The plantain fruit is historically documented to be native to Southeast Asia, whilst currently finding roots as a generally domesticated and cultivated plant across tropical and subtropical climates; globally the plantain is blooming in popularity as the most produced fruit and closely growing in importance as a very important food crop on the tails of the wheat, rice and maize crops. It is a food crop that grows beautifully well in tropical climates all over the world and during the 18th century a Swedish botanist known as Linnaeus decides to named the plantain and banana species after Moses in the Bible thus the name Musa with which both fruits are referred to as its scientific name; all the edible plant fruits are seedless belonging to the two main species of the plantain and banana family Musaceae and the genus Musa whereas the biological names for the two most popular species are known as for the Plantain (Musa Paradisiaca) and for the Banana (Musa Acuminata). Going through major world records, the plantain fruits has been found to date back to over 2500 years ago in history and it was also documented in other records that the plantain fruit was discovered way back in time as early as 327 B.C. by Alexander The Great who subsequently brought it into Europe. In Ancient Greek records it was documented that Alexander The Great travelled to India where he discovered the plantain fruits it was mentioned that it became his most favorite fruit thereby making him to facilitate the cultivation and domestication of the fruit in Africa, that subsequently became a very popular fruit during the trans-Saharan trade boom; it ranked amongst the 10 best and most vital food staples in the world with African countries including Nigeria being the largest producers of plantains in the world. The plantain tree is commonly grown and domesticated in home backyard gardens for domestic consumption whereas farmers are also engaged in its production in large plantation for both the local market and for export; it grows and thrives on different soil types with good drainage and moisture, the plant matures during the rainy season and bear fruits in the dry season, as a non-seasonal crop thus providing its fruits all year round. The Plantain is called “Ogede Agbagba” while the sweet dessert banana is known as “Ogede” in Yoruba, sharing a common name of “Ogede” with which the plantain is called but the dessert banana is known as “Unere” in Igbo, whereas the dessert banana is “Ayaba” and the plantain fruit is known as “Agade” in Hausa tribes of Nigeria.
The plantain is commonly known as French plantain or edible banana, it is a fast growing perennial plant that produce giant leaves which is oblong and often time paddle shaped after growing so long measuring several feet. The plantain plants only flower once which grows on the matured plant and it grows yellow flowers with a purple red shoot at the tip which when it fully develops turns to a finger like fruits going up to about 10 fingers per bunch with a natural color of green which turns yellow as it ripens and finally the color black when it is overripe. The inner stems can be boiled and consumed, in some recipes it is dried and then ground into flour, or made into starch especially the plantain. The leaf sheath in rural communities are carefully removed and used as binding strings for tying food wrapped in leaves such as “iru” the locust beans condiment, steamed puddings, meat dishes and local delicacies; the leaves are so useful that is a favorite wraps for foods that are about to be steamed or cooked like rice or beans puddings, the leaves gives food cooked within its folds a beautiful greenish color whilst enhancing the food flavors in a nutritious and deliciously distinct way.
Plantain Fruits Is Not Dessert Banana Fruits
The plantain and banana are nutritionally the same rich in iron, potassium, vitamins and micronutrients, the plantain excess complex carbohydrates are from its starch whereas the sweet dessert banana derives its carbohydrates from its high loads of sugar. Plantains are edible starchy fruits of the banana family, and millions of people around the world depends on the plantain as an important source of their daily staple food but the sweet dessert banana are generally consumed as fruit snacks. The plantain is naturally shaped and looks just like the dessert banana from the inside pale colored, pulpy fruits to its outside skin coverings but differs completely in taste and physical size; both share a lot of similarities but are not the same. The plantain fruits as compared to the sweet dessert banana, can be differentiated by the following attributes, the former is much more firm, loaded with starch, lower in sugar, bigger and thicker skinned mostly cooked before it is consumed whereas the later is just its opposite, because it is loaded with sugar instead of starch, smaller, thin-skinned and a fruit snack that can be consumed without cooking except when incorporated into dessert or baked goodies, the plantain is a starchy staple food for many African countries especially Nigeria, the Caribbean and across Latin American.
The plantain plant, fruits only once, it is cut down after harvesting the fruits from the plantain trees, it’s trunks is then peeled in order to harvest the soft shoots within its straw-like core which is used to make a traditional dish relished by some tribal regions in some parts of the world. Plantain starchy fruits matures and ripen along with its color changes, sweeter as it ages from the unripe-green with the bland taste to the ripe-yellow that is sweet and the overripe-black that is almost gel-like hence the sweetest; popularly refer to as “cooking bananas” because it is seldom eaten raw except in recipes requiring the raw ripen plantains fruits such as beverages or in rare cases by some plantain lovers who relished the fruits raw or cooked for them consuming the raw plantain fruits is normal.
The ripening stages of the plantain starchy fruits is identified by its colors, it is to be noted that the plantain are generally harvested green and unripe for so many reasons among which is to slow down its ripening and prolong its storage especially for the market; the unripe-green plantain are firm with its peel stuck to the starchy pale colored pulp thereby making it so difficult to peel and with a neutral to bland taste that is also less sweet when consumed alone. It is excellently loaded with iron and starch, lower in calories when compared to the cassava, hence making it a great alternative for preparing the staple fufu swallow; an absolute delight in making chips for its crispy crunchiness when chew, a highly satisfying meal when roasted, boiled, fried or grilled giving a taste just like any other root staple crop. The ripe-yellow plantains are sweeter, easy to peel off its skin from the softer pulpy fruits and for those that are addicted to the plantain it can be consume raw almost tasting like the dessert banana. It is delicious when deep fried bringing out its natural sweetness, sprinkling of salt just about sealed up its unforgettable flavor, that caramelizes when it is cool; best recipes are the yellow crispy chips, dodo that is deep-fried in palm oil for traditional dishes but taste different when fried in peanut oil, a popular street snack generally served with pepper, egg or vegetable sauces, presented as side dish for Jollof rice or beans pottage. The roasted-booli commonly served with roasted peanuts is a must-have for corporate officers who often go for a bunch to munch away the stress of office work loads. The sweetest of the lot is the black skinned plantain fruits that has completely turned into sugar, totally gone soft and gel-like, oozing out a sweet juice but with lots of noticeable tiny black seeds embedded at the core; it is fantastic for making punch drinks, alcoholic beverages, baked goodies and sweet treats.
The plantains as a great source of food is not only versatile but very important to both the rural region and urban communities when it comes to food security and healthy eating because the plantain is accessible but not affordable as it used to be due to inflation and high cost of living.
The plantain is considered a vegetable due to its starch contents especially the unripe plantain whereas it is turned to sugar when ripe in the yellow plantain, thereby it can be eaten raw when it is ripe and yellow without cooking or processing having a taste and texture that is just like the sweet dessert banana whereas the unripe and green types must be cooked before eating. It is mostly preferred and prepared as vegetable, hence it is generally much more appealing when it is cooked with ingredients of choice and according to regional cuisine; therefore both the ripe and unripe plantain can be cooked using the most preferred cooking method of boiling, baking, steaming, stewing, grilling, roasting, frying, above all it can be dehydrated and processed into plantain flour which can be used as a healthy alternative to the wheat flour in making baked goodies and the popular Nigerian swallow known as plantain fufu; the ripe and overly ripe plantain can be recycled into plantain figs after cutting it into disc shapes and dehydrating it until crispy dried.
