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Plantain Recipes from Around The World

We are delighted to share plantain recipes from around the world with you. Plantains are such a versatile food, that many delicious recipes can be made using them.

GHANA - Kelewele (Spicy Fried Plantains)

4-6 plantain bananas; ripe, but not past ripe, peeled & cut into bite-sized cubes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper
1/2 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
Palm oil or vegetable oil for frying
Grind together grated ginger root, pepper, and salt, then mix with water. In a glass bowl toss together the plantain cubes and spice mixture. In a deep skillet, heat oil (just deep enough to allow plantains to float) to 350 degrees F. Fry plantains, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. (Don't try to fry them all at once; they should not touch each other while frying.)

Drain on absorbent paper, keep in warmed oven until all the plantains are fried. Serve kelewele immediately.

Fresh ginger, cayenne pepper, and salt seem to be the most typical combination of spices used to make kelewele. Some recipes get a little fancier and add ground cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, chili powder, or red pepper flakes. Some replace the water with lemon juice; others use no liquid at all and call for the plantains to be tossed in the dry spices. Letting the plantains marinate in the spice mixture for ten or twenty minutes is also recommended by some.

PHILLIPINES - Sweet Plantain Fritters

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 very ripe (completely black) plantains (2 1/2 lb)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
About 2 cups vegetable oil
Special equipment: a deep-fat thermometer
Whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, then add water and egg and whisk until batter is smooth.

Peel plantains and cut on a slight diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces. Stir into batter to coat well. Stir together granulated sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.

Heat 1/2 inch oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until thermometer registers 340°F. (See cooks' note, below.) Fry plantain slices in batches of 6 (don't crowd them) until bottoms are golden, about 45 seconds, then turn over and fry until other side of each is golden, 30 to 45 seconds more. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
While still warm, toss each batch in sugar mixture until coated, then transfer to a platter. Serve hot or warm.

Cooks' note:
To take the temperature of a shallow amount of oil with a metal flat-framed deep-fat thermometer, put bulb of thermometer in skillet and turn thermometer facedown, resting other end (not plastic handle) against rim of skillet. Check temperature frequently.

Makes 6 dessert or 12 snack servings.

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