In countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, Honduras and Jamaica, the plantain is either simply fried, boiled or added to a soup. In Kerala, ripe plantain is steamed and is a popular breakfast dish. In Ghana, boiled plantain is eaten with kontomire stew, cabbage stew or fante-fante (fish) stew. The boiled plaintain can be mixed with groundnut paste, pepper, onion and palm oil to make eto, which is eaten with avocado. Ripe plantains can also be fried and eaten with black eyed beans cooked in palm oil; a popular breakfast dish. Kelewele, a Ghanaian snack, is spiced ripe plantain deep fried in palm oil or vegetable oil. In the southern United States, particularly in Texas, Louisiana and Florida, plantains are most often grilled. In Nigeria, plantain is eaten boiled, fried or roasted; roasted plantain, called booli is usually eaten with palm oil or groundnut. In Guatemala, ripe plantains are eaten boiled, fried, or in a special combination where they are boiled, mashed and then stuffed with sweetened black beans. Afterwards, they are deep fried in sunflower or corn oil. The dish is called Rellenitos de Plátano and is served as a dessert. The peel of the ripe plantain is boiled with sugar and cinnamon to produce a very rich in nutrients beverage called "Atol de Plátano".
The rootstock is full of fibre and starch. It is used for food in many parts.It is also used for making a type of dry curry in Andhra Pradesh. The rootstock which bears the leaves is soft and full of starch just before the flowering period, and it is used as food in Ethiopia; the young shoots of several species are cooked and eaten.
Plantains can be used for cooking at any stage of ripeness, and very ripe plantain can be eaten raw. As the plantain ripens, it becomes sweeter and its color changes from green to yellow to black, just like its cousin the banana. Green plantains are firm and starchy, and resemble potatoes in flavor. Yellow plantains are softer and starchy, but sweet. Extremely ripe plantains have softer, deep yellow pulp that is much sweeter than the earlier stages of ripeness.
Plantains in the yellow to black stages can be used in sweet dishes. Steam-cooked plantains are considered a nutritious food for infants and the elderly. A ripe plantain is used as food for infants at weaning; it is mashed with a pinch of salt and is believed to be more easily digestible than ripe banana.
In the South Indian state of Kerala, the ripe yellow fruits of a local variety called Nendran are deep fried after dipping in a thin batter of gram flour. This is a staple breakfast in this region of India.
The juice from peeling the plant can stain clothing and hands, and it can be very difficult to remove.
Plantains are also dried and ground into flour; banana meal forms an important foodstuff, with the following constituents: water 10.62%, proteins 3.55%, fat 1.15%, carbohydrates 81.67% and ash 3.01%. Dried plantain powder mixed with a little fennel seed powder mixed and boiled either in milk or water to feed small children till the age of one year in southern parts of India.
Plantain fruit can be brewed into an alcoholic drink. In Peru, plantains are boiled and blended with water and sugar to make chapo juice.
After removing the skin, the unripe fruit can be sliced (1 to 2 mm thick) and deep-fried in hot oil to produce chips.
This thin preparation of plantain is known as tostones or plataninas in some of Central American and South American countries, platanutres in Puerto Rico and mariquitas in Cuba. In Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, tostones refers to thicker twice-fried patties (see below).
In Haiti, these slices are referred to as bannan fris. When sliced thinly along the long axis of the fruit, the chips are referred to as chicharritas or mariquitas. Both dishes are very popular as snacks and appetizers.
In Guyana, they are called "plantain chips". In Ecuador they are called chifles.
In Colombia, a rather sweet variant of plantain chips is called tajadas or maduros, while salty, round, thicker variants are usually called patacones.
Chips fried in coconut oil and sprinkled with salt, called upperi or kaya varuthathu are a popular snack in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. They are an important item in Sadya, a vegetarian feast prepared during festive occasions. The chips are typically labeled "plantain chips" when they are made of green plantains that taste starchy, like potato chips.
In Honduras, they are called tajadas. If the chips are made from sweeter fruit, they are called banana chips. They can also be sliced vertically to create a variation known as plantain strips.