When ripe the dessert banana are succulent and sweet, incorporated into different recipes as a thickener in smoothies when blended with other juicier fruits, delicious when added to baked goodies, mix into cake mixtures enhances texture and flavor, the fruits can be dehydrated and reserved for use as a sweet dried snack. The plantain on the other hand is delicious in a variety of recipes, depending on how the plantain is cooked, and the recipes used the dish gives out a taste that is similar to the yam or potatoes but when prepared with added ingredients it absorbs the seasonings and takes on the flavors of add-in which makes its an absolutely versatile and easy to use food crop; always remember that dessert banana is soft and sweet whereas the plantain banana is firm and starchy used for cooking as a vegetable hence the name cooking banana.
Plantain Herb Is Not Plantain Fruit
The plantain leaf is known as “Plantago Major” which is a broadleaf that is naturally egg-shaped, smooth, thick-stemmed which grows low to the ground; popularly used as a herbal plant in making decoctions and concoctions in traditional medicine notably so that it is considered effective when prepared into infusions, poultices, salves, oils and balms. Although it bears the common name of “plantain” with the banana-like plantain fruits but it differs in many ways; because the other plantain is an edible starchy fruit that looks similar to the dessert banana which can be eaten as a raw fruit when ripe, baked, fried, roasted or grilled and can also be made into flour that is often used as a healthy alternative to other refined grain flours.
The green weedy plantain leaf is a plant that originated from North America, Europe and Asia, historically dating back centuries which has been documented in legendary folktales, that it has been used as a herbal plant for preventive and curative health purposes around the world; medical confirmation has proved its therapeutic properties as an efficacious herbal remedy for upper respiratory, urinary and digestive tracts infections. All around the world regional tribes and cultures has been known to use it as a herbal plant to handle health issues.
The plantain herbal leaf is rich in nutrients, high in vitamins A and C with an excellent loads of calcium; its active attributes are antitoxic action, antimicrobial action, antibacterial action that assist in preventing infections. The plantain herb anti-inflammatory action, soothingly helps to relieve pain, burning and itching caused by varicose veins, eczema, yeast, cuts or burns; a balm recipe can be made with the plantain leaves by crushing the leaves after which it is mixed with olive or coconut oil and then used regularly as a topical antibiotic cream.
Hence, medically safe for children therefore recommended for moderate chronic cough in kids due to its beneficial properties which helps to reduce the discomfort caused by the irritation of lung tissues and also assist to stimulate the immune system; its active properties are effective in relieving coughs that is caused by irritation, cold and the flu virus.
The fresh tender leaves of the plantain herbs are edible and can be eaten raw in vegetable salad or cooked as green veggies in soups whereas in traditional medicine the plantain leaves decoctions, juice extracts, shredded, or pounded leaves can be chewed and used topically for the treatment of insect stings and animal bites; simply extract its juice and rub on the spot which then relieves pain immediately. The fresh or dried matured leaves are stringy and tough which can be made into a concentrated infusion or tea due to its strong aroma, flavor and taste; the plantain herbal leaf tea can be used as an expectorant and as a mouthwash to help prevent infections and to heal mouth sores, bruises and bleeding gums. The leaves infusion or extracts can be spray on sunburns for its cooling effects, it can help also to reduce swollen and painful insects stings, helps to stop allergic reactions, itching and rashes caused by some plant species, aids in speeding up healings in sores and bruises; amazingly the plantain herb can help curb the smoking urge in chronic smokers.
It can be ingested internally to help control cholesterol, aids diabetes patients, soothes kidney problems and bladder infections, brings an instant relief for hemorrhoid, also aids to relief irritable bowel syndrome whereas it is a fantastic remedy for indigestion and ulcer, the plantain herbs handles constipation and diarrhea by helping to calm the bowels; always consult your doctors before using any herbal remedy and always, always use in moderation.
Mystical Magic Of The Plantain Fruit In Nigerian Cultural Rites
The culture of a people make the people, Nigeria is brimming with its legendary tradition which includes herbal medicines, the age long practice of ritual sacrifices to ward off evils, for protection, a change in bad destiny, thereby making the traditionalist to go visit shrines in order to consult the oracles, with a gift to seek the face of the ancestral gods against barrenness in order to intercede on their behalf for the fruits of the wombs or spiritual blessings. Sacrifices are believed to assist in appealing and appeasing the Ancestors or the gods of the land, such sacrificial items can take the form of food crops, animals, money or rare customary relics with a deeply rooted beliefs that the gods must be given what belongs to them; in order for the fortune seekers to be blessed. The plantain fruits is not only relished in native cuisines but also cherished as a vital tool to connect with the gods of the land through the ancestors; Nigerian traditionalists are superstitious and suspicious about everyone and everything believing that the supernatural spirits are responsible and the reasons behind every event or people’s deeds in life. Food myths are also amongst the many deep rooted beliefs in many Nigerians; the plantain fingers that are naturally stuck together is expected to be separated whilst holding it behind using the fingers moved to the back to prise the conjoined plantain fingers away from the others until all are separated without looking at it during the rites because cultural beliefs regards separating stuck plantain whilst looking at it a taboo which can be responsible for such a person to birth conjoined twins, especially in the southern regions of Nigeria.
Plantain fruit is relished as a staple daily meal in southern parts of Nigeria, undoubtedly it is believed to have both natural and supernatural healing powers reason to why it has been used in traditional medicines for centuries to treat virus and bacteria as an antibiotics, a wonderful remedy against fungal and parasitic infections especially in the guts of the human body system. The plantain fruit is culturally believed to be a symbol of fruitfulness and double blessings of the fruits of the womb especially when a woman eats it often as part of her daily diet, such a woman is believed to bring forth multiple or twins birth.
Nigerian states known for the highest production of the plantain fruits are concentrated in the southern and central regions of the country such as Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Enugu, Crossriver, Imo, Kogi, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Plateau, Rivers, amongst other producing states.
The plantain in Benin, Edo states have multiple uses hence it is the most produced, consumed, and marketed food commodity; it is relished and consumed as fresh fruit, cooked in delicious cultural cuisines, processed into varieties of food products such as snacks, sweet treats, alcoholic beverages, made into baby cereals for feeding kids, no wonder the state is known for its births of twin babies; the blessing of the wombs which has been culturally linked to the consumption of the plantain fruits.
Twin birth is a common natural occurrence amongst the Yoruba ethnic groups, historically the south west has been rated and documented as one of the regions where highest twin births have been found and recorded in the world, findings revealed that the reasons might not be unconnected to their consumption of the popular amala swallow prepared with the yam flour combined with the plantain fruits flour and then served with okra leaf soup in daily diets, medical research has proved that there is a chemical agent in the food stuffs that stimulates the production of eggs in the ovaries; heredity can not be ruled out either in the birthing of twin babies. The historical city of Igbo-Ora in Oyo state in the Yoruba kingdom of Nigeria, is popular for its festival of celebrating twins which may also be attributed to local diet, because they are known for their love for the plantain fruit in native culinary preparation.
