Sweet Fried Plantains and Coconut-Peanut Butter Sauce

In the past year or so I've made a little sport of occasionally picking up vegetables or fruits I've never eaten before and giving them a whirl in the kitchen, sometimes from the suggestions of readers, other times out of simple curiosity after passing them in the market aisles. Bottle gourds, bitter melons and mustard greens have all made an impression on me in this fashion, and it's always rewarding to add new experiences and perspectives.

This time a couple of plantains made it into the basket for the first time. Large and thick-skinned banana cultivars, the starchiness, lower sugar content and more neutral flavor of green unripe plantains makes them a staple cooking vegetable in much of the world, as opposed to the soft and sweet bananas we usually eat here in North America.

sweet plantains

But my plantains were ripe, which means that much of their starch content had been converted to sugar … still less sweet and milder than a banana, they're still not very appealing to eat on their own. But frying slices of ripe plantain in hot oil is a popular treat in central America, which is what I did. As the slices turn a rich reddish-brown, the sugar caramelizes and the firm flesh inside the sweet crunchy exterior softens into a mellow, slightly banana-y and melt-in-your-mouth creamy filling. They're beautiful to look at, and astonishingly tasty without being too sweet. Dressed with a simple coconut milk and peanut butter sauce, these sweet fried plantains are a lovely, quick and easy treat.

Select ripe plantains for this snack — green plantains will taste bland and feel starchy in the mouth. You can tell when plantains are ripe when they are yellow with dark splotches and yield to the touch.

Sweet Fried Plantains and Coconut-Peanut Butter SauceSweet Fried Plantains and Coconut-Peanut Butter Sauce
Recipe by
Cuisine: Central American
Published on September 25, 2012

Soft melt-in-your-mouth fried plantain slices with a sweet crunchy exterior, served with a simple coconut milk and peanut butter sauce

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Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons honey or other natural liquid sweetener
  • 2 ripe plantains, room temperature
  • peanut oil for frying
Instructions:
  • Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan over low heat. When warm, add the peanut butter and stir until incorporated into the coconut milk. Stir in the ground cinnamon, then add the honey and stir until dissolved. Continue to simmer at a low heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.

  • Heat a 1/4-inch of peanut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, cut off the tapered ends of the plantains. Run a knife down the lengths of of the plantains on one side, cutting just through the peel. Pull back the peels and cut the plantains into 1/4-inch slices.

  • When the oil is hot, add the plantain slices and fry until reddish-brown, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon or flipper and drain on paper towel.

  • Serve warm with generous spoonfuls of the coconut peanut butter sauce.

Makes 2 to 4 servings
sweet fried plantains

Other quick and easy fruit treats you may enjoy:
Apricot Rum Fritters
Cream Cheese and Caramel Strawberry Dip
Red Fruit Salad

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Audio Accompaniment: Lustmord - Place Where The Black Stars Hang

3 comments:

Anu said...

Nice one. Hadn't tasted this sauce, wondering their combo. Love to have those.

Lisa said...

Thanks Anu. It really is a nice combo. Not too sweet, and the nutty goodness of the peanuts really shines with the coconut. The texture of the plantains was perhaps my favorite part of the dish.

Venera@veggykitchen said...

Your vivid description of the way this dish tastes made my mouth water)))
I never cooked plantains either but after reading this recipe I wanna try it.