I am a Nigerian native who loves sharing traditional and nontraditional recipes with everyone!
A Healthy Alternative
Plantains are a kind of banana that is becoming very popular among Africans, Asians, Mexicans, and those of Spanish descent. Unlike the soft, sweet bananas that most are familiar with, plantains are generally used for cooking.
They can be boiled, baked in the oven, roasted on the grill, or fried in oil. And they are usually served alongside the main meal as a side dish but are sometimes used as the main meal itself. They are the main ingredient in plantain chips, which can usually be found in snack-size bags at most grocery stores.
Today, I'm going to show you how to make your very own homemade plantain chips with no additives and no preservatives. These are a very healthy alternative to store-bought chips.
Cooking Time for Baked Plantain Chips
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
2 medium-to-large plantains yields 4 servings
Ingredients for Baked Plantain Chips
- 2 (medium-to-large) plantains (green or ripe), sliced round or diagonal
- Dash pepper (crushed or powder), optional
- Dash salt, optional
- Dash garlic powder, optional
- 1 tablespoon oil, preferably cooking oil spritzer to control the amount of oil for baking
How to Bake Plantain Chips
- Start by cutting open the plantains. Cut across into small sizes so that the slices look like coins.
- Remove the skin from cut plantains. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic (or whatever seasonings you prefer).
- Layer a cookie sheet with tin foil, and grease it. Place the peeled pieces on a greased cookie sheet. Space them about one inch apart.
- Spray the plantains with a minimal amount of oil using spraying cooking oil or a spritzer.
- Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 to 375°F
- Reduce oven to about 200°F, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. The plantains should be golden brown and crispy in texture.
- Remove the chips from the baking pan, and put them on a paper towel-lined plate. Let sit for about 5 minutes. They can be served with nuts.
Why Make Them at Home?
Homemade chips are healthier because they're baked and you have control over how salty they are.
Are Plantains Healthier Than Chips?
Plantain chips are a very good snack. Not only can they be filling, but they are also a healthier option than most potato and rice chips on the market. They're healthier than most chips because plantains have a lower fat content.
In fact, a medium-sized plantain contains less than 1 gram of fat, and it has no cholesterol. Because they are low-fat and high starch, they are a great snacking option for those trying to lose weight and stay healthy.
Plantains are also very high in vitamin A (or vitamin A retinol, retinal, and four carotenoids, including beta carotene), which are needed for good eye health. Its high fiber content provides needed roughage, an essential part of the digestive process.
They are also a good source of potassium. A medium to large one contains about 499 mg of potassium. This is an essential micro-nutrient in human nutrition that's needed to maintain the right amount of fluids and electrolytes in the body. It is also needed to keep the heart beating well, for muscle growth, for maintaining the nervous system, and for good brain function.
Why Should I Make These at Home?
Store-bought plantains are usually made commercially. Even though some do have the organic label on them or say that they're produced locally, the fact still remains that they are mass-produced.
Most commercially produced plantain chips are fried. This means that they're not a very healthy option, as they may have been fried in animal fat and/or may even have been fried in recycled oil. Not only that, some of the ingredients are so complicated that they are difficult to pronounce. And oftentimes, the sodium content is just plain bad for your health.
Home-baked plantain chips are prepared with a minimal amount of oil. You control the amount of salt used in baking it, and you know your ingredients. I prefer to make my plantain chips using the bake option (rather than frying), as this is the healthier of the two.
Other Ways to Cook Plantains
|Cooking Style/Method||Best For||How?||Is It Healthy?|
Ripe or unripe
This is done by removing the skin and baking in the oven. It can be cut into tiny little pieces (as in the above recipe) or baked whole.
Ripe (not overly ripe)
This is usually done on an open flame/charcoal grill. It can also be cooked in a regular oven. Bake until golden brown at about 450°F, for 30 minutes.
Very healthy, as you use no oil or salt in cooking
Cook in mildly salted (optional) water on a stove top for about 20 minutes. Note that, you can cook plantain in boiling water with or without the skin on. Cooked plantain can be eaten with scrambled eggs.
Cook cut plantain pieces in a deep fryer or fry pan in oil. Oil should be about 350 to 370°F. Fry for about 15 minutes until golden brown. It can be served with scrambled eggs and salsa.
Due to the oil/fat content, this is not a very healthy option.
Your home-baked plantain chip is not going to look anything like the store-bought ones. Yours will likely be a little chunkier and darker in color, but rest assured, it's got less fat and less salt, and that's something to sing about. Plus, you can pronounce the ingredients!
For regular snacking, as a part of a low-fat diet, bake a large number of chips at a time. Divide into portions using freezer bags, and store the excess in the freezer. These are great for snacking on the go. Pair them up with peanuts and raisins for a great energy-packed homemade trail mix.
Rate This Healthy Snack
Questions & Answers
Question: Why does the plantain water turn black after cooking it?
Answer: Plantain contains enzymes. When plantain is cooked or boiled, these enzymes reacts with oxygen that turns the plantain water to a dark (brown or black) color.
Question: Can plantain be frozen after baking?
Answer: Yes. Just reheat in low oven setting when ready to eat.
© 2012 Comfort Babatola