The marriage rituals performed in the south-south regions of Nigeria involves the grooming of teenage girls in preparation for the next phase which is marital life; these young girls are taken into the fattening room where they are pampered with nourishing meals such as the plantain fruits which are used in preparing assorted native dishes with which they are fed fat. Aside from feeding them fat, another part of the rites during their stay at the grooming homestead includes beautification of the young girls with cultural adornment and hairstyles, they are also cultured on good manners, and taught cultural cuisines. An interesting aspect of the rituals is called the virgin dance, before the dance are performed the girls are painted with the colorful local chalks and dressed half-naked to move in a procession into the market square to dance and at the end of their stay in the fattening rooms they are believed to be culturally cleansed and ready for their new lives in their husbands house.
Ancient Tales Of Ages
Iya-ibeji is of a twins birth, a mother of twins, from a family of several twins from uncles and aunties; their families were blessed with multiple birthing and whenever each of their family members are asked about the secret of birthing twins they simply answer in Yoruba by saying “Ogede Agbagba Ni” meaning “it is in the plantain fruits” and when asked for further details, they go way back in time to recount and recite the stories often told about the plantain fruits and their Grand Mama.
One day Iya-ibeji was returning from the farm, carrying a brown hand-woven raffia basket on her head, which she has loaded up with several bunches of the ripe and unripe plantains; the brown worn out basket is almost coming apart due to the heavy weight of the fruits, trying hard with every steps she takes to keep the basket in place whilst preventing the plantains from falling out of the basket. Carrying strapped on her back is her son, Iya-ibeji never leaves her twins unattended to, reasons to why she must take them along to the market en-route the farm or farm en-route the market to sell some of the farm produce, despite the backbreaking farm work, coupled with yet again backing the youngest of her twins who likes to make trouble unlike the senior Taiwo who is docile and quiet; amazing to see strapped on her back is one of her twins baby called Kehinde who is not sleeping but smiling and waving to other babies on their mamas back. The sleepy town of the southwest always comes alive when farmers are returning from their farms after a days hard work, greetings are heard coming from all directions voicing simultaneously “Iya ibeji, Ologede agbagba, a’kaabo woo” and greetings of “kaabo” meaning “welcome” heralds their return into their homestead.
The other women walking with her back home helped Iya-ibeji with the heavy plantain bunches she carried home, all the way from the farm and teased her to be careful about consuming too much of it in order not to end up having more twins than she can handle, they all laughed mischievously.
One of them chuckled shyly and uttered in the Yoruba language, Iya-ibeji “jo so fun wa” said Iyawo meaning “please tell us”, the other women quickly join in their voices saying “yes, tell us the story” supporting the request of Iyawo which is a name given to a new wife in Yoruba tribe and they all reminded mama twins about her many promises to tell them her grandmother’s story.
Without further ado, Iya-ibeji invited the women to sit on the wooden stools while others sat on the edges of the large bamboo mat, she went into her mud hut to fetch water whilst unstrapping her baby first; she bend waist down in order to pass through the small doorway. After serving them a drink of refreshingly cool water from the clay pots, she gave them some of the very ripe plantain to eat and did same for her twins baby; she told them that they must pay for her story by helping her peel the unripe plantain for drying which they all agreed to do just for a piece of that ancient tales of ages.
Iya-ibeji began her story by telling them about her grandmother who was a beautiful damsel during her time, even though not educated she attended the Sunday school established by the missionary at that time, where she got to learn the alphabet and few English words by putting together some letters. Day by day her grandmother became so enlightened that suitors from within and around their villages visited their family home to seek out her hand in marriage, it was at that time a kind of a competitive race to win for prize the beautiful and learned village girl who was her grandmother. Iya-ibeji went silent for some minutes to put together some sketchy details of happenings then, the women were so anxious and one of them said, “what happened with so many suitors?”. She then continued her story by informing them that during the days of old, marriage is not as easy as it is nowadays, because way back then, the intended couples or their parents must first consult “Ifa” the Oracle Of Divinity for compatibility and approval before any marriage can be officiated between couples. During their visits the suitors try to outdo one another, through gift giving to the beautiful damsel; basket loads of food produce were brought in by the young farmers as gifts while others gift relic items whereas those without any possession work on their farmlands as a gift presented through service.
Unknowingly to the damsel and her family one of the suitors that is so smitten with her beauty decided to lock up her destiny in the plantain bunch he presented to her which he insisted that she must eat before he leaves their compound, innocently granny took a bite, chew it and swallowed it and that is all it took for her to fall hopelessly in love with him. Boldly she went ahead to inform her parents that she has picked her husband amongst the many suitors but her parents insisted that they must still consult the Ifa Oracle because that is the traditions pass down from generation before them and the ritual practice must be upheld for all marriages in the family. Unfortunately the oracle did not approve of the union, after series of consultations and sacrifices it was revealed to them that the gods are not in support of the marriage; consequently, if they insisted on going ahead with the marriage they would have themselves to blame in the future.
The intended couples were adamant that the union is made in heaven, believing that no tradition or culture can come between their love because they attended Sunday school so therefore they are now educated and enlightened.
Iya-ibeji told her audience that the marriage was the beginning of many problems for the couple; she told them that as long as they lived in a traditional society with norms and values, customary divinations are the mirror to see into the unforeseen future whereas cultural rites and rituals are the vehicles with which to drive smoothly through life uncanny obstacles, stagnant destiny and painful fates.
Iya-ibeji continuing her story said, “she emo in to shele si nwon?” Meaning do you know what happened to the couples in their married life?; the plantain was the caused and in it lies the solution to the several issues they encountered in their togetherness.
One fateful day, her grandmother decided to walk to the farm alone, she woke up early, bathe and deciding on what to wear was easy because she now has few cloths in her clothing basket due to the many misfortunes that has followed her into her matrimonial home, she noticed the hand-dyed navy blue “adire” fabric which has been severally redone to remain wearable and it is also the best attire that complimented the color of her skin such that whenever she wears it she never go unnoticed. So she wore her adire buba which is a small blouse having a short wide sleeves, around her waist she tied the adire iro which is a wrap around piece of material for wrapper then she pulled out from under her large “Adudu” which is a local basket for keeping clothing’s and jewelries, hide inside was a small clay pot containing her jewelries. After closely inspecting it’s contents, she picked each piece to adorn herself, Granny wore her shield of protection the “ileke” in Yoruba which is not only a piece of adornments but the power of a woman’s sensuality; first she wore her red coral beads around her neck, waist and wrist and suddenly she sighted a coral bead heirloom presented to every new bride which has been pass on from generation to generation up to the time of her marriage and then it was handed down to her. It is was a unique piece of ancient history and treasure, entangled in it uneven insects infested holes are secrets only the gods can see; she has never seen such a priceless artifact anywhere in the community, that day she decide to wrap it around her shuku hairstyle just as if using a band to hold together a ponytail hairstyle. A vibration shook her body and looking at her arms she saw goose bumps, that is magically strange, feeling a mystic veil shrouding her; she silently whispered “kilode?” meaning what is happening?.
Immediately she knows what she must do, she changed her mind about going to the farm; Granny shrugged off the feeling of uneasiness, and whispered to herself that she must take the bold step to make her life better, before she change her mind and lose her new found courage, she picked up her shoulder shrug, a single “ipele” which is a multi-colored “aso-oke” that was made of the native fabricate that generally worn by the Yoruba, it was intricately and specially knitted for her traditional bridal costume, daintily she places it on her left shoulder with the edges dangling with cowries that has been embedded within the colorful cotton thread. All alone she must visit the Babalawo, popular name give to fortune tellers; who lives close to the river-side whom she often see chanting incantations to and fro along the forest path whenever he goes into the heart of the forest in search of rare herbs and animal bones which he uses on a sand filled tray that he uses as divination board to seek and see into the unknown world just as the modern day crystal-ball.
