From Academic Kids

This article is about the starchy banana. For the small herb, see Plantago
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Plantain chips

Plantains are hard, starchy bananas used for cooking, as contrasted with the soft, sweet dessert varieties. Plantains are a staple food in the tropical regions of the world, treated in much the same way as potatoes and with a similar neutral flavour and texture when unripe. They are grown as far north as Florida, the Canary Islands, Madeira, Egypt, and southern Japan or Taiwan and as far south as KwaZulu-Natal and southern Brazil. It is unknown whether plantains were grown in the Americas before the arrival of Europeans.


Plantain as food


Ripe plantains can be eaten raw, or they can be used for cooking at any stage of ripeness. Green plantains are firm and starchy and resemble potatoes in flavour. Yellow plantains are still firm and starchy but slightly sweeter. Extremely ripe plantains are black, with a soft deep yellow pulp that is much sweeter than the earlier stages of ripeness. These black plantains can be used in sweet dishes. Steam cooked plantains are considered a nutritious food for infants and older.

Dried flour

Plantains are also dried and ground into flour; banana meal forms an important foodstuff, with the following constituents: water 10.62, albuminoids 3.55, fat 1.15, carbohydrates 81.67 (more than 2/3 starch), fibre 1.15, phosphates 0.26, other salts, 1.60. The sugar is chiefly sucrose.


Plantain fruit can be brewed into an alcoholic drink. The rootstock which bears the leaves is soft and full of starch just before the flowering period, and it is sometimes used as food in Ethiopia; the young shoots of several species are cooked and eaten.


After removing skin unripe fruit can be sliced (1 or 2 mm thick) and fried in boiling oil, to produce Banana Chips. Banana chips fried in Coconut oil and sprinkled with salt is an important item in hindu sadhya (a vegetarian feast).


After removing the skin, the ripened fruit can be sliced (3-4 cm thick) and pan fried in plantain oil and sprinkled with salt to produce Maduros. Maduros are a delicacy in Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Plantain Flower

Plantain will flower only once, and all the flowers will at the end of its shoot in separate bunches. Only first few bunches will become fruits. Bunches those not turned into fruit are used for cooking. This bunches are chopped and fried with masala powder.

Plantain Shoot

Plantain will only fruit once, after harvesting the plantain plant can be cut and peal the layers of skin (like onion) to get a cylinder shaped soft shoot. This can be chopped and steam cooked first and then fried with masala powder to make a good dish.

Plantain Root

Tender plantain root can be used for cooking. It can be cooked in the same way like its shoot to make a dish or sliced thin and fried in oil to make chips.

Plantain Leafs

Traditionally plantain leafs are used like plates while serving South Indian Tally or during sadhya.

They are also used to stimulate appetite as a fragrant smell is given off when hot food is placed on top of the leaf.

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