Plantain chips are also a popular treat in Jamaica, Ghana, Nigeria (where it is called ipekere by the Yorubas), and other countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Belize, Colombia, Cuba, Honduras, Ecuador, Guyana, India, the United States and Peru. They are also popular in other Caribbean communities.
In the southern Indian states of Kerala and Tamilnadu, where banana plants are commonly grown, plantain chips are an industry. In Kerala, different types of plantain are made into chips. They are usually cut thick, fried in coconut oil and seasoned with salt and/or spices. In Tamilnadu, the ultra thin variety made from green plantains is common. Unlike in Kerala, coconut oil is not used for frying. These chips are typically seasoned with salt, chili powder and asafoetida.
In the western/central Indian language Marathi, the plantain is called rajeli kela (literally meaning king-sized banana), and it is often used to make fried chips.
After removing the skin, the ripened fruit can be sliced (between 3 mm and 2 cm thick) and pan fried in oil until golden brown or according to preference. In the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras (where they are usually eaten with the native sour cream) and Venezuela, they are also eaten baked in the oven (sometimes with cinnamon). Only salt is added to green plantains.
Plátanos maduros are a favorite in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Peru, Colombia, Cuba, Suriname, Puerto Rico (where they are called amarillos), Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and most of the English-speaking Caribbean (although just called plantain), Nicaragua and in Venezuela. In Costa Rica, they are sprinkled with sugar. In western Nigeria, fried, sliced plantains are known as dodo, and in Cameroon, they are known as missole. In Venezuela, the ripe fruit is cut lengthwise, 3–4 mm thick, and fried until golden and sticky, as a very popular side dish called tajadas; they are an integral piece of the national dish, pabellon criollo. And in Ghana as well, it is used for fufu, chips, and a whole lots of other food preparations.
Banana cue, Turrón and Arroz a la Cubana
In the Philippines, Banana cue is a popular snack. The portmanteau 'Banana cue' may be a misnomer as it is not really cooked in a skewer over hot embers like a barbecue. Rather, the peeled flesh of an under ripe plantain is fried in hot oil over medium fire before it is held in a skewer ready for sale. There are two ways to prepare a banana cue. One way is to fry the peeled banana in oil with some amount of brown sugar thrown in to caramelize the flesh. Another way is to fry the flesh in oil until done. When done, they are scooped out of the cooking pan and placed on a dripping pan to allow the oil to drip, before a generous amount of refined sugar is sprinkled over them. A variant from Mindanao, known as Ginanggang, is different in that it is actually grilled over charcoal.
Philippine plantains (called Saba or Cardaba Bananas) are much smaller than the Latin American varieties, usually around 4-5 inches and somewhat boxy in shape. They are eaten mostly in their ripe stage as a dessert or sweet snack, often simply boiled, in syrup, or sliced lengthwise and fried, then sprinkled with sugar. They are also quite popular in this fried form (without the sugar) in the local dish, Arroz a la Cubana, consisting of minced picadillo-style seasoned beef, white rice, and fried eggs, with fried plantains on the side. In addition, there is the equally popular merienda snack, Turrón, where ripe plantains are sliced and then wrapped in lumpia wrapper (a thin rice paper) and deep-fried. Turron is then finished off with a brown sugar glaze.
The traditional South American style large plantains (grown in the Southern Philippines) are now increasingly available in local Filipino markets.
Sri Lanka's ash plantains (called alu kesel) are generally used for cooking. On some occasions, they are used in Ayurvedic medicine. Plantain flower also called as kesel mala (or kehelmala or kesel muwa).
In Honduras, Venezuela and Central Colombia, fried ripened plantain slices are known as tajadas. They are customary in most typical meals, such as the Venezuelan pabellón criollo. The host or waiter may also offer them as barandas (guard rails), in common slang, as the long slices are typically placed on the sides of a full dish, and therefore look as such. Some variations include adding honey or sugar and frying the slices in butter, to obtain a golden caramel; the result has a sweeter taste and a characteristic pleasant smell.
