Versatile Jamaican Plantain
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jamaican fried plantain
jamaican plantain - peeling

Tasty Jamaican Plantain
by Rose-Marie Gordon-Cole

Ripe, green, fried, cooked, baked, grated, blended; this list speaks of the versatility and wholesomeness of the Jamaican plantain. It’s hard to get bored with something that can be served in so many different styles.

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Plantain, a sibling to the banana just a bit bigger, and though not indigenous to Jamaica is an important part of the Jamaican diet.

There is no Sunday rice and peas without fried ripe plantains on the side. It is also a popular part of many morning breakfasts here as well. Jamaicans, lets say a big thank you to Southeast Asia from whence the plantain cometh :-)

This very low maintenance plant can be found all over the island, and is one of the many crops found in a number of backyards gardens.

The different ways of preparing this fruit is endless, and it is so easy to put a cultural spin on its’ preparation.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to prepare plantain - Jamaican style!

Jamaican plantain porridge
Jamaican plantain baked
  • Fried – this can be either green or ripe. The ripe can be added to either, lunch, breakfast or dinner.

    Fried green plantain is my absolute favorite. Seasoned with local herbs and spices, the plantain is peeled sliced half fried taken out, pressed and then returned to complete the process.

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  • Plantain dumplings – grate or blend the green plantain, add flour and salt then, mix as you would to make dumplings.

  • Porridge – grate or blend again the green plantain, mixed in a small portion of flour (the flour is use as a thickening agent and is optional) adding spices and sweetening to taste.

  • Drink – the very ripe fruit (when the skin starts getting black and the fruit is a bit soft) is blended, adding milk and your choice of spices and sweetener if needed. You can also add other fruits to the blend to make a smoothie.

  • Chips – both ripe and green plantains are used to make chips. The ripe plantain chips are a bit sweet as plantains, like the banana gets sweet when ripe. If you have never tried plantain chips you can pick up a pack in any supermarket around the island.
  • And how can I forget plantain tart!

    I am salivating just writing about it. Flaky crust filled with sweet stewed ripe plantains aaaaahhhhh. My high school friends would tell you that most of my lunch money was spend on plantain tarts before school starts. Who remembers roasting plantains in the hot ashes in grandmas outdoor kitchen in the country? I do, and it was tons of fun.

Yes, lot's of ways you can prepare plantains. Also, do bear in mind that it's nutrient content is far more than that of the banana and is said to be very low in fat when cooked. It also provides a healthy dose of carbohydrate, dietary fiber and vitamins and minerals.

See: More Pictures of Jamaican Food.

Posted: 08/22/2011

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Selected pictures from Flikr

jamaican_plantain_bunchSister's first crop from her backyard Plantain plant
jamaican fried plantainsfried plantains
fried_jamaican_plantains_by_nateisha_gayleMy sister's Jamaican fried plantain

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