Cooking plantain

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This article is about certain types of bananas used in cooking. For other uses, see Plantain (disambiguation).
Plantain
Plantains.jpg
Plantains for sale
Genus Musa
Species Musa × paradisiaca
Hybrid parentage M. acuminata × M. balbisiana
Cultivar group Cultivars from a number of groups, including the AAA Group, the AAB Group and the ABB Group
Origin Southeast Asia, South Asia

A cooking plantain or plantain (/ˈplæntɨn/[1][2] or /plænˈtn/;[3][4] occasionally US /ˈplɑːntɨn/)[1] is one of the cultivated varieties (cultivars) of the genus Musa whose fruit is intended to be consumed only after cooking or other processing, rather than being eaten raw. The shoot is also used to make food and soups in various cuisines and the leaves and fibers are also used.

When the fruits are intended to be eaten raw they are known as "dessert bananas" or just "bananas", although "banana" is also used as a collective term to include both bananas and plantains. There is no formal botanical distinction between the two. In some countries, there may appear to be a clear distinction between cooking plantains and dessert bananas, but in other countries, where many more cultivars are consumed, the differences are not so clear-cut and the distinction is not made in the common names used there. The difference between the two terms "plantain" and "banana", used here, is based purely on how the fruits are consumed. Plantains are typically eaten cooked and are usually large, angular and starchy, in contrast to dessert bananas, which are typically eaten raw and are usually smaller, more rounded and sugary. A subgroup of plantain cultivars may be distinguished as "true" plantains.

All modern plantain cultivars have three sets of chromosomes (i.e. they are triploid). Many are hybrids derived from the cross of two wild species, Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The currently accepted scientific name for all such crosses is Musa × paradisiaca.[5] Using Simmonds and Shepherds' (1955) genome-based nomenclature system,[6] cultivars which are used cooked often belong to the AAB Group, although some, like the East African Highland bananas, belong to the AAA Group, and others, such as Saba bananas, belong to the ABB Group.

All members of the genus Musa are indigenous to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and Oceania, including the Malay Archipelago (modern Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines) and Northern Australia.[7] Africa is considered a secondary centre of diversity of Musa cultivars: West Africa for plantains and the central highlands for East African Highland bananas (Musa AAA-EAHB, also known as Matooke or Matoke in Uganda), most of which are cooked although some are primarily used to produce beer.

Plantains are a major food staple in West and Central Africa (Cameroon & DR Congo), Central America, the Caribbean Islands and northern, coastal parts of South America (Colombia, Venezuela, etc.). Their attractiveness as food is that they fruit all year round, making them a reliable all-season staple food.

Description[edit]

Saba bananas (Musa (ABB Group) 'Saba')

Plantains contain more starch and less sugar than dessert bananas and are therefore cooked or otherwise processed before being eaten. They are always cooked or fried when eaten green. At this stage, the pulp is hard and the peel often so stiff, it has to be cut with a knife to be removed. Mature plantains can be peeled like typical dessert bananas, the pulp is softer than in immature, green fruit and some of the starch has been converted to sugar. They can be eaten raw, but are not as tasty as dessert bananas, so are usually cooked. When mature, yellow plantain are fried, they tend to caramelize - turning a golden brown color. They can also be boiled, baked or grilled over charcoal - both peeled or still in the peel.

An average plantain has about 220 calories and is a good source of potassium and dietary fiber.[8]

Plantains are a staple food in the tropical regions of the world, the tenth most important staple that feeds the world. Plantains are treated in much the same way as potatoes and with a similar neutral flavour and texture when the unripe fruit is cooked by steaming, boiling or frying.

Plantains fruit all year round, which makes the crop a reliable all-season staple food, particularly in developing countries with inadequate food storage, preservation and transportation technologies. In Africa, plantains and bananas provide more than 25 percent of the carbohydrate requirements for over 70 million people.[9]

Taxonomy[edit]

Main article: Banana § Taxonomy

Linnaeus originally classified bananas into two species based only on their uses as food: Musa paradisiaca for plantains and Musa sapientum for dessert bananas. Both are now known to be hybrids between the species Musa acuminata (A genome) and Musa balbisiana (B genome).[10] The earlier published name, Musa × paradisiaca, is now used as the scientific name for all such hybrids. Most modern plantains are sterile triploids belonging to the AAB Group, sometimes known as the "Plantain group". Other economically important cooking banana groups include the East African Highland bananas (Mutika/Lujugira subgroup) of the AAA Group and the Pacific plantains (including the Popoulo, Maoli, and Iholena subgroups) of the AAB Group.[11]

Uses as food[edit]

Steamed, boiled, grilled, baked, or fried[edit]

Plantains served over grilled pacu.

