cream - use sour cream since don't have crema fresca. I recently introduced them to my daughter and I was so happy to see you show this dish!

Love your blog!

Jamie said...

Hey chef, this isn't about plantains, although my mouth is definately watering right now from that video.
I'm in the market for a truely nonstick pan. Do you have any brand names you'd suggest over the other? I'm willing to spend 100.00 on a good, truely non-stick, 8-10in range, skillet.
Thanks in advance, keep up the super good work on the videos! Can't wait for that refried beans demo.

Chef John said...

i like Analon

Insane in the membrane said...

Is that a Cypress Hill reference ?

Chef John said...

of course! ;)

Audrey Wong said...

I love to try this but I have no idea on how to make the beans and rice :(

philogaia said...

Between your video, Lillian's (which was very fun)and some great comments by readers of South American origin on the comment log for Lillian's video, I think I need to try plantain. Her method of roasting sounded good as well. And now I gone off digging up Salvadoran or Venezuelan recipes to go with it. Oh dear. Here I go again.

Aleph said...

Hey chef john, greetings from venezuela! we make fried ripe plantains sliced thin and call it "tajadas" (pronounced taw-ha-dass)and sometimes it is part of a dish called Pabellón Criollo, which has tajadas, black beans, rice and pulled flank meat. I'm a big fan of your site, and i've also tried some of your recipes with amazing results.

Shreela said...

I'm trying to learn to cook with plantains. I've made plantain chips and we both enjoyed them. I don't remember what stage the plantain was back then.

I bought a green one about a week ago, just to see how long they'll last. Now it's yellow with a few black areas. Oh, I'm storing it in the cabinet. Not sure if storing in the fridge makes it last longer.

Razors Edge said...

I'd like to try this banana but they turn so soft and mushy by the time they sweeten. Doubt this would work...

Really though, even at the big supermarkets, around here... I've never seen plantains. I wish I did because I've seen them on Top Chef..

Guess there isn't much demand for them in Canada :~(

Anonymous said...

I have a question: do you always eat your meals in such a beautifully-plated way? Or do you ever just throw the stuff on there or, better yet, eat KD out of the pot?

Anonymous said...

comment about the bananas: Razors Edge, Canada does have plantains! Go to you nearest No Frills (or local equivalent - my boyfriend is in Edmonton and I think their equivalent is Safeway) and they should be there amongst the fruits. My friends went to Jamaica on their honeymoon and apparently boiled green plantains are a big thing. Keep the skin on, boil em good, then peel the skin. Very mushy and breakfast-y, so I hear.

MissSarahOlivia said...

This was amazing! Made it tonight... so easy and filling and CHEAP!

Ileana said...

Hi Chef, and everyone... =) .. I'm from Venezuela too, and i can't eat my lunch without plantain! Seriously! All of its types are Delicious with cheese and butter... This great fruit can't be eaten without cooking it first! you only do that with bananas...

I prefer to fry them when they're green, and when they're yellow u can fry, roast in the oven (25-35minutes in a 180Celius degrees), or boil them in water with a pinch of salt! ;)

You CAN serve it with ANYTHING..! black beans+rice, meat+rice, chicken(roasted, fried), fish, pasta, lasagna.. ANYTHING... Even with only salad and some cheese of course..

My advise... NEVER forget the cheese.. it's important..! =D

Gloria said...

Chef John,
Thanks for taking the mystery out of plantains. I tried your recipe and it was delicious! Another bonus... my kitchen smelled like
tropical cocoanut for hours afterward. (Go figure...)

Patricia said...

hola chef john, i'm from the dominican republic where we eat platanos almost everyday! so this post is just very close to home for me. its such a unique ingredient which can be used in sooo many ways... thank you so much for all of your wonderful videos!!!

Susy said...

I love Plantains!!!!!!!!
Have you tried Patacones, Chef John?
Please do try them.
They are done by using the green hard plantains. What we usually do back in Colombia is this:

We peel up the green plantain.
Deep fry it a little, until becomes just gold but at the beggining stage of it.
While frying we prepare a mix done with water, salt, and lots of mashed garlic.
Then we remove it.
We place an opened Ziploc, place the fried platain, close the Ziploc, then mash it with a round place. One mashed it will look like a disc, we dont mash it too much coz then becomes crispy, just just a push thru it.
We then throw it in the garlic mixture and mix it well, then fry it again for around 2 minutes until golden.
Remove the plantain disc, and we just eat it with Queso blanco on top of it!! Delicious!!!!

Anonymous said...

make mofongo!