Spicy Plantain Fry

Unlike the regular banana, which is sweeter and eaten raw when ripe, the plantain has to be cooked before serving. Plantains are native to India and it is commonly prepared as a vegetable (like potatoes) in the Indian cuisine as a savory dish. In Malaysia, plantain chips (sweet and savory) are very popular snack and are even exported to overseas.

In the South Indian cuisine, the other parts of the plantain tree, namely its flowers and shoots, are also widely used. At my home in Malaysia, my mom made sure she gets hold of the plantain shoots every time she came across them in the market mainly because it happens to be my dad’s favorite.

These plantain shoots (vazhai thandu) are not available all the time because the plantain tree will only fruit once and only after the fruit is harvested, the plant is cut and the layers of the thick stem are peeled till the cylinder-shaped soft shoot is found. The shoots are not only delicious when fried with spices, they are also high in fiber and so, good for the digestive system.

Also special, but something I have never eaten in such a long time and something that is also not that easily available, are the plantain flowers. Mom has cooked this too but not in recent times. All I remember is that the cleaning and preparing of the flowers and shoots before the actually cooking process is a little lengthy. Being someone who loves to cook without having to spend too much time in the kitchen, I don’t think I’d be attempting those!


The more easily available and easier to prepare part of the plant is of course, the fruit itself – the plantain. In the U.S market, the plantain is sometimes referred to as the green banana. At the grocery store where I get my plantains, this sticker is on each of the plantains and serves as a convenient guide.

For my dish here, I used the plantain while still green. The first time I attempted this in my kitchen, I called mom to get some help: peel off the thick skin and then cube the plantains, boil them in salted water with a little turmeric for a couple of minutes (don’t let them overcook). This process actually helps to eliminate the excess starch. Then, after you drain them, you may use them to fry how you would potatoes.

I add a heaping teaspoon of chili powder, a dash of cumin and turmeric powder and the most special part of it all: add a handful of grated coconut towards the end. Yummy!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Site Meter