All was quiet around the scary looking shrine, hung at the entrance are the skull of hyena, leopard and a huge lion skull in the middle of the two, snake skins of various species are used to tied and hold together gourd calabashes, and pots. A snake-like hand held staff made up of a tree branch, looks just like a living snake but on a closer look revealed that it was painted with a white clay chalk and wrapped up tightly with the skin of a Python, mysteriously the snake-like staff stood upright with none holding it but the invisible hands of the herbalist popularly called the Babalawo, slowly the staff started to move up and down whilst going around in circle, the white cowries on contact with another cowries make a jingling sound like the sound of many tumblers crashing against each other. She paid homage to the gods and the invisible spirits, chanting the usual praises to the ancestors; Granny was beside herself with fright and just when she has had enough, she turned to run back home for dear life, suddenly a voice echoed above her answering that the gods have heard her cries and pleas but before anything is done she must go back and return with her husband immediately. Granny quickly walk backwards without lifting up her head, away from the vicinity of the shrine; as soon as she noticed the footpath, she turned towards the farm to inform her husband about the instructions from the Babalawo the herbalist. They left the farm together carrying along with them the crops harvested for the day’s meal which consist of yam tubers, a bunch of plantain, some vegetables and a keg of palm wine. On her second visit with her husband, she saw the Babalawo in his physical body; they both greeted him, while her husband prostrated she knelt down. He nodded in answer to the greetings and with his “irukere”, the horse whip he gave them permission to sit on the animal skin spread and used as rug, that is almost glued to the red earth.
Going straight to the reasons for their visit without asking any questions from them, Babalawo informed them that to reverse the anger of the gods they must perform some crucial rites for purification and sacrifices must be presented for the blessings that has been suspended, the ritual is known as “atutu” in Yoruba. He explained further the necessity for such a cultural cleansing; which has to do with a binding curse sent upon them, prepared using a single plantain fruit that was placed among the plantain bunch her then would be husband gifted her during their courtship. It was an evil deed done using their “astrological stars” known as “Irawo” by one of the suitors seeking her hand in marriage, seeing that she is much more interested in her current husband he decided to charm her by locking up her destiny for as long as she is alive. Unfortunately, for them on that day as fate would have it with the magic powers of the evil herbalist, the plantain that was laced with magic spell was handed over to her to eat through her favorite suitor who she ended up getting married to; fortunately for her the heirloom she used that day to wrapped around her hair led her to him, in order to unravel the mystery behind all their misfortunes since getting married.
Granny’s eyes were swimming in tears but her husband was bold enough to respectfully ask the Babalawo about the next thing to do in order to appease and seek a reversal from the gods of the land; the Babalawo pointed at the plantain in the food basket, saying that at sunset take a bunch of that plantain and place it at the intersection of the roads leading to your home and farm; also take along some palm oil, kola-nuts and a white pigeon, remember not to speak to any one on the way and on your return do not look back; it is called back to sender. Go home in peace, live a happy and fruitful life with your family from today onwards and they both answered “ase” meaning may it be so; granny’s husband was so elated that apart from taking only the plantain bunch he gave every other food produce in the basket to the Babalawo as a show of gratitude. Babalawo said, “e duro na” meaning to wait a moment and they stopped to look expectantly at the Babalawo, he pointed at the pest infested beads entwined in granny’s hair, and said to her, take care of that treasure in your hair for it is priceless; granny nodded simply, too shaken for words.
After the rituals life quickly changed to a much more favorable and fabulous outcome, things changed for the better with blessings recorded on their farmlands and family home; as a great plantain farmer the fruit not surprising became their major staple food that must be served at least twice daily in any of their native meals and often eaten as snacks but most importantly they made a lot of income from selling the plantain fruits. That same season her granny was blessed with the fruit of the womb and she put to bed bouncing baby boys, both identical twins who were named Taiwo and Kehinde; from that moment on her granny decided to have a family shrine in their homestead made up of a small little thatched room decorated with clay pots, cowries, animal skins and traditional relics but most importantly in the middle of the room is situated an Ibeji idol molded out of clays, which was the center of focus for any one visiting the family shrine, the Ibeji symbolizes the twins, givers of the blessings of the womb and worldly blessings, the family worshiped and performed cultural ritual in their family shrine in order to be blessed. The plantain was one of the valuable food crop that must be offered in the shrine due to the large plantain harvest granny’s husband is rewarded with, hence making him the richest plantain farmer at that time in their village. Granny’s first set of twins heralded the many twins birth in their family, granny gave birth to three set of twins when she was alive and one of those twins happens to be iya ibeji father. Who also continue with the blessings of having twins as children which happens to be her own Taiwo and Kehinde. All their families have a deep rooted belief in the powers of the three spiritual deities; they have the gods of the land to thank for all blessings when pleadings and prayers were sent forth, praises that pleases upon their great ancestors for watching over them and also this, Iya Ibeji lifted up a ripe-yellow plantain fruit!
Plantain Sweet, Sour, Savory, And Spicy Recipes
Plantain is a versatile staple ingredients that blends into any recipe of choice, from the sweet, sour, spicy or savory but amazingly a single plantain dish can be prepared to obtain multiple tasty flavors of the spicy, sweet and sour. Plantains are simply called cooking bananas, do not mistake the sweet dessert bananas for the bigger and firmer plantain fruits; even though both are similar in appearance and of the same family but differs in taste. Assorted traditional dishes in Nigeria are made using the plantain fruits, for its uniqueness in enhancing any recipe of choice. As the saying goes, “the taste of the pudding is in the eating” so indulge in these delicious dishes for a happy and healthy body, go pluck some plantain fruits and try any of these yummy sweet deliciousness:-
Boiled Ripe-Yellow Plantain
The boiling of the plantain fruit is one of the healthiest and easiest ways to cook the starchy fruits whether ripe or unripe, peeled or unpeeled.
The boiled ripe-yellow plantain are generally serve just like sweet potato dishes, eaten with vegetable or egg sauce, delicious eaten alone or with yummy dips such as savory sauce, spicy vegetable oils or creamy peanut butter; alternatively it can be folded into other dishes to present a completely different meal. The cooking method for the ripe and unripe plantain are the same but the cooking duration is different because the ripe yellow plantain is softer hence its cooking time is not as long as the unripe green plantain which takes much longer to cook. It is not only healthy but just as delicious to cook plantain in its skin using the steaming method which gives a delightful tender texture as well as an intense flavor. Any cooking method can be substituted for the other in recipes using plantains, which all depends on personal preference, either boiled, grilled, fried, roasted, baked or stewed in one pot dishes.
1. Plantains ripe-yellow
2. Salt to taste
4. Steamer for steaming by choice
5. Pots for boiling in salted water
6. Plantain leaves, foil or aluminum paper for wrapping up before cooking
1. It is necessary for healthy cooking to wash plantains in running water because plantains sticky wax attracts dust, dirt and debris; wash off or rinse the plantains starchy fruits before using in cooking then towel or air dry for ease in handling.