In countries located in Central America and the Caribbean, such as Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica, the plantain is either simply fried, boiled or added to make a plantain soup. In Kerala, ripe plantain is steamed and is a popular breakfast dish. In Ghana, boiled plantain is eaten with kontomire stew, cabbage stew or fante-fante (fish) stew. The boiled plantain can be mixed with groundnut paste, pepper, onion and palm oil to make eto, which is eaten with avocado and without pork. Ripe plantains can also be fried and eaten with black eyed beans cooked in palm oil; a popular breakfast dish. Kelewele, a Ghanaian snack, is spiced ripe plantain deep fried in palm oil or vegetable oil.

In the southern United States, particularly in Texas, Louisiana and Florida, plantains are most often grilled. In Nigeria, plantain is eaten boiled, fried or roasted; roasted plantain, called boli is usually eaten with palm oil or groundnut. In Guatemala, ripe plantains are eaten boiled, fried, or in a special combination where they are boiled, mashed and then stuffed with sweetened black beans. Afterwards, they are deep fried in sunflower or corn oil. The dish is called Rellenitos de Plátano and is served as a dessert. In Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Cuba besides being fried it can also be mashed after its been fried and be made a mofongo of fried and made tostones or tajadas, platanutres or it can be boiled of stuffed.

Fruit[edit]

Plantains can be used for cooking at any stage of ripeness, and ripe plantain can be eaten raw. As the plantain ripens, it becomes sweeter and its colour changes from green to yellow to black, just like bananas. Green plantains are firm and starchy, and resemble potatoes in flavor. Yellow plantains are softer and starchy, but sweet. Extremely ripe plantains have softer, deep yellow pulp that is much sweeter than the earlier stages of ripeness.

Plantains in the yellow to black stages can be used in sweet dishes. Steam-cooked plantains are considered a nutritious food for infants and the elderly. A ripe plantain is used as food for infants at weaning; it is mashed with a pinch of salt. The sap from both the fruit peel and the entire plant can stain clothing and hands, and can be very difficult to remove.

Dried flour[edit]

Plantains are also dried and ground into flour; banana meal forms an important foodstuff, with the following constituents: water 10.62%, proteins 3.55%, fat 1.15%, carbohydrates 81.67% and ash 3.01%. Dried plantain powder is mixed with a little fennel seed powder and boiled either in milk or water to feed small children till the age of one year in southern parts of India.

Drink[edit]

In Peru, plantains are boiled and blended with water and sugar to make chapo.

Chips[edit]

Main article: Banana chip
Plantain chips.

After removing the skin, the unripe fruit can be sliced (1 to 2 mm thick) and deep-fried in hot oil to produce chips.

This thin preparation of plantain is known as tostones, patacones or plataninas in some of Central American and South American countries, platanutres in Puerto Rico, mariquitas or Chicharitas in Cuba and Chifles in Ecuador and Peru. In Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, tostones refers to thicker twice-fried patties (see below).

In Colombia they are known as "Platanitos" and are eaten with Suero atollabuey/Suero Costeño as a snack. Tostada refers to a green, unripe plantain which has been cut into sections, fried, flattened, fried again, and salted. These tostadas are often served as a side dish or a snack. They are also known as tostones or Patacones in many Latin American countries.

In Haiti, these slices are referred to as bannan fris.

In Guyana and Ghana they are called "plantain chips". In Ecuador and Peru, they are called chifles.

In Cuba, plantain chips are called mariquitas. They are sliced thinly, and fried in vegetable oil until golden colored. They are very popular appetizers served with a main dish.]].[12]

Chips fried in coconut oil and sprinkled with salt, called upperi or kaya varuthathu, are a popular snack in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala.[13] They are an important item in Sadya, a vegetarian feast prepared during festive occasions. The chips are typically labeled "plantain chips" when they are made of green plantains that taste starchy, like potato chips.

