Most people do not get super excited when they see fruit like this in the store. But I do!! These are not just old, bruised bananas, these are plantains, and they are just perfect for frying. Plantains look like bananas on steroids, but you can’t eat them raw. They are delicious cooked. I like them best when the skins are getting black and the fruit inside is turning golden. When they look like that, I have to fry them up! Where I grew up in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, fried plantains are called alloco, and you can buy them on the side of the road for a tasty snack.
So to make fried plantain, you peel the fruit by cutting off one end and pulling the skin off. Then cut the fruit across to make chunks that are about 4 inches long. The slice the chunks up lengthwise so it looks like this. Don’t slice too thinly, or you’ll get crunchy plantain, which is ok, just not as delicious. The fruit may be very slippery, so be careful. As you’re getting towards the end of slicing, start heating some vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. You want the oil to be about an eighth inch deep. When the oil is nice and hot, put your slices in the skillet. If the oil sizzles when you put the plantain in, then it’s hot enough. Let it cook on that side until the edges turn golden and flip over. Cook on that side until the fruit is turning a dark gold color. Take out and place on paper towel covered plate. Let cool! Plantains retain a lot of heat, so really make sure they’re cool enough to eat before taking a bite. Molten plantain in your mouth is not so pleasant!
We enjoy lots of international food around here, and I love the opportunity to expose my kids to the flavors of many of different cultures. I think it’s a great way to begin encouraging a global world view, as well as giving my kids some connectors as we pray for people all over God’s world. If you’re wanting to do the same, this is an easy recipe to use for much of West Africa and even the Caribbean.