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Fried Green Banana
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Fried Green Banana

Yes, fried green bananas!  This is a very popular thing to eat in Colombia and surely many countries in the tropical zone, but Colombians have a love story with this versatile fruit.  It is very often included as a must in their daily set lunches at most small, locally owned restaurants and still more eat it as a snack on the go, for breakfast and for their own meals at home.

Before you start cooking, there are a few things that need to be said about plantain:

1- It is generally cooked differently depending on whether it is still deep green - so not ripe yet - or yellow, like a regualr banana.

2-  It tastes almost like a banana but has a consistency much more similar to a potato, making it much easier to work with for cooking.

3-  In North America, you might only be able to find the ripe plantain as people there typically don't eat fruits when they're not ripe.  Also, with the travel time required, they may have had time to ripen along the way.


Here are a few dishes that are typically made here using plantain:

a)  Maduro

'Maduro' means ripe, and this is what they call the plantain when you only just skin it when it is fully ripe and cook in vegetable oil as is.  If you don't want to use enough oil to cover the entire banana, make sure half is covered, then flip halfway through to finish the cooking.  This way, it tastes incredibly sweet and makes for a nice dessert.  You can even top it with a fruit sauce or perhaps - like they do here - open the middle and add vegan cheese.

b) Tajadas

This is another way of cooking plantain when it is ripe.  'Tajada' means sliced, and they cut it along its length to make long, oblong-shaped slices with it, about 1/4 inch (one to two centimeters) thick.  Once again, it is deep fried in plenty of oil, but much less is needed.  You can leave them as they are, or add some salt and perhaps a bit more spices with it.

c)  Tajas

'Tajas' means slices.  You may have noticed that, so far, the names are pretty ordinary and common words.  That's how common eating plantain is here... if you say 'I want slices', everyone knows you're not talking about bread.  Seriously, I would even say that sliced bread is probably the exception and not the norm here.  Ask anyone if they like sandwiches and half of them answer 'huh?'. 

Tajas are very simple.  This is for cooking the green plantain and is - you guessed it! - fried again, but not deep fried.  Slice them sideways - meaning in coin-size bites, like you would slice your regular banana to put in your cereal.  You can get away with only grilling these with a bit of oil and salt (or a lot of salt, like they do here).  If you want, you can do this with ripe plantain as well, although it's not as popular.

d)  Patacón

This is perhaps the only plantain dish with its own name that doesn't mean anything.  For this one, you need to take a few steps and a couple of tools.  First, cut the green banana in half.  Deep fry it until it is nice and soft.  Then, take two wood cutting boards.  Put the cooked plantain on one of them, standing - not lying down.  With the other board, squash the plantain.  You should be making it into a round pancake shape.  Fry again.  Top with any topping you want.  The most famous one here is a sautee of tomatoes, onions and fresh coriander.




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  1. Veganara
    Voted. Fascinating blog! I imagine they taste pretty good fried, although I am not a huge fan of bananas. A friend of mine mentioned a long time ago that sometimes she puts bananas in stir-fries, which I thought sounded weird, but clearly it works! Btw, I see that you have sent me a message via Facebook, but I can't reply at present, sorry. Can't get on FB, still having a problem with it, I think a few people are. I'll try again tomorrow from the library, their web browser is probably better than the one on my laptop. I saw what the message was, from the FB email alert, but as I say I can't reply that way yet. I am curious to know who this person is you mention, so I'll try to make contact with you tomorrow!
  2. kristo
    Voted! so many variations!! I used to love getting plantains in Kensington Market. So yummy :)
  3. Anita Vegana
    An East Indian guy taught me how to slice and fry plantain, but I always use the ripe one for that, and slice in coin-shaped pieces. It's good! I like it! But I never knew about these oher options. I voted.
  4. Scott Combs
    Scott Combs
    Voted. Sounds great.
  5. Veggie
    Hello! Very thorough and descriptive blog on Plantains! Never thought to serve as a dessert so I will have to pick some up at the grocery now! Voted! Please check out my "Chickpea" post and vote if you like it!
  6. Akanksha
    Wow...this is lot of interesting stuff...We make curry dishes using green bananas and also have banana chips that are a healthier replacement of potato chips!
  7. Shabs Online
    Shabs Online
    Though this is already on top yet I'd like to tell you that I absolutely loved these ideas and now will b trying them. I love green bananas and we're already into using them in our curries and fried version......sure wll try out these as! :)
  8. moregreensplease
    Wow! I thought I was a plantain fan. All of these dishes sound great. The one with cutting boards,frying and smashing sounds fun. For the most part I have only used plantains that were good and ripe. Now that I have an idea of what to do with the green ones I will have to give them a go. Thank you so much for this post. Voted!
  9. No Name
    This is very nice. Here on the islands we eat a lot of bananas. We have a lot of different variety of bananas here. One is only for cooking. Normally on Sunday we take this banana and boil it. Then take fresh coconut milk and pour over the top of the boiled banana and eat it. Poe is another island dish that is made here all the time with bananas. Banana jam is another one that is used a lot here on the islands. Every store here sells banana creps but seems a little bit oily for my taste but they love them. Made at home they are not so oily and are a lot better. I like the other way of fixing bananas. I want to try some of your techniques to prepare bananas. Thank you so much this was so interesting.


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