Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Plantains (platanos/musa paradisiaca) bananas or "cooking bananas", "green bananas" or "potatoes of the air" are very versatile fruits which can be used in savory or sweet dishes. Generally, plantains are eaten cooked rather than raw, but it is nonetheless possible to consume them raw when they are extremely ripe.

A green plantain is very firm, starchy and has a green skin. It should be cooked and prepared in the same manner as potatoes. When the skin is yellow and the flesh is still firm, the plantain is a little sweeter, but still very starchy. It's only when the plantain's skin is blackish brown and the fruit very ripe, yellow and soft that this banana is ready and sweet enough to be used in the preparation of desserts. It's sweetness is due to the fact that during the ripening process a plantain's starch transforms itself into sugar...

Plantains are rich in carbohydrates and potassium. They are normally eaten as a starchy staple nutrient and very much like potatoes they can be served fried, steamed, boiled, mashed, stewed, baked and grilled. In certain places, they are even fermented to make a kind of alcohol.

They are a major food crop in developping countries and can be found in many different places. But, although plantains are widely used and grown in tropical Africa, the Caribbean, Central and in South America as well as in other tropical regions of the world, they are native of the Southeast Asia and the nearby islands (India, Indonesia and Malaysia till Australia). There are many possible explainations to how they arrived in Africa: either they were brought by the Malay-Polynesian people who settled in Madagascar, either by the Arab traders or the Indian traders who settled on the East-African coast. They also surely got exported by the Spanish and Portuguese
conquistadors who colonized the Americas...

Serves 2

-Various stages of ripeness: very ripe, semi-ripe, green.-
2 Very ripe plantains, peeled and cut in slices
2 Oranges, pressed
8 Tsp Light runny honey
4 Tsp Brown rum
2/3 Tsp Ground cinnamon

1. In a baking dish, arrange the plantain slices.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients.
3. Pour over the plantain slices.
4. Bake at 180°C (350°) for 30-35 minutes until the slices look well caramelized.
5. Let cool or serve warm.

Ripe plantains have a black skin. If your plantain is still green or yellow, you'll have to wait.
While baking the plantains, don't be afraid to regularly wet the plantain slices with the juice in which they are cooking.

Serving suggestions:
Eat while still warm or at room temperature with some whipped cream (if desired). You can also sprinkle them with grated coconut if you want a more "exotic" touch...

(Plantains -Pic by
(Isla Ometepe -Pic ba Peter Sch


  1. Je les aime bien version legumes plutot. C'est tres bon en aperitif, sous formes de rondelles frites salees.

  2. GRACIANNE: Je les aime sucrées et salées (en sauce ou frites). Je te recommande quand même d'essayer cette version car lorsque les bananes plantains sont mûres, c'est délicieux...

  3. another dessert recipe for plaintains is what we call turon.

    first, slice ripe plantains in half, generously coat it with brown sugar. next we wrap the plantain slices in an egg wrapper (the type you use for spring rolls), seal with with an egg wash, and then lightly dust with sugar. lastly fry it to a golden brown. after frying, while the caramel is sticky, sprinkle sesame seeds over it. serve warm, and then top with vanilla ice cream if desired.

  4. KATIMUGAMBALON: Thanks for passing by! I've never tried this (Philippino?) dessert recipe before, but it sure sounds interesting. I'll have to try it soon...

  5. Hi there,
    i'm trying to learn about plantains. i live in canada and have seen them occasionally in the store but have not tasted them. how do they compare to bananas? i make banana bread and was wondering if they would add a different taste to baked goods? and if so should i cook the overripe plantain before baking, or is baking it in the bread good enough? any help would be wonderful.

    also, i've been to switzerland when i was a teenager on a school tour and i absolutely loved it! we went to Luzerne, it was so beautiful and peaceful.

  6. Hi anonymous!

    Thanks for passing by!

    Well, they don't taste at all like bananas. Unripe they are quite similar to potatoes. Ripe they are sweet, a little like bananas, but still very different. They have something green and starchy in their taste (imagine eating an unripe banana when the skin is still very green). I'm not too sure about making bread with plantain, because the taste would be different than with bananas (less exotic and fruity, blander). But, I guess that you could cook an overripe plantain, mash it and add it to your dough. Since it's very starchy and plantain flour is used to bake breads, you would have to try....

    Here's a link which might interest you:

    I hope that I have helped you a little...

    I'm happy to hear that you loved my country and remember Luzern. I'd love to go to Canada as it's a country which I find very attractive!