In Honduras, they are a popular takeaway food, usually with fried chicken, though they are also regularly eaten at home. They are popular chips sold in pulperias (minimarkets). In Panama, tajadas are eaten daily together with steamed rice, meat and beans, thus making up an essential part of the Panamanian diet, as with Honduras.
By contrast, in Nicaragua, tajadas are fried unripened plantain slices, and are traditionally served in a fritanga or with fried pork, or on their own on green banana leaves, either with a cabbage salad or fresh cheese.
On Colombia's Caribbean coast, tajadas of fried green plantain are consumed along with grilled meats, and are the dietary equivalent of the French-fried potatoes/chips of Europe and North America.
Tostones, Patacones and Tachinos
Tostones (also known as patacones in Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador) are twice-fried plantain patties, often served as a side, appetizer, or snack. Plantains are sliced in 4-cm (1.5-in) long pieces and fried in oil. The segments are then removed and individually smashed down either with a bottle's bottom side, or with a tostonera, to about half their original height. Finally, the pieces are fried again and then seasoned to taste, often with salt. In some countries, such as Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, the tostones are dipped in creole sauce from chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp before eating. In some South American countries, the name tostones is used to describe this food when prepared at home and also plantain chips (mentioned above), which are typically purchased from a store. In western Venezuela, patacones are very popular. Plantains are again sliced in long pieces and fried in oil, then they are used to make sandwiches with pork, beef, chicken, vegetables and ketchup. They can be made with unripe patacon verde or ripe patacon amarillo plantains.
Fufu de platano
Fufu de platano is a traditional and very popular lunch dish in Cuba. It is a fufu made by boiling the plantains in water and mashing with a fork. The fufu is then mixed with chicken stock and sofrito, a sauce made from lard, garlic, onions, pepper, tomato sauce, a touch of vinegar and cumin. The texture of Cuban fufu is similar to the mofongo consumed in other Caribbean areas, but it is not formed into a ball. Fufu is also a common centuries-old traditional dish made in Ghana, Nigeria and other West African countries. It is made in a similar fashion as the Cuban fufu, but is pounded, and has a thick paste, putty-like texture which is then formed into a ball. West African fufu is sometimes separately made with cassava, yams or made with plantains combined with cassava.
In Venezuela, a yo-yo is a traditional dish made of two short slices of fried ripened plantain (see Tajadas) placed on top of each other, with local soft white cheese in the middle (in a sandwich-like fashion) and held together with toothpicks. The arrangement is dipped in beaten eggs and fried again until the cheese melts and the yo-yo acquires a deep golden hue. They are served as sides or entrees.
Chifles is the Spanish term used in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador for fried green plantains sliced (1 or 2 mm thick); it is also used to describe plantain chips which are sliced thinner.
Main article: Mofongo
Originating from Puerto Rico and popular in the Dominican Republic, and essentially akin to the Cuban fufu, mofongo is made by mashing tostones in a mortar or food processor with little olive oil and stock. Garlic and pork cracklings, bacon, chicken, shellfish, vegetables, spices, or herbs are also added. The resulting mixture is formed into cylinders the size of about two fists and eaten warm, usually with chicken stock or broth.
Mofongo relleno, meaning stuffed, may contain stewed beef, chicken or seafood poured in a center crater formed with the serving spoon.
Main article: Alcapurria
Alcapurria is a type of savory Puerto Rican fritter. Although usually consisting mainly of yautía, they also typically contain plantains, as well as the possible additions of green bananas and/or other tropical tubers found on the island. The plantains and tubers are mashed into a masa (dough) that is used to encase a filling of ground meat (picadillo), which are then deep fried.
Relleno de maduros
A popular Caribbean dish which originated in Puerto Rico is relleno de maduro, sweet plantain mashed with egg and flour, stuffed with raisins, olives, capers, ground meat and spices, then rolled into a ball and fried.
Pastelon de amarillos
Pastelon de amarillos is a traditional Puerto Rican dish also seen in Dominican cuisine; similar to lasagne, it uses sweet plantains to replace the pasta. The dish in English is known as Puerto Rican lasagne or Latin lasagne.
