I remember waking up to the smell of authentic Jamaican fried plantains sizzling in the pan. This meant that particular Sunday morning was special. Growing up in the Caribbean had many perks, but the sweetness that melts in your mouth in the form of a ripe plantain is outta this world.
The taste of Jamaican fried plantains is something everyone deserves to experience at least once, and here’s the best way to experience that slice of Jamaica anywhere in the world.
Plantain vs Banana
The biggest mistake people make is confusing plantains with their fruitier cousin, the banana.
Plantains look very much like bananas, but there are several subtle differences that must be noted. Plantains are fatter, longer and greener in appearance than bananas.
If you take these comparisons a step further and touch the two, you will notice plantains are a lot firmer than bananas. This is because they have a much higher starch content, which makes them perfect for cooking and a versatile addition to many main courses.
Unlike bananas, plantains turn darker brown or black in color as they grow ripe instead of a bright yellow like bananas. Plantain nutrition also contains higher amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium than bananas.
We should note that plantains are a very healthy option to add to your diet and can be delicious if cooked the right way.
How to Make Jamaican Fried Plantains
Many of you may not be familiar with plantains, but there’s a proper way to prepare them. Although raw plantains can be consumed, they often end up tasting bitter.
On the other hand, Jamaican fried plantains have a more pleasant and sweet taste.
Ripe plantain recipes extract the most flavor from the fruit, so you should pick plantains that have black spots or exhibit a duller green coloration if you intend to cook them immediately.
So, how do you cook Jamaican fried plantains then?
The answer isn’t so simple. Because plantains are so versatile, they can be cooked in many different ways and neither one could go very wrong. Since the starch content in plantains is so high, much like that of potatoes, they are a very forgiving fruit.
The most common methods are boiling, frying, grilling and roasting in the oven.
The most delicious use of a ripe plantain, in my totally biased but expert opinion, is to fry it.
Drying the Jamaican fried plantains really brings out the ultimate texture of the fruit as well as its palatable undertones.
Jamaican Fried Plantains Recipe & Instructions
The beauty of this fried plantains recipe is it’s simple, so you don’t have to be a master chef to pull this dish off. Neither does the recipe call for many ingredients. All you need are ripe plantains, peeled and cut into quarter inch slices, enough oil to coat the bottom of a deep skillet and some salt to taste.
It is important to cut the plantains into thin and uniform slices so they cook evenly and caramelize just right. An important part of this method is to use a skillet deep enough to hold at least one inch of oil so the plantains can be immersed enough to fry.
The best oil for this recipe is a vegetable oil, although you are free to experiment with other oils for deep frying. After heating the oil to about 375 degrees Fahrenheit, you should add the plantain slices.
From here, frying each side of the plantain should only take about two to three minutes to cook or until golden.
Of course, as you get more skilled with preparing plantains, you can dress them up to your fancy. The most important step of frying the plantains is to wait until they achieve a nice golden color on both sides before removing them from the oil.
Then, place the Jamaican fried plantains on paper towels so that the excess oil can be absorbed, leaving a nice and crispy exterior on the soft interior of the thin slices.
With time, you’ll develop your own taste for plantains and will prefer them a certain way. Maybe you enjoy thicker slices or a more overcooked exterior.
Certain seasonings may suit your taste buds more than others. Regardless of the adjustments you may make, nothing can go wrong with a classic Jamaican fried plantains recipe.
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