This article is about banana cultivars commonly used cooked. For true botanical plantains, see true plantains
are banana cultivars
in the genus Musa
whose fruits are generally used in cooking. They may be eaten ripe or unripe and are generally starchy
. Many cooking bananas are referred to as plantains
) or green bananas
, although not all of them are true plantains
. Bananas are treated as a starchy fruit with a relatively neutral flavour and soft texture when cooked. Bananas fruit all year round, making them a reliable all-season staple food.
Bunch of cooking bananas (guineos) on the left, and one loose plantain on the right from Morovis, Puerto Rico
The term "plantain" is loosely applied to any banana cultivar that is usually cooked before it is eaten. However, there is no botanical distinction between bananas and plantains. Cooking is also a matter of custom, rather than necessity, for many bananas. Ripe
plantains can be eaten raw, since their starches are converted to sugars in the ripening process. In countries where only a few cultivars of banana are consumed, there may be a clear distinction between plantains and bananas; in countries where many cultivars are consumed, there is no distinction in the common names
) from the Pacific Islands
are often eaten roasted or boiled, and are thus informally referred to as "mountain plantains." However, they do not belong to either of the two species from which all modern banana cultivars are descended.
Plantains contain more starch
and less sugar
than dessert bananas, therefore they are usually 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 that it has to be cut with a knife to be removed.
Mature, yellow 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 flavourful as dessert bananas, so are usually cooked. When yellow plantains are fried, they tend to caramelize, turning a golden-brown color. They can also be boiled, baked, microwaved, or grilled over charcoal, either peeled or unpeeled.
Plantains are a staple food
in the tropical regions of the world, ranking as the tenth most important staple food in the world. As a staple, 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.
Since they fruit all year round, plantains are 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 caloric requirements
for over 70 million people.
Plantain plantations are vulnerable to destruction by hurricanes, because Musa
spp. do not withstand high winds well.
An average plantain provides about 920 kilojoules (220 kilocalories) of food energy
and is a good source of potassium and dietary fiber.
The sap from the fruit peel, as well as the entire plant, can stain clothing and hands, and can be difficult to remove.
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). The earlier published name, Musa
, 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), also of the AAB Group.
Plantains are used in the Ivory Coast
as the main ingredient. Fried plantains are covered in an onion-tomato sauce, often with a grilled fish between the plantains and sauce.
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 about 10 centimetres (4 inches) high. This special dodo can have a preservative quality that lasts up to two months without refrigeration.
, or matoke
, is a cooking banana dish of the Baganda, now widely prepared in Uganda
, Tanzania, Rwanda
and eastern Congo
. The cooking bananas (specifically East African Highland bananas
) are peeled, wrapped in the plant's leaves and set in a cooking pot (a sufuria
) on the stalks that have been removed from the leaves. The pot is then placed on a charcoal fire and the matoke is steamed for a few hours. While uncooked, the matoke
is white and fairly hard, but 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 and eaten with a sauce made of vegetables, ground peanuts, or some type of meat (goat meat and beef are common).
Fufu de platano
is a traditional and very popular lunch dish in Cuba, and essentially akin to the Puerto Rican mofongo. 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 Puerto Rico, but it is not formed into a ball or fried. Fufu
is also a common centuries-old traditional dish made in Côte d'Ivoire, 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
Eto is a popular Ghanaian traditional dish. It is mainly made from boiled and mashed yam or plantain. For the plantain option called 'Boodie eto', the plantain can be used unripe, slightly ripe or fully ripe.
Culturally, it was the food fed to a bride on the day of her marriage and it's best savored with a whole egg, groundnut (peanuts) and sliced avocado.
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 than mashed potatoes. It is traditionally eaten for breakfast, topped with sautéed red onions in apple cider vinegar and accompanied by fried eggs, fried cheese
, and/or fried bologna sausage
thats known as Dominican salami.
Central and South America
being fried for the second time.
Ripe plantains are used for making maduros
(also named amarillos
) in Latin American cuisine, in contrast to tostones
which are made with starchy unripe plantains.
