Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Friday, December 18, 2009

Plantains: A Taste of Ghana in My Kitchen

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One of my students from Ghana recently reminded me that plantains, a nutritious and delicious treat, can be cooked in a variety of ways. She likes to boil her plantains, but I like to fry mine. I prefer to wait until the plantains are very soft and almost black before I cut them in circular pieces and fry them until they are dark brown and slightly crispy. (Yummy!) My student, B, likes to boil her plantains when they are greenish yellow. But I do know another woman from Ghana who cuts her plantains in large pieces and fries them. I guess the phrase "to each, his own" applies to the ways people like to eat this exotic banana.

My friend Annette, who is from Jamaica, taught me how to make porridge with very green bananas when my daughter was still an infant. It was one of the few things Gigi would eat when she was very young. To make the porridge, you peel a very green plantain and cut it into pieces. Blend the slices in a blender, along with a bit of water. Pour the pureed liquid in a pot and add sweetened condense milk, a touch of vanilla, and a bit of nutmeg (first test to see if your child's stomach can handle the nutmeg.) Bring the ingredients to a slow boil on your stovetop, stirring occasionally. When the liquid thickens, remove the pot from the heat. Place the plantain porridge in a bowl for your child and serve when it has cooled a bit. I'm sure your baby will love this concoction as much as Gigi did. It's a great way to give your child the necessary iron and potassium he or she needs. (I ate a lot of it myself and was quite satisfied!)

Plantains are very popular in various parts of Africa, Asia, India and Latin American countries. They are close relatives of bananas, but are longer, have thicker skins, and are typically eaten cooked instead of raw. The skin of plantains ranges in color from green and yellow to brownish black, while their flesh varies from cream to salmon-colored. South American Indians boiled the plantain peels and drank this liquid as a remedy for colds.

Pick up a few the next time you go to your grocery store (or the nearest International food store.) The sweet, exotic taste of this delicious fruit is sure to grow on you!

6 comments:

(im)perfect_black ☥☥☥ said...

Ha! Well go ahead and call me a big baby cuz im gonna try that porridge!!

I prefer your method of cooking plaintains. My informal sense of Ghanaian preferences is that the boiled more starchy variety is favored. I have also noticed that Ghanaians consume far less sugary foods than westerners so I wonder if that might explain it.

Ghanaians also chop up the ripe variety into small sections, add spices esp. ginger and cayenne pepper, and fry.

YUMMY! They call it kelewele. Here is a recipe -->

http://www.congocookbook.com/vegetable_and_side_dish_recipes/kelewele.html

(Interesting Sidenote: bananas/ plaintains are not an indigenous crop. they come from southeast asia)

kzs

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

Kwame,
I just said to myself recently, "I'm gonna make me some of that porridge soon. That stuff was good!"
Thanks for the info. about plantains and the kelewele recipe. When I get a little time, I'm gonna DEFINITELY make that.
Peace and blessings,
Alicia

sondjata said...

had some banana porridge sunday!! and fried Plantain. lol

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

Sondjata,
Your so lucky! When I get back home I'm gonna make both too!
alicia

PatricktheRogue said...

My first love was a Jamaican girl, and her momma made the best plantains I've ever had. Of course, those first ones will always be the best in my memory. I still love plantains in any shape or form today. But I must agree with you - fried is my preference too. Have a happy Christmas!

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

PTR,
Ahhhh.
Plantains and love. Yours isn't the first I've heard of that combination.
:-)
Merry Christmas!!!
alicia