2. The peeling of the ripe-yellow plantain is much easier than the unripe-green plantains, use a sharp knife to cut the firm and fiber loaded plantain. First cut off the top and bottom tips, it is best NOT to peel it because when it is cooked in its skin, all the delicious flavor of the ripe yellow plantain is enhanced; It is much more nourishing with its natural goodness and sweetness shining through so strongly hence avoid peeling before boiling because after cooking, the tender fruit peels off easily without wastage.
3. Place the now cleaned plantain on a hard stable surface then hold down with the hand and cut off the top and bottom tips with a sharp kitchen knife. Next is to cut into halves or quarters but it is best to boil it whole and slice into shapes of choice after cooking, it is all about what is best for the cooking method or the recipes. Alternatively, just before boiling, or baking, wrap up the plantains in a foil paper and boil or bake until cooked, here again it is all about choice.
4. Arrange the ripe yellow plantain in a deep saucepan, pour water that is enough to just cover the plantains, next is to salt it at this stage if preferred or to cook without adding salt but sprinkling salt to taste while boiling it helps to absorb properly and balance its sweetness. On medium heat place the pot of plantain, cover with the pot lid and simmer on medium heat until it is cooked.
5. Open the pot lid to check for doneness, when the skin has splits open half way or all the way through its length then it is ready.
6. Drain out the boiling stock and keep for other uses, transfer the plantain into a covered dish before serving.
7. Best to peel off its skin just before serving, place on a flat plate and pull away its skin easily then slice into shapes and sizes of choice.
8. Serve the cooked plantain with any side dishes, veggies stir fries, fried eggs or meat sauces, enjoy.
Boiled Unripe-Green Plantain
The unripe green plantain is starchy with a bland and slightly earthy taste, difficult to peel as compare to the ripe and yellow plantain; to peel the unripe plantain first slice off the top and bottom tips then cut a vertical slit along its ridges, prise the tough skin away from the pulp with a knife, and to avoid its sticky wax staining the fingers, place the whole fruit under running water and remove the peel by pulling it off sideways in one long piece. The unripe plantain gets sticky after peeling, so soak in water mixed with lemon juice for some minutes but drain the lemon water before cooking.
1. Unripe-green plantain
2. Lemon or salt water solution
3. Plantain or banana leaves for wrapping
4. Salt to taste
1. The first step is to pour some water into a deep bowl add salt or lemon juice and stir continuously until dissolved then reserve the salt water solution for soaking the peeled plantain to avoid discoloration.
2. Next is to pick out the plantain type to use which is the unripe green plantain; rinse the plantain of all dust and debris, towel or air dry for ease in handling.
3. A sharp kitchen knife is most appropriate for peeling the plantain because it is tough, place it on a hard stable surface then hold down with the hand and cut off both ends.
4. Turn it to a vertical position, carefully slit it along the vertical ridges from the top to the bottom; slightly slice the skin away from the vegetable and peel off side ways along the natural ridges.
5. Gently drop the peeled plantain into the lemon or salted water solution and repeat the process until all the plantain fruits are peeled, remember to drop the peeled plantain in lemon or salted water to retain its natural color. Pick any clean banana or plantain leaf rinse in clean water then shake off the water on the plantain leaf.
6. Cut each plantain into the sizes or shapes of choice or place the peeled plantain whole in the middle of the plantain leaf sheath or ridge, fold the leave over the plantain, fold the top and bottom edges backwards just like folding the table napkins, to keep it within the leaf fold, prise out the sheath in the center of another leaf, use it to gently tie the leaf in place.
7. Transfer into a deep pot, pour enough water to boil until cooked, sprinkle salt just enough to taste if the recipe is for savory or spicy dishes but if it is for the staple fufu swallow then the addition of salt is optional, then boil or steam the leaf-wrapped plantain until cooked.
8. Cook through to doneness then strain the broth and serve the boiled plantain with any preferred vegetable sauce, stew or fried eggs, peanut butter or garden egg stew of choice.
Unripe Plantain Flour
The unripe green plantain are mostly made into flour when dry milled which is generally used for the popular Nigerian staple swallow known as plantain amala or fufu. The processed flour of the plantain is traditionally used in local communities for the preparation of Amala-swallow which is made by mixing in the plantain flour into boiling water, and stirring continuously until a thick brownish elastic and solid dough is obtained. The plantain fruits can also be parboiled, boiling stock drained and then it is sliced, spread out and spaced out to sun dry which can be further processed by milling into plantain flour. Whereas for most chefs preferring the black amala fufu, the peeled plantain fruits are stored in the refrigerator for its color to change into grey through to black before it is sun dried or dehydrated. The ripe yellow plantain can also be processed into sweet plantain flour for adding into baked goodies or yummy recipes, so simply follow the steps for the unripe green plantain flour.
1. Unripe green plantain
3. Grinder, food processor, mortar and pestle
4. Commercial engine for public use
5. Airtight containers to store and to keep moisture at bay
1. Plantains sticky wax attracts dust, dirt and debris therefore it is necessary to always wash off or rinse the plantains starchy fruits before using in cooking.
2. With a sharp knife cut off the two tips, slice along its ridges vertically then peel off from the starchy pulp; if making the black amala fufu is desired then store the peeled plantain fruits in the refrigerator to change into a greyish or blackish color as a result of air exposure.
3. Cut into round discs, oblong or thin vertical slices, arrange by spreading out in a single layer on a non-stick baking tray and transfer in the dehydrator to dry until crispy.
Alternatively, spread out in a single layer on a clean raffia or bamboo mat and place in the sun to dry until completely free of moisture and it is crispy dry.
4. When completely dry then pick and collect all the dried plantain flakes into a dish, ground with the coffee grinder or food processor and then dry milled at the commercial grinding machine popularly called “engine” after paying a token fee if the quantity is much more than the food processor or kitchen grinder can ground or pound into a free flowing flour. Traditionally in most rural communities it is place into a wooden mortar and pounded with the pestle until completely turned into free flowing flour even though it is tasking and time consuming but still the most preferred for that authentic cultural cuisine flavor and taste.
5. Sift the plantains starchy fruits flour and then store in an airtight jar or container and use whenever a recipe requires it; always remember to avoid dipping wet spoon or ladle to scoop the flour in order to avoid contact with moisture that could lead to molds forming and cause spoilage.
A tantalizing and tasty experience, every slice is an invitation for more and more, fluffy soft and spicy, serve anytime of day for breakfast, lunch and dinner the perfect snack meal on a busy day with favorite drinks or beverages.
1. Ripe Plantain
2. Fresh eggs
8. Baking powder
9. Salt to taste
Filling And Toppings:-
1. Groundnut oil
2. Tomato paste consisting of tomato and scotch bonnet blend
3. Beef or chicken pieces
4. Onion rings, spring onions and chives,
5. Cabbage, carrots chopped and olives
6. Green pepper, scotch bonnet and tomatoes slices
7. Mixed spices of ginger, garlic and chili pepper
8. Seasoning cubes
1. There are two options which is to either make the plantain pizza crust:- which is to first blend or mash overripe plantain, add eggs, flour, yeast, salt, butter or oil, mix until a batter is obtained. Scoop out the plantain batter on to a pizza pan lined with silicone or parchment paper, spread out the pizza batter to fit the pan, blind bake the plantain pizza crust, until it firms up and can hold its own. Remove from the oven and fill up with toppings of choice, toast or bake until golden brown around the crust edges.