Main article: Mangú (dish)
A traditional mangú from the Dominican Republic consists of peeled green, boiled plantains, mashed and softened with butter or oil and enough hot water they were boiled in so the consistency is a little stiffer that mashed potatoes. It is traditionally eaten for breakfast, topped with sautéed onions and accompanied by fried eggs, fried cheese or salami and avocado.
Plantain is popular in West Africa, especially Cameroon , Bénin and Nigeria; when ripe plantain is fried, it is generally called dodo (dough - dough). The ripe plantain is usually sliced diagonally for a large oval shape, then fried in oil to a golden brown color. This can be eaten as such, with stew or served with beans or on rice.
In Ikire, a town in Western Nigeria,there is a special and unique way of preparing plantain chips. This is popularly called Dodo Ikire. Dodo Ikire is made from overipe plantain, chopped in small pieces, sprinkled with chili pepper and fried in boiling point palm oil. The fried plantain chips are then stuffed carefully into a special conically shaped woven basket of about 10 centimeters high. This special dodo can has a preservative quality that lasts up to two months without refrigeration.
Boli is the term used for roasted plantain in Nigeria. The plantain is usually grilled and served with roasted fish, ground peanuts and a hot palm oil sauce. It is very popular as a lunch snack in southern and western Nigeria, for example in Rivers and Lagos states. It is popular among the working class as a quick midday meal.
Matooke is a plantain dish common in Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. The plantains are peeled, wrapped in the plant's leaves and set in a cooking pot (sufuria) on the stalks which have been removed from the leaves. The pot is then placed on a charcoal fire and the matoke is steamed for a couple of hours in water placed in the bottom of the cooking pot. While uncooked, the matoke is white and fairly hard. Cooking turns it soft and yellow. The matoke is then mashed while still wrapped in the leaves, and often is served on a fresh leaf, then eaten with a sauce made of vegetables, ground peanut or some type of meat (goat meat and beef are common).
Ethakka appam, pazham (banana) boli or pazham pori are terms used for fried plantain in Kerala. The plantain is usually dipped in sweetened rice and white flour batter and then fried in coconut or vegetable oil. It is a very popular snack among Keralites. This is very similar to pisang goreng (Indonesian for fried bananas), which is a dessert common to Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
Plantains are used in the Ivory Coast dish aloco as the main ingredient. Fried plantains are covered in an onion-tomato sauce, often with a grilled fish between the plantains and sauce.
Use of parts other than the fruit
Each pseudostem of a plantain plant will flower only once, and all the flowers grow at the end of its shoot in a large bunch consisting of multiple hands with individual fingers (the fruits). Only the first few hands will become fruits.
In the Philippines, the plantain inflorescence (particularly those from Saba Bananas), locally known as Puso ng Saging (Banana hearts) are eaten. In Vietnam, the young male flower, at the end of the bunch, is used in salads. In the cuisine of Laos, the plantain flower is typically eaten raw in vermicelli soups. A type of poriyal (dry curry) is made from plantain flowers in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Thoran is made in Kerala with the end of the bunch (called "koompu" in Malayalam) and is considered to be highly nutritious. In Karnataka, the inflorescence is used to make sweet and sour gojju (a gravy dish)
Main article: Banana leaf
Plantain leaves can exceed two meters in length. They are similar to banana leaves, but are larger and stronger, thus reducing waste in cooking. In Latin America, plantain leaves are lightly smoked over an open fire, which improves storage properties, flavor and aroma. In Venezuela, they are fairly widely available in grocery stores or open air markets and are used as wrappers in hallacas. In Nicaragua, they wrap nacatamales, as well as vigoron, vaho and other dishes. In Guatemala, Peru, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia, plantain leaves are usually used to wrap tamales before and while cooking, and they can be used to wrap any kind of seasoned meat while cooking to keep the flavor in. The plantain is the main food source of the Dominican Republic, and is used just as much as, if not more than, rice. Mangu and sancocho are two signature dishes that involve the plantain. Puerto Rican pasteles are made primarily with fresh green banana dough stuffed with pork, and then wrapped in plantain leaves which have been softened at the fire. Similarly, in Africa, plantain leaves are dried and used to wrap corn dough before it is boiled to make fanti kenkey, a Ghanaian dish eaten with ground pepper, onions, tomatoes and fish.