In the southern Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, where banana plants are commonly grown, plantain chips are an industry.[13] In Kerala, different types of plantain are made into chips. They are usually cut thick, fried in coconut oil and seasoned with salt or spices. Sharkaravaratti is a variety of chips which is coated with jaggery, powdered ginger and cumin. In Tamil Nadu, a thin variety made from green plantains is common. Here, coconut oil is not used for frying, and the chips are seasoned with salt, chili powder and asafoetida.

In Honduras, they are called tajadas. If the chips are made from sweeter fruit, they are called banana chips. They can also be sliced vertically to create a variation known as plantain strips.

Plantain chips are also a popular treat in Togo, Jamaica, Ghana, Nigeria (where it is called ipekere by the Yorubas), and other countries such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, Honduras, Ecuador, Guyana, India, the United States and Peru. They are also popular in other Caribbean communities.

In the western/central Indian language Marathi, the plantain is called rajeli kela (राजेळी केळ) (figuratively meaning king-sized banana), and it is often used to make fried chips.

Curries[edit]

Curries made out of plantain are popular throughout the world. [14] [15] [16] In Kerala, a sour, spicy and sweet curry known as pazham pachadi is made out of ripe bananas, coconut and curd. [17]

Soup[edit]

Plantain soups are consumed in various cuisines.

Plantain dishes[edit]

Plátanos maduros[edit]

After removing the skin, the ripened fruit (maduro) can be sliced (between 3 mm and 2 cm thick) and pan fried in oil until golden brown or according to preference. In the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras (where they are usually eaten with the native sour cream) and Venezuela, they are also eaten baked in the oven (sometimes with cinnamon). In Puerto Rico baked plátano maduros are usually eaten for breakfast and served with eggs (mainly an omelet with cheese), chorizo or bacon. Only salt is added to green plantains.

Plátanos maduros are a favorite in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Peru, Colombia, Cuba, Suriname, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico (where they are called amarillos), Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and most of the English-speaking Caribbean (although just called plantain), Aruba, Nicaragua and in Venezuela. In Costa Rica, they are sprinkled with sugar. In western Nigeria, fried, sliced plantains are known as dodo, and in Cameroon, they are known as missole. In Venezuela, the ripe fruit is cut lengthwise, 3–4 mm thick, and fried until golden and sticky, as a very popular side dish called tajadas; they are an integral piece of the national dish, pabellon criollo. And in Ghana as well, it is used for fufu, chips, and many other food preparations.

Banana cue, Turrón and Arroz a la Cubana[edit]

Arroz a la Cubana

In the Philippines, Banana cue is a popular snack. The portmanteau 'Banana cue' may be a misnomer as it is not really cooked in a skewer over hot embers like a barbecue. Rather, the peeled flesh of an under ripe plantain is fried in hot oil over medium fire before it is held in a skewer ready for sale. There are two ways to prepare a banana cue. One way is to fry the peeled banana in oil with some amount of brown sugar thrown in to caramelize the flesh. Another way is to fry the flesh in oil until done. When done, they are scooped out of the cooking pan and placed on a dripping pan to allow the oil to drip, before a generous amount of refined sugar is sprinkled over them. A variant from Mindanao, known as Ginanggang, is different in that it is actually grilled over charcoal.

Philippine plantains (called Saba or Cardaba Bananas) are much smaller than the Latin American varieties, usually around 4–5 inches and somewhat boxy in shape. They are eaten mostly in their ripe stage as a dessert or sweet snack, often simply boiled, in syrup, or sliced lengthwise and fried, then sprinkled with sugar. They are also quite popular in this fried form (without the sugar) in the local version of the Spanish dish, Arroz a la Cubana, consisting of minced picadillo-style seasoned beef, white rice, and fried eggs, with fried plantains on the side. In addition, there is the equally popular merienda snack, Turrón, where ripe plantains are sliced and then wrapped in lumpia wrapper (a thin rice paper) and deep-fried. Turron is then finished off with a brown sugar glaze.

The traditional South American style large plantains (grown in the Southern Philippines) are now increasingly available in local Filipino markets.

Ash plantains[edit]

Sri Lanka's ash plantains called alu kesel (අළු කෙසෙල්) are generally used for cooking. On some occasions, they are used in Ayurvedic medicine. Plantain flower also called as kesel mala (or kehelmala or kesel muwa). Plantain flower (or kehelmala or kesel muwa) is also used to make curries to be eaten with rice.

