Plantains are normally eaten in soups or stews. This is usually a formal meal and can get a little boring, especially for children. A good cook will play around with different ingredients to make it as interesting as possible and liven up the meal every time.
It can however get tiring and a little twist would work well. Turning the plantains into a snack will get everyone munching away and you may even end up with a shortage! Plantain chips or crisps would work very well for any age group.
Making these chips is very easy. You can use either ripe or unripe plantains or a mixture of both to get a salty and sweet mixture. A simple recipe will only require a few ingredients.
Nutritional content of plantains
Plantains are first and foremost a rich source of carbohydrates. They contain a good amount of starch and therefore provide the energy you will need to go about your daily activities. It is important to note that they contain more calories than your regular dessert (ripe and sweet) bananas that are mainly eaten uncooked. This makes them a great option for ensuring food security.
100g of plantains contains about 2.3g of dietary fiber. This is an adequate amount of fiber in your diet and it will ensure that you receive regular and normal bowel movements thus keeping constipation at bay.
Potassium is available in plantains and it controls blood pressure and heart rate. It can help deal with the negative effects of sodium in your system. Minerals like magnesium, phosphorus and iron are also present. Magnesium strengthens your bones and protects your heart as well.
Vitamin A and B6 make up a large part of this fruit just like bananas. Vitamin A is an antioxidant meaning it deals with all the pesky free radicals that may lead to cancer in your system. It also works on your vision and helps improve your skin’s appearance. Vitamin B6 helps in the treatment of anemia, neuritis and can help decrease the occurrence of strokes.
This snack is therefore packed with healthy nutrients. You will therefore not be filling up on empty calories but helping your body fight or protect itself against a myriad of diseases. Here is what you will require to make this healthy, tasty and crunchy protection formula in your own kitchen.
What you need
- Plantains (either ripe or unripe)
- Oil for frying
- Some salt to taste
- Peel the plantains very carefully and place them in a salt-water solution. Make sure that the water completely covers them. This is to avoid oxidation which will cause them to turn black.
- Wash all the plantains carefully and then dry them out in a sieve or a cheese cloth. Draining the water will keep the cooking oil from spattering when you place them to cook.
- Slice the plantains evenly into any shape of your choice.
- Place the oil in a pan and let it get very hot.
- Place the plantain slices into the hot oil in batches and fry them until they are hard. Be careful not to let them burn.
- Remove them using a slotted spoon when they are ready and place them onto paper towels to get rid of the excess oil.
- You can then sprinkle salt onto them if you would like.
- If you choose to use sweet plantains be sure to get hard ones. This will make slicing them much easier and they will come out crunchy when ready.
- You can sprinkle spices like black pepper or chili powder when they are ready if you would like to add a little ‘zing’ to it. Tomato sauce or ketchup can also be a great dip.
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