2. The second options is to make the pizza dough which begins with; sift the all purpose flour into a mixing bowl, add sugar, baking powder and salt, stir to combine, an alternative method here is the use of plantain flour if available if not then proceed. Peel and cut into chunks the plantain, feed into the blender cup, add in some milk, melted butter and fresh eggs; blend until it is smooth.
3. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, pour the plantain batter over the dry ingredients, gradually fold in to combine with the batter until a soft dough is obtain.
4. Transfer the plantain dough onto a work area and knead until it is smooth, roll out the dough into the desired thickness.
5. Spray or brush the pizza pan with oil, then transfer or move the dough into the pizza pan, gently lace the edges with the fingers whilst pressing it to fit the base and to decorate its edges.
6. Wash, cut meat into cube pieces and season meat with spices, onion slices, salt and crushed cubes, stir all together to combine, cover and allow to marinate. Place on low heat but do not add water, the meat juice is enough to cook it until tender, when cooked remove the meat into a separate plate and reserve the meat stock.
7. On low heat, place a frying pan with a little vegetable oil then heat it up, add in to sizzle some onion slices until translucent, stir in the reserved meat stock, next pour in the tomatoes paste, season with spices, salt and crushed seasoning cubes, stir to mix and stir-fry until it is a thick sauce.
8. Scoop the sauce with a spatula and pour on the pizza dough in the pan, using a spatula spread out the sauce to cover the dough; Slice the ripe plantain into disc shapes and deep fried, carefully arrange around the pizza dough in the pan.
9. Next arrange close to the fried plantain the cooked meat pieces on the dough, spread out some shredded bell pepper all over, follow it up with some chopped up cabbage and onions; add-on more veggies depending on choice.
10. Whisk some freshly cracked eggs and pour over the veggies, decorate toppings with cheese which is optional if using whisked eggs.
11. Garnishing and toppings depends on choice, at the edges of the pizza pan decoratively arrange the fried plantain discs, onion slices in the inner ring and green bell pepper, olives, tomatoes and green onions following up alternating the colors of veggies, interlaced the veggies with the deep fried plantain discs.
12. Baked in a preheated oven until the edges are golden brown and the eggs are beautifully set.
13. Serve warm and store the reserve in the refrigerator, always reheat before serving again.
Plantain Sweet Figs
A homemade fig sweet treats prepared using the ripe plantain fruits, dried up and stored for use as a snack treats that can be chewy alone or used in recipes that requires it even incorporated into baked goodies and fruits salad or mixed fruit smoothies; any which way a fig is used the plantain fig can be used as a healthy alternative. One of the ways to process and preserve the plantain post harvest when it is abundant, help to avoid wastage and to also have available a chewy sweet treats for the whole family.
1. Sweet ripe-yellow plantains
2. Sweeteners of choice
3. Salt and flavors is optional
1. Any quantity of the plantain fruits yields just have of it when dehydrated due to loss of moistures, it is necessary to consider the fresh plantain fruit quantity as compare to the final outcome of the dried plantain figs.
2. The first method is to slice very thinly the sweet ripe yellow plantain, soak in flavored syrup or fruit juice for several hours, drain and dehydrate in the dehydrator or sun dry until it is dried, store and enjoy as crispy sweet figs; As an alternative to the figs used in recipes of choice or simply chew to relished its delightful sweetness.
3. The second method is to use the overripe plantain that has gone complete black or the yellow that is dotted with black spots, it is at its sweetest peak, hence the best choice. Wash or rinse up to get rid of impurities, cut off the top and bottom tips but do not slice the plantain leave it whole, arrange in a deep pot then pour water just enough to boil.
4. Sprinkle some granulated sugar for sweetness, add a pinch of salt to balance the taste, cover with a lid and simmer on low heat until cooked.
5. Strain or drain off the boiling stock used for cooking the plantain, reserve for other uses in the kitchen or garden.
6. Allow the cooked plantain to cool, slice along its ridges and prise the skin to peel it off its soft pulp.
7. Dehydrate it whole after peeling for bulk storage but to make the plantain figs then proceed to the next step.
8. Slice thinly into any shape of choice with a fancy cutter, alternatively cut out the shapes of a French fries, or make out a flat flake, or round disc shapes.
9. Spread out the plantain slices on a tray, gently push it into the dehydrator and dry until it is crispy or dry in the sun after spreading and spacing it out on a raffia or bamboo mat then place on a clean surface away from dust and dirt.
10. The boiled plantain is caramelized with its juice hence it attracts lots of flies and insects, therefore cover it up with a clean netting to keep away the flies and debris.
11. Check for crispiness by snapping a dried piece of plantain, if it makes a cracking noise when crushed then it is ready for packaging.
12. Transfer into an airtight jar or container to protect it from moisture, and to prevent humidity causing molds, keep it stored in a cool, airy and dry place.
13. Enjoy as a sweet homemade snack, it is a piece of cooked and dried chips that is oozing out sweetness overload with each bite.
A unique way of cooking and serving the deep fried plantains as a special treat with an assorted mix of lean meat, chicken, or meat offal and veggies all in a one-pot dish but differs totally from the general plantain pottage recipe, because it is fried first before tossing together; so simply put it is an upgraded version of plantain pottage that is as delicious as it is colorful, also full of rich doses of healthy veggies.
1. Meat varieties made up of lean cut, chicken, meat offal consisting of the gizzard, liver, heart or other meat alternatives for vegan diets.
2. Ripe-yellow plantain
3. Fresh red tomatoes
4. Onion bulbs and green onions or chives
5. Green, red, yellow bell pepper
6. Scotch bonnet
7. Seasoning cubes, and salt to taste
8. Mixed spices of garlic, ginger, thyme and curry powder
9. Vegetable oil
1. An appetizer dish, that can be serve also for the main course with other side dishes; there is no fixed ingredients in preparing such an appealing treats, therefore mix and match to choice. Pick the best cuts of meat types, any one, two or several mixed types just as long as it is suited to personal taste and choice.
2. Clean and wash meat offal with warm water, drain the meat after rinsing in the final water then cut into cube pieces and transfer into a deep sauce pan, add chopped onion bulbs, spices, crushed seasoning cubes and salt to taste, stir all together to coat the meat pieces next is to cover with pot lid to marinate for an hour in order for the raw meat absorb the seasonings and also allow the meat bring out its natural juice.
3. On low heat, place the sauce pan with the marinated meat but do not add any water and simmer until tender and thoroughly cooked.
4. When the meat is soft enough turn it all over into a large kitchen sieve to drain out the meat stock, next place a frying pan and pour in some vegetable oil to heat up.
5. As soon as the hot oil reaches the right temperatures, drop in some onion slices to sizzle until golden brown to also help enhance the aroma of the frying vegetable oil.
6. Fry the cooked meat pieces in the hot oil until the perfect texture is obtained, with a perforated ladle or spoon quickly scoop out the fried meat pieces but first hang it over the frying pan for the excess oil to drain all out then transfer it into a separate dry plate, repeat the process until all the cooked meat is fried.
7. Rinse the plantain, cut off its top and bottom tips, slice the skin along its ridges then pull it back from the pulp to peel off.