Tajadas[edit]

In Honduras, Venezuela and Central Colombia, fried ripened plantain slices are known as tajadas. They are customary in most typical meals, such as the Venezuelan pabellón criollo. The host or waiter may also offer them as barandas (guard rails), in common slang, as the long slices are typically placed on the sides of a full dish, and therefore look as such. Some variations include adding honey or sugar and frying the slices in butter, to obtain a golden caramel; the result has a sweeter taste and a characteristic pleasant smell. The same slices are known as amarillos and fritos maduros in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic respectively.

In Honduras, they are a popular takeaway food, usually with fried chicken, though they are also regularly eaten at home. They are popular chips sold in pulperias (minimarkets). In Panama, tajadas are eaten daily together with steamed rice, meat and beans, thus making up an essential part of the Panamanian diet, as with Honduras.

By contrast, in Nicaragua, tajadas are fried unripened plantain slices, and are traditionally served in a fritanga or with fried pork, or on their own on green banana leaves, either with a cabbage salad or fresh cheese.

On Colombia's Caribbean coast, tajadas of fried green plantain are consumed along with grilled meats, and are the dietary equivalent of the French-fried potatoes/chips of Europe and North America.

Tostones, Patacones and Tachinos[edit]

Main article: Tostones
Tostones being fried for the second time.

Tostones (also known as patacones in Nicaragua, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Peru and Venezuela) are twice-fried plantain patties, often served as a side, appetizer, or snack. Plantains are sliced in 4 cm (1.6 in) long pieces and fried in oil. The segments are then removed and individually smashed down either with a bottle's bottom side, or with a tostonera, to about half their original height. Finally, the pieces are fried again and then seasoned to taste, often with salt. In some countries, such as Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, the tostones are dipped in creole sauce from chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp before eating. In some South American countries, the name tostones is used to describe this food when prepared at home and also plantain chips (mentioned above), which are typically purchased from a store. In western Venezuela, much of Colombia and the Peruvian Amazon, patacones are very popular. Plantains are again sliced in long pieces and fried in oil, then they are used to make sandwiches with pork, beef, chicken, vegetables and ketchup. They can be made with unripe patacon verde or ripe patacon amarillo plantains.

Fufu de platano[edit]

Fufu de platano is a traditional and very popular lunch dish in Cuba. It is a fufu made by boiling the plantains in water and mashing with a fork. The fufu is then mixed with chicken stock and sofrito, a sauce made from lard, garlic, onions, pepper, tomato sauce, a touch of vinegar and cumin. The texture of Cuban fufu is similar to the mofongo consumed in other Caribbean areas, but it is not formed into a ball. Fufu is also a common centuries-old traditional dish made in Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and other West & Central African countries. It is made in a similar fashion as the Cuban fufu, but is pounded, and has a thick paste, putty-like texture which is then formed into a ball. West African fufu is sometimes separately made with cassava, yams or made with plantains combined with cassava.

Yo-yo[edit]

In Venezuela, a yo-yo (food) is a traditional dish made of two short slices of fried ripened plantain (see Tajadas) placed on top of each other, with local soft white cheese in the middle (in a sandwich-like fashion) and held together with toothpicks. The arrangement is dipped in beaten eggs and fried again until the cheese melts and the yo-yo acquires a deep golden hue. They are served as sides or entrees.

Chifles[edit]

Main article: chifle

Chifles is the Spanish term used in Peru and Ecuador for fried green plantains sliced (1 or 2 mm thick); it is also used to describe plantain chips which are sliced thinner.

Tacacho[edit]

Main article: tacacho

Tacacho is a roasted plantain Amazonian cuisine dish from Peru. It is usually served con cecina with bits of pork.[1]

Mofongo[edit]

Mofongo – a Puerto Rican dish made from fried green plantains.
Main article: Mofongo

Originating from Puerto Rico, and essentially akin to the Cuban fufu, mofongo is made by mashing fried plantains in a mortar with chicharrón or bacon, garlic, olive oil and stock. Any meat, fish, shellfish, vegetables, spices, or herbs can also be added. The resulting mixture is formed into cylinders the size of about two fists and eaten warm, usually with chicken broth.

Mofongo relleno, meaning topped with creole sauce rather than served with chicken broth. Creole sauce may contain stewed beef, chicken or seafood poured in a center crater formed with the serving spoon.

