For most of us, plantain is a guilty pleasure. We eat them because they taste great and make us feel good. When we think of “healthy eating,” plantain is not quite the first thing that comes to mind.
However, it turns out that plantains are some of the most nutritious foods around. Their health benefits are numerous: not only do they pack 36 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamins, they also help regulate your digestive system.
Studies also show that bananas and plantains help build our immune system and boost our brain’s functionality. And cooked plantains, nutritionally speaking, contain more minerals than cooked potatoes.
Even with all the health benefits of plantains, there are still certain ways to cook it in order to get the best out of it. Coming straight from Midunu’s Chef Selassie, here are 4 ways of cooking plantain to help you enjoy all of its healthy aspects:
- Bake your plantain instead of frying it:
Frying plantain is probably the most popular way to enjoy plantain, but frying it comes with the risk of loading it with too much oil, which is bad for your health.
An easy way to solve this is to bake your plantain instead. This works by seasoning your plantain with all the spices you would normally use, and then putting it in the oven to bake. Occasionally, depending on the particular dish you’re making, you can sprinkle a little oil on the plantain before baking.
So next time you prepare kelewele, bake it. You’ll be surprised how tasty it’ll turn out.
- If you absolutely must fry your plantain, this is how to do it:
A common mistake people make when frying food is to use oil that isn’t hot enough. This makes the food (in this case, plantain) stay longer in the oil before getting cooked, and as such, absorbs more oil than necessary.
The key here is to heat up the oil to the desired temperature before adding your plantain. And once you add it, don’t leave it frying for too long.
- The greener the plantain, the healthier it is:
The more ripe any fruit gets, the more sugar it has in it. This holds true for plantain. Ripe (yellow or black) plantains contain more sugar and less starch than its green counterpart. In addition to this, green plantains also have a lower glycemic index.
This just means that green plantains digest and are absorbed more slowly and therefore don’t raise blood sugar levels by a large amount. This is a good thing, especially if you’re diabetic or have other dietary issues.
- Refrigerate your plantain to keep it fresher for longer.
If you’re planning to keep your plantain for later but don’t want it becoming more ripe (and therefore more sugar-filled) than it already is, try putting it in the refrigerator.
This will keep the plantain fresher for longer with absolutely no effect on its taste or health value. It’s important to note here that refrigerating your plantain will cause the skin to change color (sometimes from yellow to black), but this has no effect on the plantain itself, so there’s no need to worry about it.
There you have it: 4 ways to eat healthier with plantain. But there’s more for you from Chef Selassie. We’ve put together a Cookbook featuring a four-course-meal made with delicious plantain recipes you can enjoy with family and friends. It’s called the Koala Cookbook, and it’s available for free download when you sign up for the Koala Food Tour below.
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