Traditionally, plantain leaves are used like plates while serving South Indian thali or during Sadya. A traditional southern Indian meal is served on a plantain leaf with the position of the different food items on the leaf having an importance. They also have a religious significance in many Hindu rituals. They add a subtle, but essential, aroma to the dish. In the Indian state of Kerala, a food preparation called ada is made in plantain leaves. Plantain leaves are also used in making karimeen pollichathu in Kerala. In the South Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu, plantain leaves is used to serve food during festivals or special occasions. People use the leaves as a cooking foil for steaming idlis (steamed rice cakes) and kozhukkatais (steamed rice dumplings). It is also widely used as a packaging material for packing food and flowers (though this is now replaced widely by plastics). It has similar usage for certain kinds of food in the Philippines as well.
After harvesting the fruit, the plantain plant can be cut and the layers peeled (like an onion) to get a cylinder-shaped soft shoot. In the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, plantain shoot is chopped into fine pieces and made as a salad or a dry curry (often seasoned with coconut and green chillies), or as a wet curry (with yogurt, red chillies and coconut). Plantain shoot is considered rich in fibres, and is considered as a very good remedy for avoiding constipation. Regular intake of the juice squeezed from the shoot or the shoot consumed as a salad is considered by the locals as a sure cure for various ailments, such as stomach ulcers and kidney stones. This can be chopped and first steamed, then fried with masala powder, to make an excellent dish. This dish is called posola in Assamese and a distinct part of Assamese cuisine. In Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, a thoran is made from the shoot for auspicious occasions like marriages. The peeled layers are used by farmers as a binding rope for packaging agricultural produce, such as flowers, betel leaves, etc. The dried stem peels are slit into fine threads and are used for weaving mats, stringing garlands and packaging wrapper. Juice from the stem and the peel have also been used traditionally as a first aid for burns and minor abrasions.
Plantains are mostly sterile triploid hybrids between the species Musa acuminata (A genome) and Musa balbisiana (B genome). Musa species which are both native to South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania. It is assumed Portuguese Franciscan friars were responsible for the introduction of plantains from Africa to the Caribbean islands and other parts of the Americas.
Most modern plantains belong to the AAB Group, commonly known as the 'Plantain Group', and the ABB Group.
Past synonyms include:
Musa paradisiaca L.
Musa × paradisiaca L. cultigroup Plantain
FAO reports that Uganda was the top producer of plantain in 2005, followed by Colombia.
Plantains tend to be firmer and lower in sugar content than dessert bananas. Bananas are almost always eaten raw, while plantains tend to be cooked or otherwise processed, and are used either when green or unripe (and therefore starchy) or overripe (and therefore sweet). Plantains are a staple food in the tropical regions of the world, treated in much the same way as potatoes and with a similar neutral flavour and texture when the unripe fruit is cooked by steaming, boiling or frying. Regions with plantain crops include the Southern United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Central America, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Southern Brazil, the Canary Islands, the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, Madeira, Egypt, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Okinawa, Taiwan, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Pacific Islands and northern Australia. Farmers grow plantains as far north as Northern California and as far south as KwaZulu-Natal.
Plantain as in mountain also UK: or the rarer US: is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa. The fruit they produce is generally used for cooking, in contrast to the soft, sweet banana (which is sometimes referred to as the dessert banana). There is no formal botanical distinction between bananas and plantains, and the use of either term is based purely on how the fruits are consumed.
The population of North America was first introduced to the fruit as banana plantain, and in the United States and Europe "banana" generally refers to that variety. The word "banana" is sometimes used to describe other plantain varieties, and names may reflect local uses or characteristics of varieties: cooking plantain, banana plantain, beer banana, bocadillo plantain, etc.
Plantains are classified formally as Musa balbisiana or hybrids Musa acuminata × balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific name Musa paradisiaca is no longer used. Most plantains come from the hybrid AAB and ABB Cultivar Groups.
All members of the genus Musa are indigenous to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and Oceania, including the Malay Archipelago (modern Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines) and Northern Australia.