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.
is the Spanish term used in Peru
for fried green plantains sliced (1 or 2 mm thick); it is also used to describe plantain chips which are sliced thinner. In Ecuador, plantain is boiled, crushed, scrambled, and fried into majado
. This dish is typically served with a cup of coffee and bistek
, fish, or grated cheese. It is a popular breakfast dish. Majado is also used as a base to prepare tigrillo
. To prepare tigrillo, majado is scrambled with pork rind, egg, cheese, green onions, parsley, and cilantro. To prepare bolones, majado is scrambled with cheese, pork rind, or a mixture of both. The resulting mixture is then shaped into a sphere which is later deep-fried. Both tigrillo and bolones are typically served with a cup of coffee.
, 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
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).
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
are fried unripened plantain slices, and are traditionally served at a fritanga
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.
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 plátanos 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.
(also known as banann peze
in Haiti, tachinos
in Cuba, platanos verdes fritos
or fritos verdes
in the Dominican Republic and patacones
in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Peru and Venezuela) are twice-fried plantain patties, often served as a side dish, appetizer, or snack. Plantains are sliced in 4-centimetre-long (11
-inch) pieces and fried in oil. The segments are then removed and individually smashed down either with the bottom of a bottle or with a tostonera
, to about half their original height. Finally, the pieces are fried again and then seasoned, often with salt. In some countries, such as Haiti
, Cuba, Puerto Rico
and the Dominican Republic
, the tostones
are dipped in creole sauce from chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp before eating. In Nicaragua
, tostones are typically served with fried cheese (Tostones con queso) and sometimes with refried beans. 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
are a frequently seen variation of tostones
. Plantains are sliced in long pieces and fried in oil, then used to make sandwiches with pork, beef, chicken, vegetables and ketchup. They can be made with unripe patacon verde
or ripe patacon amarillo
in the Dominican Republic are only fried once and are thicker than chips. Although there are local names for tostones
in almost every Latin country, they are still commonly called tostones
in all of Latin America.
is a roasted plantain Amazonian cuisine dish from Peru. It is usually served con cecina
, with bits of pork.
, a yo-yo 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.
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
for fried bananas), which is a dessert common to Malaysia
, Indonesia and Singapore
. It is also known as bajji
in Southern Indian states.
An alternative way of cooking in Kerala is to boil or steam the banana, which is also at times filled with grated coconut, cardamon powder and sugar/jaggery and then sauteed in ghee.
The most important Philippine cooking banana is the saba banana
(as well as the very similar cardava banana
). These are much smaller than the Latin American varieties, usually around 4–5 inches, and somewhat boxy in shape. Although not a staple, saba bananas are commonly cooked in a wide variety of native dishes.
They are cooked and eaten mostly in their ripe stage in dessert dishes, including:
Savory dishes that use saba bananas include:
- Arroz a la Cubana - a Spanish rice dish (which may have originated ultimately from the Philippines, despite the name). The Philippine version is served with a side of fried bananas.
- Nilagang saging - boiled saba bananas, usually eaten dipped in bagoong (fermented shrimp or fish) or a vinegar-based condiment. But it can also be eaten dipped in sugar.
- Puchero - a Spanish beef stew. The Philippine version uses chunks of saba bananas.
, a Puerto Rican dish made from fried green plantains.
Puerto Rico has a close relationship with plantains. Many dishes originating from Puerto Rico can be seen in other parts the Caribbean and Latin America.
- Alcapurria is a type of savory 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), and the alcapurrias are then deep-fried.
- Arañitas (Little spiders in Spanish translation), a patty fritter made from shredded unripe and ripe plantains sometimes mixed with herbs, cheese, spices, eggs, cetí (small fish found in Arecibo) and crabmeat.
- Bolitas de platano are green plantain dumplings. The plantains are grated and mixed with flour, seasoning, garlic, parsley, and annatto oil. They are then formed into a ball about the size of a golf ball. The balls are first deep fried and then dropped into a hot broth or soup. It is common to grate squash, potato, and green banana into the mix.
- Breakfast - roasted sweet plantains with butter, sugar and cinnamon is a typical breakfast in Puerto Rico with coffee or hot chocolate. Pancakes made with eggs, cassava flour, flour, coconut milk and mashed sweet plantains with other ingredients is popular in the south of the island.
