We all know it, most of us love it and it’s probably one of the most popular ingredients within the African Caribbean community. Reliable, consistent and humble the plantain is often referred to as the feature, back up dancer or ‘side ting’ and is one ingredient that is known to increase the potential of our favourite dishes without being too overbearing, even in its most simple forms. We love it fried, boiled, baked or roasted, but over the past few years people have started to explore the full potential of the plantain and some of us are not too sure how we feel about it.
I personally don’t think that plantain should only exist in its traditional forms, I think in the right quantities using the right methods it has so much potential and it’s a product that grows all year round!
If you love plantain as much as I do and want to know how you can experience different ways of using it more creatively that allow it to really shine, I have compiled 5 unusual ways that you can experience plantain both at home and whilst dining out.
1. Bake a Plantain Crumble with Angry Black Wunmi
Apple crumble is not only one of the nation’s faves but also a popular late night, “after the rave…” snack enjoyed by many of us during our younger uni days. Wunmi has done the hard work of recipe development for us and has now made it possible to enjoy a plantain crumble at home. Sweet plantain, a delicious caramel sauce and the crispy crunchy crumble topping, this is an amazing way to celebrate plantain and show some versatility in your cooking. The full recipe is available to purchase on her website for just £5.99 so you can make this for yourself, your family or that special dinner party.
2. Sip on “The ‘Banana’ One” Plantain Cocktail at Chishuru
Chishuru’s is one of my favourite restaurant experiences of 2020. Contemporary West African food in a relaxed setting; sensual flavours, innovative combinations and a completely refreshing culinary experience. At first glance the plantain cocktail was so far removed from anything I imagined I couldn’t fathom it, but being the cocktail lover that I am curiosity got the better of me and this time it didn’t kill the cat! The plantain cocktail is made with a purée which gives it a smooth texture, and lots of flavour that is perfectly balanced with a spiced rum. I implore you to try out Chishuru’s not only for the good food, but for the experience of a plantain cocktail.
3. Binge on a Plantain Waffle at Chuku’s Nigerian Tapas Restaurant
Chuku’s was my last restaurant out before the COVID 19 lockdown and I was so grateful for that experience. The North London tapas restaurant provides a whole host of nigerian inspired small plates for you to enjoy including a plantain waffle. One of their most popular dishes the waffle is a simple spin on a much loved classic giving it that slight edge that may have you falling even deeper in love with plantain.
4. Create a Plantain Burger with Tatted Chef
Lockdown 1.0 Instagram fave’ Tatted Chef grew his following quickly on the ‘gram with his simple yet delicious recipes and easy on the eye flat lay pictures. He shared a recipe on his highlights for a plantain lamb burger that is easily adaptable to anyone’s dietary needs and a nice way to enjoy plantain and allow it to feature front and centre of your dish. Try it with beef, prawns, salmon or tofu to create your own mini plantain sliders for a dinner party or evening meal.
5. Make your own Plantain Stuffing with Malaika Malz
Lastly, I’m sharing with you my plantain stuffing that I use during the holiday periods and even for some Sunday dinners. In my original recipe I used it with my jerk spiced turkey breast roll that is a Christmas special and I seasoned it in a way to highlight the more savoury tones of plantain replacing the usual cranberries which are added to stuffings in order to bring a sweet element to the dish. It’s so simple to make but again highlights my earlier point that plantain has the potential to add a lot to a dish but as with any ingredient the how is just as important as the what. It is imperative that the plantain is cooked before adding it into the stuffing mixture to release the natural sugars and also ensure it is cooked properly when inside the bird.
What are the most ‘unusual’ ways that you have enjoyed plantain?