One of my greatest pleasures is enjoying ripe roasted plantains. I am overcome with sweet memories of family and new memories created with you all whenever we cook together.
It is with great delight and sense of accomplishment that I teach at least one person every week how to cook plantains. I am passing on a cherished piece of my family, our culture, food we love to eat and food that I hope you enjoy and will share with others.
With this recipe I am able to convince those who say, “I don’t like plantains” to give it another go, a chance to fall in love with it like I have. The most common cause of this conviction is that the first time they had it, it was soggy and greasy. Well, these deliciously golden nuggets of plantains are far from soggy and greasy.
My mother loves to eat plantains on the go, whole roasted on open flames with roasted peanuts as they are commonly sold on the street of Lagos and across Nigeria. We call them ‘Boli’.
Plantains are a starchy cooking banana. They are green when unripe & turn yellow when ripened, proceeding to turn black, becoming sweeter and softer as they change. I much prefer them yellow while my late grand ma Theresa (whose name I also bear) ate them green as part of her sugar free diet while managing diabetes.
We would boil them, skin on and peel afterwards, served with an assortment of stewed greens - wild spinach and bitter leaves, possibly oil free (I need to ask mum) with smoked fish. Now I adore eating boiled or roasted plantains with greens in a red pepper purée, cooked until quite jammy and sweet with golden browned onions. I think grandma Theresa would like my version very much, with smoked haddock or salmon and prawns. It feels good to remember her. Rest her soul.
Although delicious fried, I realised that after transporting the plantains such a far distance from the tropics, chilling them and storing them in the shops, by the time they get to our homes they tend to ripen very quickly unlike anything I experienced back in Nigeria.
So I started roasting them when yellow, ripened and slightly firm, keeping them crispy on the outside and soft inside when roasted/baked and more importantly never soggy or greasy. The warmth of the paprika and dry ginger are a wonderful accompaniment to the sweet but subtle banana-esque flavour of the plantains.
Do try this recipe and you will absolutely love cooking plantains this way.
I love seeing your delicious creations. Do remember to use hashtag #leratofoods & tag me @leratofoods on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter so I can easily find and share your delicious creations.
Spice Roasted Plantain
2 yellow ripe plantains
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ginger
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Heat your oven to 180c Fan/200c and prepare a roasting tray. Cut 1cm off the tips of the plantains. Make a light incision into the skin, cutting lengthways.
Peel the skin off. Halve the plantains lengthways and once more, cut each half lengthways in half. Finally, cut widthways into 2.5cm chunks and place in a bowl.
Pour the oil onto the plantains, season with the dry spices, a generous pinch of sea salt & freshly ground black pepper. Mix well & place onto the roasting tray.
Roast for 30 minutes or until golden brown and soft inside. Test it with a fork. Remove from the oven and the roasting tray and serve.
Enjoy your golden delicious spice roasted plantains with a green salad, with your favourite dips, with eggs, in a coconut curry...or with stewed greens like my grandma and I. The possibilities are endless.