8. Slice and cut the peeled plantain into cubes, but do not salt it because of the seasonings to be added in when tossing all together; gently transfer the cubed plantain into the hot oil that was used for frying the meat pieces.
9. Fry the plantain cubes, whilst turning it often until it is fried into a beautiful golden color chewy sweet cubes, scoop out the fried plantain cubes but first hang it over the frying pan for the excess oil to drain all out then transfer it into a different plate, repeat the process until all the cubed plantain has been fried.
10. Turn out all the oil used for the frying into a deep bowl, take out from it just a few tablespoons full of the oil and pour back into the frying pan.
11. Saute some chopped onions in the oil until soft and translucent, add in the shredded scotch bonnets, cubed bell pepper and more onion slices then stir-fry for awhile.
12. Blend the fresh tomatoes, pour over the stir frying veggies then add the drained meat stock; taste for seasonings and adjust to taste.
13. Cover and simmer until all the liquid is evaporated and a thick sauce is made, carefully add in the fried cubed meat and fold in to coat with the sauce.
14. Lastly, pour in the fried plantain cubes and combine with the stir fries.
15. Serve and enjoy at parties, gathering or for lunch another beautiful and delicious way to enjoy the so sweet plantain fruits, every mouthful sends to the taste buds series of conflicting taste from spicy to sweet to a saucy savory delight.
Homemade Plantain Flour
There lots of potentials in the plantain flour, versatile in so many recipes for food preparation, the unripe plantain flour is a staple ingredient for the preparation of swallows in Nigeria, aside the fact that different dishes are prepared using the plantain flour, it is a nutrient dense alternative for the wheat, cassava and corn flour; a nutritional supplement for the aged and a nutritious addition in baby food. It is a great way to convert or recycle a perishable food crop into a preserved food for longer shelf life.
1. Unripe plantains
2. Rice starch is optional
1. A lot of the plantain fruits yields just half of its quantity after processing into flour due to its thick peels and dehydration process the moist fruit undergoes.
2. Meanwhile, scoop into a big bowl some rice starch, pour water, add salt and mix until diluted into a rice starch solution.
3. Peel the needed quantity of the unripe-green plantains, transfer it whole into the rice starch solution then allow to soak for several minutes in order to help preserve and retain the plantain natural colors.
4. Drain the soaked plantain, slice thinly, arrange on the tray spreading and spacing out on a single layer, place and dehydrate in the dehydrator if the quantity is not much, dry until crispy dry. Alternatively, if making a large quantity it is advisable to spread out the plantain slices on a raffia or bamboo mat and sun dry until completely freed of moisture.
5. Gather all the crispy dry plantain flakes and grind into a free flowing flour using the food processor or home grinder but for large quantities, the best option is to use the commercial grinding machine know as “engine” to process the plantain dry flakes into a free flowing flour.
5. Sift into a tray, scoop and store in an airtight jar or container then label appropriately, keep away from moisture and use when needed as a healthy alternative to other flour.
Plantain Pottage or Porridge
The plantain pottage or porridge as it is fondly called in Nigeria can be prepared using an all vegan recipe, if not then used the meat of choice to enhance taste and nutrient loads. The pottage is a one pot squishy or mashed up dish using the cooking procedure of yam pottage preparation but do remember that the plantain is not as firm as the yam therefore the cooking duration must also differ when the plantain is added into the simmering vegetables sauce. The recipe for vegan plantain pottage is suitable for diabetes and heart disease patients due to the excellent loads of iron, it is best to strictly go veggies all the way including the use of only the unripe green plantain in the dish. Traditionally in most rural communities where nourishing foods are scarce the recipe is fortified with locust beans, palm oil and fish if it is available but in modern society recipes are daily being mix and match either for health reasons or for extraordinary deliciousness, in addition to the unripe-green, or ripe-yellow or both types of plantain fruits, whatever the reason may be always go for personal choice.
1. Ripe -Yellow or unripe-green or both for delicious taste
2. Meat of choice, beef, ram, goat or chicken
3. Smoked fish but if vegan then avoid the meat
4. Green fresh vegetable leaf of either spinach or Ugu that is the fluted pumpkin leaf
5. Palm oil or vegetable oil
6. Onion bulbs and green onions or chives
7. Scotch bonnet and tomatoes
8. Ground Crayfish
9. Locust beans is optional
10. Seasoning cubes and salt to taste
1. It is advisable to peel the plantain fruits just before adding into the simmering stock in order to avoid the peeled plantain going dark or peel and soak in lemon water to retain color. The meat of choice could be beef, goat or chicken meat; wash or rinse off the meat and cut into small pieces, transfer into the deep sauce pan, add onion slices for aroma, season with crushed seasoning cubes and add salt to taste.
2. On low heat gently place the saucepan then slowly bring to boil using only the juice of the meat, simmer until tender and cooked; but if using grilled or smoked fish then skip this stage.
3. Wash all vegetables, slice the tomatoes, chop up the scotch bonnets, the onion bulbs, to make for an colorful and inviting dish go ahead to shred the green onions and the green leafy veggies; all veggies must be placed in separate plates because its adding time differs.
4. Place a dry cooking pot on the low heat, pour into it the desired quantity of palm oil, heat it up but do not allow it to get too hot, drop in the chopped onions and saute until it is fragrant.
5. Add in the sliced tomatoes, and chopped scotch bonnet, stir fry for awhile then pour in the meat stock meaning the liquid drained from the cooked meat, stir to combine and cover with lid. But if the recipe is just grilled or smoked fish, transfer the fish into an empty bowl and pour hot water over it, drain it out and de-bone the fish, rinse severally in running water until clean of impurities then flaked the cleaned fish and add to the simmering veggies.
6. Check the taste, season with crushed cubes, locust beans, and spice up with native mixed spices as to choice, sprinkle some ground crayfish for that delightful taste of the sea then add more water if necessary, cover and simmer.
7. Peel the plantain fruits, slice into chunks and add into the simmering sauce, turn it with the ladle or spoon to coat, cover and allow to boil; the last few minutes before the plantain fruit is cooked to doneness, immediately add in the shredded green onions and vegetable leaf, spread it evenly on the surface of the dish then cover once again and allow the steam to cook the vegetables added in last.
8. When properly cooked, remove from the heat then stir to fold in the green veggies on the topping to blend properly into the plantain pottage; crushed some, leave some until the dish is a roughly squishy pottage.
9. Scoop out into plates and serve with any other side dish of choice such as fruits or finger chops along with favorite drinks or beverages for a nourishing and satisfying meal, enjoy.
A delicious snack meal, favorite of all times for kids and for the grow-ups, it is a complete meal when served with tea, coffee, kunu beverages or juice drinks; it can be made into a sweet treat for dessert or savory for snack meals, depending on the ingredients that goes into the batter or what it is going to be served with and most importantly when it is to be served. A mixture of flour batter that is similar to the dough used for doughnuts, after which it is deep fried into cute chewy balls with color range of deep yellow, golden brown to dark brown colors; invitingly dripping with honey, sugar syrup, or coated with granulated sugar.
Plantain Mosa and puff puff differs by the ingredients used; mosa is a mixture of blended or crushed overripe plantain with spices, freshly whisked eggs, pepper, onions and salt after which very little corn or wheat flour is folded to bind the mixture into a smooth batter, it is beaten into a fluffy mixture, scoop and deep fried into cute balls. Whereas the plantain puff is made using the usual recipe but with the addition of blended or mashed plantain to enhance taste and to give bulk.
