I have been craving the foods that remind me of my childhood, what amazing memories. I was lucky to have an amazing childhood in India as well as in the states. My parents did not have much when we first came to this country, but as a child, I never knew that. As far as I was concerned, I had the best life ever! Food always triggers these memories and nostalgia. One of my favorite memories includes watching my mom make plantain chips and sneaking bites. Then all of us would pile onto the couch and watch movies.
I would always get cold and the family would send me upstairs to get us covers, being the youngest those duties always fell to me. I remember being so scared of the dark (thanks mom and your lifetime movies filled with murder and psychos) and I would have them call my name every 30 seconds and they were under direct orders to come running and find me if I didn’t answer. If I didn’t answer, it meant that the murderers and kidnappers had gotten me. Aaah, childhood memories. I promise, I really did have an amazing childhood; I was never kidnapped or killed by mysterious Lifetime characters. 😉
This is also my go-to present for the holiday season. My family loves it and I spend an entire day cooking up plantains and shipping them to loved ones throughout the US. My sister gets a huge shipment of these goodies and I always get a call a few weeks later asking if I intend to make more. They don’t last long.
I love making these plantains; they have a hint of sweetness and are better than any chips you can buy in the store. Plantains are prominently used in Latin, African and Asian cuisine and were introduced to the western world thanks to commerce and wide-spread distribution systems. Plantains are classified as fruit and in the banana family and are known by many as the “cooking banana.”
When it comes to the oil you fry in, I have a few tips. First, never use olive oil. Olive oil loses its nutrients when cooked at high temperatures. Use it for simple sautéing on low or dressing salads where the taste is prominent. The best oils to use are coconut oil (organic because so many pesticides and other containments are used in 3rd world countries where coconut oil is produced), butter, lard (I love lard, you should too) and grape seed oil.
This easy recipe will replace your usual bagged treats that are filled with hydrogenated oils filled with trans-fatty acids.
6 cups Peanut oil
Plantains (raw) 4 to 5 (You will want to double this recipe because they go so fast)
¼ cup water
½ tablespoon salt
½ tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
½ tablespoon chili powder
Plantains are difficult to work with, this trick will make the task and fruit manageable. Score the sides of the plantain with a knife, do not touch the flesh of the fruit but break through the peal. Rinse the fruit and make sure you leave extra water on the plantain. Microwave on high for 1.5 minutes. Let cool and peal, this will make the process much easier and less slimy. Plantains dry out and oxidize (brown) quickly, so I like to peel and slice as I go, similar to an assembly line.
Using a mandolin, slice the plantain. I like to use the thinnest setting possible, this will make a crunchier and yummier chip.
Heat the peanut oil in a thick frying pan (preferably a cast iron) to 375 degrees F. There should be a minimum of 3 inches of oil to allow the chips to cook thoroughly.
Combine the remainder of the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Test the oil by throwing a piece of the plantain peel, if it sizzles and cooks up quickly, you are ready to go. Don’t forget to remove the peel from the oil.
Place the plantains in the hot oil using a metal spider spoon. Move the plantains around to ensure that they cook on both sides and that they do not stick together.
Once the plantains begin to get some color, add a tablespoon of the liquid mixture to the oil and move the plantains around to ensure they are fully coated. Be careful because it will bubble and pop, do not get burned.
Remove from the heat when they are a golden brown color and place on a paper towel to dry. You do not want these to brown too much or the flavor will change.
Continue the process until you run out of plantains.
Keep these in an airtight glass or metal container and they will last up to 2 weeks. Something about plastic makes them lose their crunch and what is a chip without crunch?