Lessons in Plaintains

A couple weeks ago I hosted a student from Lehigh’s Global Village program. The kitchens they usually use for their group dinner are under renovation, so I lent the L-shaped kitchen of my 1860s Bethlehem apartment to the cause. In return I got invited to gorge myself on cuisine from 26 countries, but that’s another story.

The student, Vanessa, made plantanos en tentacion, or Temptation Plantains. Easy, cheap, tasty!

We were discussing how plantains are are something like the potato of Latin America, so I’d have to compare this to sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving, but more hearty.

Plantain-choosing tip: For this dish you want the plantains to be very ripe. Yellow to black is best.

Fashion safety tip: Wash your hands after handling the plantains, or you could stain your clothes!

Plantanos en tentacion (serves 4 people)
Butter (at least 2 Tbsp)
3 or 4 ripe plantains
Dark brown sugar
Cinnamon sticks

Start by slicing the peel off the plantains by gently running a knife along the skin. Peel and chop the plantains into 3/4 inch pieces. Melt butter into a deep frying pan and add the plantain. Sprinkle brown sugar liberally on top, and cook at very low heat until they start to brown. Add water to cover plantains halfway and add 4 or 5 broken cinnamon sticks, allow to simmer for about a half an hour.

Plantains should be a brownish color and feel soft to the taste, a little bit mealy. Serve as a side dish with rice.


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