Alcapurria[edit]

Main article: Alcapurria

Alcapurria is a type of savory Puerto Rican fritter. Although usually consisting mainly of grated green bananas and yautias, they can also contain plantains. The masa (dough) is used to encase a filling of ground meat (picadillo), which are then deep-fried.

Bolitas de Platano[edit]

Plantain dumplings from Puerto Rico. Green plantains are grated and mixed with cornstarch, egg, seasoning, parsley, and annatto oil. They are then formed in to ball about the size of a golf ball. The ball are dropped into a hot broth usually a soup with pigeon peas and ham called asopao.

Piononos[edit]

A popular Caribbean dish which originated in Puerto Rico is called Piononos, sweet plantain forming a ring stuffed with seasoned ground beef, with and egg and flour mixture covering both open sides of the ring and deep fried.

Piñon[edit]

Pastelon from Puerto Rico

Piñon is traditional from Puerto Rico; similar to lasagne, it uses sweet plantains (amarillitos) to replace the pasta layers. A similar dish called Pastelon is made with layers of mashed plantains.

Cayeye[edit]

Main article: Cayeye

Cayeye, also called Mote de Guineo, is a traditional Colombian dish from the Caribbean Coast of the country. Cayeye is made by cooking small green bananas or plantains in water, then mashing and mixing them with refrito, made with onions, garlic, red bell pepper, tomato and achiote.

Cayeye are usually served for breakfast with fresh grated Colombian cheese (Queso Costeño) and fried fish, shrimp, crab, or beef. Most popular is Cayeye with fresh cheese, avocado and fried egg on top.

Mangú[edit]

Main article: Mangú (dish)

A traditional mangú from the Dominican Republic consists of peeled green, boiled plantains, mashed with enough hot water they were boiled in so the consistency is a little stiffer that mashed potatoes. It is traditionally eaten for breakfast, topped with sautéed onions and accompanied by fried eggs, fried cheese, fried salami, or avocado.

Dodo[edit]

A road side stall in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso selling Dodo.

Plantain is popular in West Africa, especially Cameroon, Bénin, Ghana and Nigeria; when ripe plantain is fried, it is generally called dodo (dough – dough). The ripe plantain is usually sliced diagonally for a large oval shape, then fried in oil to a golden brown color. This can be eaten as such, with stew or served with beans or on rice.

In Ikire, a town in Western Nigeria precisely Osun State, there is a special and unique way of preparing plantain chips. This is popularly called Dodo Ikire. Dodo Ikire is made from overripe plantain, chopped in small pieces, sprinkled with chili pepper and fried in boiling point palm oil. After frying it turns blackish. The fried plantain chips are then stuffed carefully into a special conically shaped woven basket of about 10 centimeters high. This special dodo can have a preservative quality that lasts up to two months without refrigeration.

Boli[edit]

Boli is the term used for roasted plantain in Nigeria. The plantain is usually grilled and served with roasted fish, ground peanuts and a hot palm oil sauce. It is very popular as a lunch snack in southern and western Nigeria, for example in Rivers State, Cross River State, Delta State and Lagos states. It is popular among the working class as a quick midday meal.

Matooke[edit]

Matooke or Matoke is a plantain dish of the Baganda, which is now widely prepared in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and eastern Congo. The plantains are peeled, wrapped in the plant's leaves and set in a cooking pot (sufuria) on the stalks which have been removed from the leaves. The pot is then placed on a charcoal fire and the matoke is steamed for a couple of hours in water placed in the bottom of the cooking pot. While uncooked, the matoke is white and fairly hard. Cooking turns it soft and yellow. The matoke is then mashed while still wrapped in the leaves, and often is served on a fresh leaf, then eaten with a sauce made of vegetables, ground peanut or some type of meat (goat meat and beef are common).

Ethakka appam[edit]

Pazham pori – a plantain dish from south India.

Ethakka appam, pazham (banana) boli or pazham pori are terms used for fried plantain in Kerala. The plantain is usually dipped in sweetened rice and white flour batter and then fried in coconut or vegetable oil. It is a very popular snack among Keralites. This is very similar to pisang goreng (Indonesian for fried bananas), which is a dessert common to Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Aloco[edit]

Plantains are used in the Ivory Coast dish aloco as the main ingredient. Fried plantains are covered in an onion-tomato sauce, often with a grilled fish between the plantains and sauce.[18]

Use of parts other than the fruit[edit]

Plantain flowers[edit]

Each pseudostem of a plantain plant will flower only once, and all the flowers grow at the end of its shoot in a large bunch consisting of multiple hands with individual fingers (the fruits). Only the first few hands will become fruits.

