Garlicky Green Plantains

>> Saturday 15 January 2011

I love plantains. They are so versatile, particularly when they are green. There are many ways to prepare green plantains - you can make chips, wedges, tostonnes or fritters; they can be pounded and molded, stuffed with vegetables or meat. Or they can be boiled and sauteed with tomatoes, onions and fresh herbs. And yes, with salted cod too!

Throughout South America, Latin America, India and other places where plantains flourish, one can discover a multitude of ways to prepare plantains that will have you craving more. I am always happy to discover plantain recipes.

I first had this garlicky green plantain creation when I was a kid and grew to really like it. It requires few ingredients and it's totally satisfying and very filling. Using a mortar and pestle makes quick work of this dish, if you do not have one, then use a wooden cutting board with a heavy rolling pin. This dish should be served hot and be accompanied with a beverage - hot or cold.

Garlicky Green Plantains


Canola or Vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 chili, cut into large pieces
2 large green plantains
Salt to taste


  1. Add 2 tablespoons oil, garlic and chili to a small frying pan and place on medium low heat. Let the garlic and chilli cook until they are softened. This will mellow out the sharpness of the garlic and flavour the oil at the same time. Be sure to watch the heat because you do not want the garlic or chili developing a colour.
  2. Add the entire contents of the pan to a mortar with pestle and grind to a paste. Scope out half of the paste and set aside.
  3. Remove the tips at the top and bottom of the plantains. Using a paring knife, slit the skin of the plantain from top to bottom and pry away the fibrous skin until all is removed. Cut the plantains in half (crossways), then cut each piece in half, lengthways, and then further cut each of the cut pieces into half (lengthways). Think thick-cut french fries.
  4. Heat oil for shallow frying in a pan on medium heat
  5. Working in 2 batches, fry the plantains until they are golden and cooked through. Sprinkle with salt immediately when removed from the oil.
  6. Add one batch of the plantains to the mortar and pound-smash the plantains mixing in the paste that is already in the mortar. Remove pounded plantains and set aside.
  7. Add the reserved garlic-chili paste along with the final set of plantains and pound-smash.
  8. Serve hot along with a beverage

This week on, we continue with our hearty soup series. If you still have that ham bone or bits of ham left back from the holidays, use it up in this Ham and Split Pea soup.

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