Crispy Plantain Recipe
You want something salty, crunchy and delicious. And you want it now. We have all been there, the chip cravings can be overpowering. There is just something about a potato chip that makes them irresistible. Whether you prefer the thin one, the kettle ones, the rigged ones or the flavored ones. We all have a weakness for this crunchy treat. The advertising nailed it because once you pop you really can't stop.
As a nutritionist, I can tell you that the idea of a potato chip is not all that bad. A nice potato, some salt, and oil, could be promising. But sadly the over processed and chemically enhanced version you find at the store is not something I can endorse. The chips we find in most grocery outlets are made with poor quality ingredients and the biggest offenders are the oils used for deep frying. These are the "bad fats" that have been giving fat a bad name. They can cause oxidative stress in the body and contribute to weight gain, heart disease, and chronic inflammation.
In order to mass produce foods, most companies use the cheapest oils they can find which are industrial seed and vegetable oils. If you read labels (and you should) the oils most commonly used are sunflower, canola, soy, safflower or peanut oil. Well seeds and vegetables are healthy so no problem right? Wrong. These oils are meant to be consumed in their whole food forms, raw or not at all. I mean who knows what a safflower even is? When they are heated, especially at the high temperatures needed for frying, they can become damaged goods or just rancid. The best oils for high heat cooking are actually saturated fats, like coconut oil, lard, butter or ghee.
The good news is that if you want to take something that is poor quality or dangerous out of your diet, the best way to do it is by introducing a more nutrient dense and equally delicious food in its place. There are plenty of great foods out there and we often just need to think, and eat, outside the box.
Today I bring to you my new favorite healthy addition that is a must have in the kitchen, the plantain. If you are from the Caribbean this might be a no-brainier, plantains are very popular in places like Cuba. But for American this bigger and denser banana cousin is a bit of a mystery. I am here to tell you these guys are the real deal. They are affordable, easy to cook, nutritious and delicious. What I also love is that they can be a blank canvas that you paint salty or sweet, crunchy or soft. You get to make this snack just the way you like it
Here is my quick and easy recipe for plantain chips you can make at home, no experience required. When shopping for plantains the greener the peel the more savory, use like a potato. The darker yellow and black they become the sweeter they are, like a banana, which is best for sweet dishes.
Makes 4 servings
2 Large green plantain
2 Tablespoon coconut oil or ghee
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Peel and chop plantains into quarter-size rounds. Add oil and spices to a large frying pan over medium-high heat until seasoned oil is melted and coating the pan. Slowly add in plantains flat side down so they evenly line the pan. Cook until light brown and crispy (about 5 mins) and then carefully flip them to grill the other side. Remove from pan and let cool. You can enjoy these as a side dish or snack. Try serving plantains with salsa, guacamole or hummus!
* The thinner you cook them the crunchier they will be when cooked, more like chips.
* Want to make them sweet? Replace the cumin and turmeric with cinnamon and ginger, the top with a touch of honey or maple syrup!
For more information on the benefits of plantains visit: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-eating-plantains-3634.html
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