In the Philippines, the plantain inflorescence (particularly those from Saba bananas), locally known as Puso ng Saging (Banana hearts) are eaten. In Vietnam, the young male flower, at the end of the bunch, is used in salads. In the cuisine of Laos, the plantain flower is typically eaten raw in vermicelli soups. A type of poriyal/ peretal (dry curry) is made from plantain flowers in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Thoran is made in Kerala with the end of the bunch (called "koompu" in Malayalam) and is considered to be highly nutritious. In Karnataka, the inflorescence is used to make sweet and sour gojju (a gravy dish).

Plantain leaves[edit]

Plantain leaves are used as plates in several tropical regions of the world. Here is lunch served in Karnataka, a southern state of India.
Main article: Banana leaf

Plantain leaves can exceed two meters in length. They are similar to banana leaves, but are larger and stronger, thus reducing waste in cooking. In Latin America, plantain leaves are lightly smoked over an open fire, which makes them more flexible, and improves storage properties, flavor and aroma. In Venezuela, they are fairly widely available in grocery stores or open air markets and are used as wrappers in hallacas. In Nicaragua, they wrap nacatamales, as well as vigoron, vaho and other dishes. In Guatemala, Peru, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia, plantain leaves are usually used to wrap tamales before and while cooking, and they can be used to wrap any kind of seasoned meat while cooking to keep the flavor in. Puerto Rican pasteles are made primarily with fresh green banana dough stuffed with pork, and then wrapped in plantain leaves which have been softened at the fire. Similarly, in Africa, plantain leaves are dried and used to wrap corn dough before it is boiled to make fanti kenkey, a Ghanaian dish eaten with ground pepper, onions, tomatoes and fish.

Traditionally, plantain leaves are used like plates while serving South Indian thali or during Sadya. A traditional southern Indian meal is served on a plantain leaf with the position of the different food items on the leaf having an importance. They also have a religious significance in many Hindu rituals. They add a subtle, but essential, aroma to the dish. In the Indian state of Kerala, a food preparation called ada is made in plantain leaves. Plantain leaves are also used in making karimeen pollichathu in Kerala. In the South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, plantain leaves is used to serve food during festivals or special occasions. People use the leaves as a cooking foil for steaming idlis (steamed rice cakes) and kozhukkatais (steamed rice dumplings). It is also widely used as a packaging material for packing food and flowers (though this is now replaced widely by plastics). It has similar usage for certain kinds of food in the Philippines as well.

Plantain shoot[edit]

After harvesting the fruit, the plantain plant can be cut and the layers peeled (like an onion) to get a cylinder-shaped soft shoot. In the South Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, plantain shoot is chopped into fine pieces and made as a salad or a dry curry (often seasoned with coconut and green chillies), or as a wet curry (with yogurt, red chillies and coconut). Plantain shoot is considered rich in fibres, and is considered as a very good remedy for avoiding constipation. Regular intake of the juice squeezed from the shoot or the shoot consumed as a salad is considered by the locals as a sure cure for various ailments, such as stomach ulcers and kidney stones. This can be chopped and first steamed, then fried with masala powder, to make an excellent dish. This dish is called posola in Assamese and a distinct part of Assamese cuisine. In Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, a thoran is made from the shoot for auspicious occasions like marriages. The peeled layers are used by farmers as a binding rope for packaging agricultural produce, such as flowers, betel leaves, etc. The dried stem peels are slit into fine threads and are used for weaving mats, stringing garlands and packaging wrapper. Juice from the stem and the peel have also been used traditionally as a first aid for burns and minor abrasions.

Vazhaithandu is a Tamil word for the stem and it is used in various soups, stews, stir frys, and koottus.

Nutrition[edit]

Plantain is a carbohydrate source. Its utilizable protein content as percentage of calorie ingestion is higher than sago and cassava, but is much lower than other staples such as maize, rice, and wheat. On per gram consumed basis, plantain's essential amino acid concentrations are very low, even lower than cassava. The low fat content of plantain, coupled with its high starch content, makes it a possible food for geriatric patients. It may also be a possible food alternative for people suffering from gastric ulcer, coeliac disease and in the relief of colitis.[19]

Cooked green plantain (and cooked green banana) have a low glycemic index, unlike potatoes and many grains. It may be an ideal carbohydrate for those on a paleo or caveman diet.