- Desserts - made with sweet plantains are used often. Crème caramel (flan), crème brûlée, ice cream (Lares Ice Cream Parlor), platano en almibar (caramelized in butter, spices, rum and wine), cazuela (pie made with coconut, plantains, raisins, and other ingredients), bread pudding, buñuelo (plantain doughnuts), churro, and other desserts.
- Guanimes are a type of sweet and savory dumpling that can be made with a corn flour mixed with mashed ripe and unripe plantain. This recipe uses plantains along with coconut milk for the dumplings, which are wrapped in plantain leaves and boiled in chicken broth. A sweeter version contains corn flour, raisins, ripe plantains, coconut flakes, coconut milk and sugar.
- Harina de plátano - To make plantain flour green plantains are peeled, seeded, grated and dried out. The flour is popular in Puerto Rico and pre-made brands are found all over the island. The flour is used for pancakes, bread, tortilla among other recipes.
- 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 is topped with creole sauce rather than served with chicken broth. Creole sauce may contain stewed beef, chicken or seafood; it is poured into a center crater, formed with the serving spoon, in the mofongo.
- Pasta – sweet plantains are mixed with flour, eggs, and/or water to make noodles, ravioli dough, gnocchi, and lasagne (flat wide pasta) in upscale restaurants on the island.
- Pasteles are a type of dumpling made from green banana, green plantains, squash and other tubers stuffed with stew pork and wrapped in banana leaf. They are usually served on Christmas.
- Pastelon is similar to lasagna, but uses sweet plantains (amarillitos) to replace the pasta layers. A similar dish called Piñon is made with layers of mashed plantains.
- Piononos are a popular Caribbean dish named after Pope Pius IX. Sweet plantain forming a ring stuffed with seasoned meat or seafood, with an egg-and-flour mixture covering both open sides of the ring and deep-fried.
- Ralleno de amarillitos are sweet plantain fritters. Sweet plantains are mashed with flour, stuffed with meat or cheese or both. They are then shaped into balls rolled in egg whites, and cornmeal or breadcrumbs.
After removing the skin, the unripe fruit can be sliced thin and deep fried
in hot oil to produce chips. This thin preparation of plantain is known as tostones
in some of Central American and South American countries, platanutres
in Puerto Rico
. In Cuba, the Dominican Republic
, Guatemala, Puerto Rico
instead refers to thicker twice-fried patties (see below). In Cuba
, plantain chips are called mariquitas
. They are sliced thinly, and fried in oil until golden colored. They are popular appetizers served with a main dish. In Colombia
they are known as platanitos
and are eaten with suero atollabuey
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
in many Latin American countries. In Honduras
, banana chips are called tajadas
, which may be sliced vertically to create a variation known as plantain strips.
Chips fried in coconut oil
and sprinkled with salt, called upperi
or kaya varuthathu
, are a snack in South India
They are an important item in sadya
, a vegetarian feast prepared during festive occasions in Kerala. The chips are typically labeled "plantain chips" when they are made of green plantains that taste starchy, like potato chips
. In Tamil Nadu
, a thin variety made from green plantains is used to make chips seasoned with salt, chili powder and asafoetida
. In the western/central Indian language Marathi
, the plantain is called rajeli kela
(figuratively meaning "king-sized" banana), and is often used to make fried chips.
Plantains are also dried and ground into flour; "banana meal" forms an important foodstuff.
In southern India, dried plantain powder is mixed with a little bit of fennel seed powder and boiled in milk or water to make baby food to feed babies until they are one year old.
"Musa × paradisiaca" (Daily Value)
Containing little beta-carotene
(457 micrograms per 100 grams), plantain is not a good source of vitamin A
Comparison to other staple foods
The following table shows the nutrient content of raw plantain and major staple foods.
raw yellow dent cornB
raw unenriched long-grain white riceC
raw hard red winter wheatD
raw potato with flesh and skinE
raw green soybeansG
raw sweet potatoH
Plantain and banana allergies occur with typical characteristics of food allergy
or latex fruit syndrome
including itching and mild swelling of the lips, tongue, palate or throat, skin rash, stomach complaints or anaphylactic shock
. Among more than 1000 proteins identified in Musa
species were numerous previously described protein allergens.
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