Learn about the health benefits and some tasty recipes to try at home with platanos.
Just as Popeye loves his spinach, Dominicans love their platanos. Known in English as plantains, these little guys look very similar to bananas but certainly don’t taste the same. You won’t want to get them confused. Unlike bananas, whether they are ripened or unripened, plantains need to be cooked first. On the plus side, they are cheap, tasty, always in season and pack a healthy punch. So much so that when Dominican athletes do well in competition, they’ll refer to platano power. In this article, we’ll name some tasty ideas for you to try in our kitchens and a little more on the power of the platano.
Health Benefits of Plantain
- Nutritious – Similar to potatoes, plantains are rich sources of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Assists Digestion – Fiber plays an incredibly important role in the digestive system and can reduce the risk of haemorrhoids and can manage cholesterol.
- Heart Health – Plantains are a great source of vitamins that help to reduce homocysteine levels, often associated with stroke and coronary artery disease. In addition, the high amounts of potassium help maintain a healthy heart rate and blood pressure.
- Boosts Immune System – Plantains are packed with Vitamin C which help to boost your immune system.
Tasty Plantain Ideas
Technically classed as a fruit, plantains are a great addition to any meal and make a tasty change to potatoes, but how do we eat them? We’ve outlined our favorite simple ways to eat plantain and popular Dominican dishes.
This is certainly not the healthiest option but makes for a tasty treat from time to time. These are easy to make as you slice the plantain, fry in oil until golden brown and tender and enjoy with a chilli sauce dip. These are a local lunchtime and dinner favorite!
Mangu (Mashed Plantains)
Mangu is the traditional breakfast here in the Dominican Republic and is normally served with fried egg, fried cheese, red onion, boiled yucca and salami. Once again, this isn’t exactly a healthy combo but you can enjoy it on its own, with vegetables or one of our favorites, with scrambled egg and onion. The same as mashed potatoes, you boil up the plantains first, empty out the water, then mash them up!
Mofongo (Fried Mashed Plantains with Pork Crackling)
Take the tasty trio of garlic, fried plantains and pork crackling, mix and mash them all together and voila, Mofongo! This dish originated in Puerto Rico but is so delicious, it has now become a popular dish in the Dominican Republic.
Caramelized Ripe Plantain
This may sound like a dessert but is, in fact, a side dish here in the DR. They take around 15 minutes to make and are easy peasy! Firstly, you need to make sure your ripe plantains are really ripe, we’re talking black peel and a little mushy when you squeeze. Start by peeling and cutting the plantains into halves and add cinnamon. Next up, fry the plantains over a medium heat until they’re golden brown. Then add the mix of water, rum, sugar and salt. Once the mix turns into a syrup consistency, serve up and enjoy!
You can find all of the recipes in detail and more on the Dominican cooking website.
Check out some more of our favorite Dominican recipes.
Which is your favorite way to enjoy plantains? Let us know in the comments below.
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