Plantain contains very little beta-carotene. The vitamin C content of plantain is very similar to those of sweet potato, cassava and potato, but the concentration may vary with the crop, maturity at harvest, soil, and farming conditions.[19]

Comparison to other staple foods[edit]

The following table shows the nutrient content of plantain and major staple foods in a raw harvested form. Raw forms of many staples, however, aren't edible and can not be digested. These must be sprouted, or prepared and cooked for human consumption. In sprouted or cooked form, the relative nutritional and anti-nutritional contents of each of these staples is remarkably different from that of raw form of these staples reported in the table below.

Plantains, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 510 kJ (120 kcal)
31.89 g
Sugars 15 g
Dietary fiber 2.3 g
0.37 g
1.3 g
Vitamins
Vitamin A equiv.
(7%)
56 μg
(4%)
457 μg
Thiamine (B1)
(5%)
0.052 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
(5%)
0.054 mg
Niacin (B3)
(5%)
0.686 mg
(5%)
0.26 mg
Vitamin B6
(23%)
0.299 mg
Folate (B9)
(6%)
22 μg
Choline
(3%)
13.5 mg
Vitamin C
(22%)
18.4 mg
Vitamin E
(1%)
0.14 mg
Vitamin K
(1%)
0.7 μg
Trace metals
Calcium
(0%)
3 mg
Iron
(5%)
0.6 mg
Magnesium
(10%)
37 mg
Phosphorus
(5%)
34 mg
Potassium
(11%)
499 mg
Sodium
(0%)
4 mg
Zinc
(1%)
0.14 mg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Nutrient content of major staple foods[20]
STAPLE: Maize / Corn[A] Rice[B] Wheat[C] Potato[D] Cassava[E] Soybean (Green)[F] Sweet potato[G] Sorghum[H] Yam[Y] Plantain[Z]
Component (per 100g portion) Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount
Water (g) 10 12 13 79 60 68 77 9 70 65
Energy (kJ) 1528 1528 1369 322 670 615 360 1419 494 511
Protein (g) 9.4 7.1 12.6 2.0 1.4 13.0 1.6 11.3 1.5 1.3
Fat (g) 4.74 0.66 1.54 0.09 0.28 6.8 0.05 3.3 0.17 0.37
Carbohydrates (g) 74 80 71 17 38 11 20 75 28 32
Fiber (g) 7.3 1.3 12.2 2.2 1.8 4.2 3 6.3 4.1 2.3
Sugar (g) 0.64 0.12 0.41 0.78 1.7 0 4.18 0 0.5 15
Calcium (mg) 7 28 29 12 16 197 30 28 17 3
Iron (mg) 2.71 0.8 3.19 0.78 0.27 3.55 0.61 4.4 0.54 0.6
Magnesium (mg) 127 25 126 23 21 65 25 0 21 37
Phosphorus (mg) 210 115 288 57 27 194 47 287 55 34
Potassium (mg) 287 115 363 421 271 620 337 350 816 499
Sodium (mg) 35 5 2 6 14 15 55 6 9 4
Zinc (mg) 2.21 1.09 2.65 0.29 0.34 0.99 0.3 0 0.24 0.14
Copper (mg) 0.31 0.22 0.43 0.11 0.10 0.13 0.15 - 0.18 0.08
Manganese (mg) 0.49 1.09 3.99 0.15 0.38 0.55 0.26 - 0.40 -
Selenium (μg) 15.5 15.1 70.7 0.3 0.7 1.5 0.6 0 0.7 1.5
Vitamin C (mg) 0 0 0 19.7 20.6 29 2.4 0 17.1 18.4
Thiamin (mg) 0.39 0.07 0.30 0.08 0.09 0.44 0.08 0.24 0.11 0.05
Riboflavin (mg) 0.20 0.05 0.12 0.03 0.05 0.18 0.06 0.14 0.03 0.05
Niacin (mg) 3.63 1.6 5.46 1.05 0.85 1.65 0.56 2.93 0.55 0.69
Pantothenic acid (mg) 0.42 1.01 0.95 0.30 0.11 0.15 0.80 - 0.31 0.26
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.62 0.16 0.3 0.30 0.09 0.07 0.21 - 0.29 0.30
Folate Total (μg) 19 8 38 16 27 165 11 0 23 22
Vitamin A (IU) 214 0 9 2 13 180 14187 0 138 1127
Vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol (mg) 0.49 0.11 1.01 0.01 0.19 0 0.26 0 0.39 0.14
Vitamin K1 (μg) 0.3 0.1 1.9 1.9 1.9 0 1.8 0 2.6 0.7
Beta-carotene (μg) 97 0 5 1 8 0 8509 0 83 457
Lutein+zeaxanthin (μg) 1355 0 220 8 0 0 0 0 0 30
Saturated fatty acids (g) 0.67 0.18 0.26 0.03 0.07 0.79 0.02 0.46 0.04 0.14
Monounsaturated fatty acids (g) 1.25 0.21 0.2 0.00 0.08 1.28 0.00 0.99 0.01 0.03
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (g) 2.16 0.18 0.63 0.04 0.05 3.20 0.01 1.37 0.08 0.07
A corn, yellow B rice, white, long-grain, regular, raw, unenriched
C wheat, hard red winter D potato, flesh and skin, raw
E cassava, raw F soybeans, green, raw
G sweet potato, raw, unprepared H sorghum, raw
Y yam, raw Z plantains, raw

