What do plantains taste like? What is the nutritional value of plantain? What are some popular plantain recipes? These are all important questions that we will answer in this article.
What are Plantains?
Plantains are a type of fruit that is often confused with bananas. But they are completely different. Plantains are a popular Afro-Caribbean, African, and South American dish.
There are two variations of plantains. The green plantains are unripe, and they taste like potatoes. The yellow or black plantains are ripe, and they taste sweet.
Green plantains are often preferred because they are considered to be healthier. Though they are less sweet, they are high in iron and other nutrients. Green plantains are often used in savory dishes, while yellow or black plantains are used in sweet dishes.
Yellow or black plantains have a higher sugar content and so they are often used in desserts.
What does Plantain Taste Like?
As we mentioned before, green plantains taste like potatoes. They are not as sweet as yellow or black plantains but they do have a slight sweetness to them. When cooked, they become soft.
Uncooked yellow or black plantains are usually soft already due to the ripening process. They are also very sweet. When cooked, they become even sweeter.
Both green plantain and yellow/black plantain can be fried. When fried their texture is markedly different. Green plantains become crispy and crunchy, like your favorite potato crisps. There are times when it is only the outside of the green plantain that gets the crispy texture, while the inside remains soft.
With yellow/black plantains, however, they become gooey and sticky on the inside when fried. While fried green plantains are often eaten as snacks, fried yellow/black plantains can be eaten as a side dish or a main meal.
Difference Between Plantains and Bananas
Though plantains are considered fruits, they are starchier than your regular fruits. This is because they are not as sweet as other fruits. Green plantains can taste like vegetables because of their lack of sweetness.
Bananas, on the other hand, are much sweeter because they contain more sugar. They also have a softer texture.
Plantains are also longer and thicker than bananas. They can be as long as 20 inches while bananas are only around six to seven inches. In terms of thickness, plantains can be two to three times the size of bananas.
Now that we know the major differences between plantains and bananas, let’s move on to the nutritional value of plantains.
What is the Nutritional Value of Plantain?
Plantains are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium. They are low in fat and calories. They also contain magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.
Note that green plantains have more dietary fiber than yellow or black plantains.
A cup of plantain contains:
- 166 calories
- 2.5 grams of dietary fiber
- 19 milligrams of vitamin C (32% of the Daily Value)
- 966 milligrams of potassium (21% of the Daily Value)
- 0.37 milligrams of manganese (16% of the Daily Value)
- 0.27 milligrams of magnesium (11% of the Daily Value)
- 24 micrograms of folate (12% of the Daily Value)
As you can see, plantains are a nutrient-dense food. They are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Furthermore, green plantains also have a low glycemic index which is good for people with diabetes.
Now that we know the nutritional value, let’s move on to some popular plantain recipes.
Popular Plantain Recipes:
Plantains can be cooked in a variety of ways. They can also be baked, fried, or simmered. A popular dish where green plantains are used is the dishes from the Caribbean. One such dish is the famous Jamaican dish, jerk chicken.
Jerk chicken is a spicy dish that is made by marinating chicken in a mixture of spices and then grilling or smoking it. The green plantains are usually cut into thin slices and fried. They are then served as a side dish with the chicken.
Another popular dish that uses green plantains is the dishes from Latin America, such as the Venezuelan dish, arepas.
Arepas are cornmeal cakes that are usually filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. The green plantain slices are fried and then placed on top of the arepas.
Plantains are a fruit that is starchier than other fruits. They are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium.