Here, we’re showing you our favorite way to boil plantains, along with a few tips and ways to pair this underrated fruit!
Serve these Haitian style boiled plantains as a side dish or pair them with your favorite Aransel sauce (smoked herring) recipe.
Plantain, an extremely versatile dish, and a staple for many tropical regions, is a hidden gem of the good world. Boiled plantains are sooooo delicious and easy to make and one would not think that it is also healthy.
Boiled plantain is another staple in Haitian cuisine besides rice. It is so flexible that it can be served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
It is usually consumed as a form of appetizer with some type of meat and salad prior to the main entrée. It can be the main entrée itself as it is very filling.
Green plantains are considered a hidden superfood, it is a rich source of complex carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.
It is easily digested, and it has an abundance of minerals such as magnesium and potassium. It is full of vitamins A, C, and B-6. It is also a great source of fiber. Overall, when compared to a potato, you are far better off eating plantains that has been boiled.
What Makes Plantain So Versatile
Well for starters, they can be cooked in a variety of ways. Plantain can be boiled in various stages of ripeness.
From green plantains to yellow plantains, they can be boiled until it has softened. Just remember, if your plantain is yellow, it does not take as long to boil.
Yellow plantain however has a sweeter taste. Hence the reason why we used it to make this plantain bread recipe!
They are usually compared to bananas, but unlike bananas, plantains are almost always cooked. Eating an uncooked plantain is not savory by any means. Plantains are from the same family as a banana, and we refer to them as cousins.
Plantains are considered both a vegetable and fruit depending on the stages of ripeness.
The greener plantain due to its starchiness is considered a vegetable. Once it has become fully yellow with some dark it is now transition as a fruit.
Plantain starts to ripen when it goes through a process called hydrolysis. During that process, it becomes a fruit, which gives it a softer texture, sweeter taste, and the yellowish color.
This process causes the starch to breakdown into sugar. Overripened plantains are not a good candidate for boiling as it becomes overly mushy and soggy. They are however perfect for desserts and or bread.
Origin Of Plantains
There are many varieties of plantains. One of the most common is the French plantain, which is an elongated and narrow type plantain cultivated in clusters.
Honestly, not sure why it is called French plantain since plantains are not cultivated in France. As for the origin of plantains, they are derived from Africa, Asia, West Indies, and Latin America.
In Haiti, Bannann vèt is our version of the French plantain which looks fairly similar to its banana cousin, but much larger.
Bannann miske is a much shorter, fatter, and starchier version. It is also lower in sugar and typically given to babies due to its much softer texture once cooked.
Bannann fig known as green banana, banana plantain, fig plantain, or dessert banana is a versatile one that can be eaten cooked and raw once it has fully ripened.
Lastly, bannann gozbot, is another popular one in Haiti. Many believes that it has some medicinal effect such as reducing bloating and gas.
How To Prepare Boiled Plantains?
Follow our steps as we show you the exact process to take when boiling your plantains. All Haitian plantains are boiled the same way; however, the cooking time varies.
Cut the edges:
We recommend starting off by cutting each end of the plantains as the ends are not edible.
Once you have cut out the edges, you have two options: you can leave the plantains whole, or you can cut them in half. Cutting them in half makes it easier to serve and easy to handle.
Slit the ridges:
Do not skip cutting through the ridges. When it comes to boiling plantains, thing method comes in handy as it helps you to peel off the skin when the plantains are completely cooked.
To do so, simply take your knife and slit through the ridges straight down (whole plantain or half plantain), no more than about ½ inch deep.
Repeat the step to the other plantains or as necessary.
When it comes to boiling plantains, we highly recommend you use a pot that’s dark or you no longer care too much for. When plantains boil, they tend to change the color from clear to dark and leave a ring around the pot.
Start off by selecting a pot that’s large enough to fit the plantains but leave room enough for the water to cover the top of the plantains.
Transfer the plantains to the stove over medium high heat and continue to boil until they are tender or fork through. Feel free to use a knife also to check if they are done. If the knife or fork is inserted without a problem when pierced on the plantain, they are cooked.
This this process takes about 15-20 minutes.
PEELING AND SERVING METHOD
When the plantains are nicely cooked, remove the plantains from the stove and allow them to cool before peeling.
If serving right away, run the plantains under cold water as you peel them. This will keep you from burning yourself and it will help cool down the plantain while making it easy to peel and touch.
Use a knife or your hand to just pull the skin back to pull it.
Place the boiled plantains in a bowl or plate and serve as a side with your desired stew or sauce.
HOW LONG TO BOIL PLANTAINS?
Boiling plantains do not take long at all. Here are some options.
Yellow plantains: they usually take between 8 to 10 minutes to boil. When they start to resemble a “banana”, they are sweeter on the inside as well as soft. Boiling them for a long period of time will make them mushy and soggy.
Yellow / green plantain: This is the cross of when they are not fully green but not yellow either. They are in the early stages of becoming ripen. At this stage you may start to see some spots or a slight dark to yellow color on the other skin. And they are not as hard.
They take about 10 to 15 minutes to cook.
Green Plantains: These are hard, beautifully green, and has no visible yellow color. They are not sweet and at this stage, they are most often used as a “vegetable”. They are perfect boiled or fried.
The boiling process for these takes about 15-20 minutes.
There are a few ways you can serve Haitian boiled plantains. However, In Haiti, they are often served with fried eggs (Haitian Eggs), fried red snapper, pikliz, with legume (eggplant stew), and poulet en sauce (Haitian stew chicken).
Chef’s Tips For Best Result
- We recommend washing your plantains first before boiling.
- You can peel the plantains first before boiling it. However, this may discolor the plantains.
- To reduce the level of the dark color while the plantains cook, add 1 tbsp. of lemon juice to help keep it from turning dark.
- You may also lightly season the water with salt while the plantain cook to enhance the flavor.
- When boiling, you can leave the plantains whole or cut them in half.
- It is best to slit the ridges to make it easier to peel after boiling.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
As you prepare your plantains, you may come across some questions. Listed below are some of the frequently asked questions when it comes to preparing and serving this fruit.
No. There’s no need to boil the plantains first before frying them. Simply peel the plantains and cut them to your desired size and fry.
All plantains are ready to cook upon purchase. However green plantains take longer to cook, about 15-20 minutes.
Yes, you can boil plantains without the skin. It’s best to leave the skin on and peel the skin after it has cooked as the skin will soften while boiling.
Yes, you absolutely can cook green plantains. Especially when they are green as they are hard and easy to manage. They are also great for frying.
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Pair your Haitian plantains with one of these delicious Haitian recipes listed below.
It warms our hearts to see the recipes you make from this site, and we’d especially would love to know if you tried this recipe.