Allergies[edit]

Plantain and banana allergy are reported in some human beings. Patients with allergy to plantains and banana report adverse reactions immediately after consumption, that is, up to one hour after ingestion. Symptoms are characteristics of food allergy: from mild reactions, such as itching and mild swelling of the lips, tongue, palate and throat, followed by a rapid resolution of symptoms, to itching rush and hives in the skin or mucous swelling, stomach complaints, hay fever, constriction of the throat and asthma, or anaphylactic shock – a generalized serious reaction with a large drop in blood pressure.[21]

The allergy may take two forms:

  • Birch-pollen allergy.
  • Others develop allergy because of the similarity between the allergens in plantain/banana and natural rubber latex, a condition known as the latex-fruit syndrome.

Although plantain and banana allergy is not among the top five food allergies, it cannot be considered as a rare allergy, neither in children nor in adults. Generally, the frequency is higher among specific groups of patients, as for example those allergic to latex, to pollens, or to plant-derived foods.

As with all food allergies, the advice of medical professionals and experts should be sought.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wells, John (2000). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. ISBN 0-582-36467-1. 
  2. ^ "Merriam-Webster Dictionary". 
  3. ^ "Plantain". Oxford Dictionaries Online. Oxford University Press. April 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Plantains: John Well's phonetic blog". 17 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "TAXON", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 4 April 2013 
  6. ^ http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~drc/mparadisiaca.htm
  7. ^ "Musa species (banana and plantain)" (PDF). 
  8. ^ "Plantains". Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  9. ^ UNCST (July 2007). "THE BIOLOGY OF BANANAS AND PLANTAINS". Uganda National Council for Science and Technology in collaboration with PBS – a US Agency for International Development (USAID). 
  10. ^ "Musa paradisiaca". http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/. 
  11. ^ Randy C. Ploetz, Angela Kay Kepler, Jeff Daniells, & Scot C. Nelson (2007). "Banana and plantain – an overview with emphasis on the Pacific island cultivars". Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry (Traditional Tree Initiative). Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  12. ^ "Plantain Chips Mariquitas". 
  13. ^ a b Pereira, Ignatius (13 April 2013). "The taste of Kerala". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "The 10 best banana recipes". Retrieved January 3, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Banana, chickpea and tea curry". Retrieved January 3, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Kela ki Sabzi". Retrieved January 3, 2014. 
  17. ^ Manmadhan, Prema (28 February 2011). "Pazham Pachadi". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved January 3, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Aloco recipe". Aloco. congocookbook.com. Archived from the original on 18 July 2006. Retrieved 12 August 2006. 
  19. ^ a b Oke et al. (1998). Roots, tubers, plantains and bananas in human nutrition. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). ISBN 92-5-102862-1. 
  20. ^ "Nutrient data laboratory". United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved June 2014. 
  21. ^ "Banana and Plantain Allergies". Informall Database – funded by European Union. 2010. 

External links[edit]