1. Overripe yellow sweet plantains
2. All purpose flour, quantity used must be much more than the plantain
3. Granulated Sugar
4. Active Yeast
5. Salt to taste
6. Onion bulbs and scotch bonnet or powdered chili pepper
7. Butter or margarine is optional
8. Vegetable oil for frying
9. Warm water
10. Milk, cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla
1. The most crucial stage in the making of Plantain Puff Puff is the yeast solution that is needed for the dough to be puffed up into light and fluffy cute chewy balls; therefore activate the active yeast first by adding it into a glass of warm water with some sugar, mix together and allow to prove until it is bubbling and frothy.
2. Clean thoroughly and peel the plantain fruits, slice into chunks and feed into the blender cup, for a spicy or savory puff balls then add in the pepper and onions whereas for a sweet puff just skip the pepper and onions.
3. Next is to add salt to taste, pour in the proved yeast solution, blend until smooth and fluffy, carefully turn it over into a mixing bowl.
4. Mix the dry ingredients by sifting into a tray the flour, add some flavorings of choice and stir to combine.
5. Melted butter and milk gives more texture and class to the puff-puff, it enhances it taste to almost cake-like but with a chewy character all coming together to form a sweet mini ball of tasty delight; mix the melted butter with the milk and pour into the blended plantain batter.
6. The flour serves as a binding agent to pull together and firm up the batter into a smooth and fluffy dough that can hold up any shape; gradually introduce the flour into the batter, folding in with every addition until all the dry ingredients are used up.
7. Cover up with a warm towel or cling film to keep out the air, then place in a warm place to prove and increase in size for several hours.
8. On medium heat place a saucepan of vegetable oil to heat up until hot enough to sizzle some onion slices, drop in the onion slices to fry until golden brown in order to remove the raw aroma of the vegetable oil and to enhance the taste of the fried goodies.
9. Do not deflate or beat the batter again before frying, remember how bread dough is allow to double in size before baking? Then just scoop with a spoon size for the desire size of fried puff balls, a dessert spoon is just the perfect size, so scoop drop, scoop drop until there are enough floating in the hot oil but do not overcrowd the frying oil, which could lead to it soaking up excess oil.
10. Flip and fry both sides until it is a perfect puffy ball of golden chewy delight; scoop out of the hot oil, with a perforated spoon but first hang it over the pot to drain out the oil before turning it over onto a paper napkin to absorb any excess oil.
11. Sugar is optional in the batter because of the plantain natural sweetness, alternatively for the sweet tooth eaters just sprinkle granulated sugar all over the hot snack, toss while still hot to coat it all over; or drizzle honey or syrup on the snack for a yummy goody treat.
There are lots of ways in making recipe to fit in with personal choice, ingredients and taste, it is just as simple as affordability and seasonal availability of the freshest food produce; another alternative plantain pancake is this very simple and easy recipe that can also be converted into mosa balls, plantain fitters or any recipe desired, adjust the mixture consistency to make balls and a lighter consistency foe pancakes.
1. Fresh corn or corn starch or flour
2. Ripe or overripe plantain
4. Scotch bonnet
5. Ginger powder or fingers
6. Groundnut oil
7. Salt and water
1. Beat the plantains until it is fluffy smooth and free of lumps.
2. Mix onions, ginger fingers and pepper together and blend into a paste.
3. Combine the pepper and plantain paste together then add in the corn flour or starch and knead into a smooth batter, add salt to taste and more water if necessary to obtain the right consistency.
4. Grease a grill or frying pan and pour in spoonful, spread out to coat the base of pan. Fry as for pancakes then flip over and fry both sides until golden brown, serve hot as for savory pancake.
5. Alternative Mosa Balls:- Scoop and fry into mosa balls in hot palm oil using the same mixture but a thicker batter to form chewy delicious and fried golden balls.
Plantain Mosa Balls
A round chewy puff-balls, made with the overripe plantains that has reached its sweetest peak; it is similar to the Nigeria puff-puff and fried pastry balls but differs with the addition of just one ingredient, plantains which is made with only wheat flour whereas the plantain puff-puff is just like mosa with a slight difference in the use of add-in ingredients, traditionally the mosa balls or pureed plantains are deep fried in palm oil. The plantain must be roughly mashed or crushed better still blend coarsely, add corn flour scotch bonnet and seasons, scoop and fry until the mosa balls floats on oil, flip to fry the other side. A popular street snack that is generally fried and served hot by street food vendors; a must have favorite at parties that is relished by party goers for a fast meal with finger foods and drinks.
1. Overripe-Black Plantain the quantity must be much more than the corn flour
2. Maize, dry corn or cornmeal flour just a little to bind the mixture together
3. Sugar or sweeteners of choice
4. Active yeast and Baking powder
5. Water, onions and Salt to taste
6. Palm or vegetable oil for frying
7. Fresh eggs for richness is optional
8. Chili pepper powder or Scotch bonnet for heat
Recipe Steps For Simple Plain Mosa
1. Traditionally, the plain mosa balls is prepared with minimal ingredients that consist of the overripe plantain, corn flour, salt and dry chili pepper after which the thick batter is deep fried in hot palm oil until crispy outside and super soft inside when cut open; if the quantity of plantain is much more than the flour the mosa-puff taste would be enhanced by the plantain flavor and vice versa, therefore the mosa is mostly about mashed or crushed overripe plantain with a little corn or wheat flour to bind it together.
2. Wash and soak the dry corn for an hour, rinse again and blend into corn paste; collect enough plantain fruits for making the required quantity, wash and peel then cut into chunks, feed into the blender, add chopped and deseeded scotch bonnet or chili pepper then blend or mash to pulp using a potato masher, but it is faster, neater to blend using the blender so blend into a smooth pulp; alternatively if the above kitchen tools are not available transfer the peeled plantain into a mortar, pound using the pestle until smooth, add into the mortar the corn paste or corn flour then pound together vigorously until properly combine, add the pepper, onions and salt then pound continuously to obtain a thick batter consistency.
3. Heat up the palm oil, add onion slices to enhance the aroma of palm oil, scoop dessert spoonful of the mosa batter and fry in the heated palm oil.
5. Flip and fry both sides until cooked, skim out of the hot oil the fried round mosa balls using a skimmer or perforated spoon.
6. Place on absorbent paper towels to absorb excess oil then serve hot or cold.
Recipe Steps For Rich Mosa Balls.
1. If the quantity of plantain is much more than the flour the mosa-puff taste would be enhanced by the plantain flavor and vice versa, therefore the mosa is mostly about mashed or crushed overripe plantain with a little corn or wheat flour to bind it together; get more plantain to make the puff balls, wash and peel then cut into chunks, feed into the blender, add chopped and deseeded scotch bonnet then blend or mash to pulp using a potato masher.
2. Prove the yeast by mixing the yeast with sugar and warm water, allow to rest covered until frothy bubbles forms on its surface.
3. Pour the yeasted mixture into the flour, stir together to form a batter, whisked in beaten fresh eggs then fold in the blended plantain pulp; whisk or beat in order to incorporate more air and to turn fluffy light, if desired mix in some flavors of choice. Alternatively, simply add into the dry ingredients, freshly beaten eggs, flavors and the yeasted mixture into the blender, again blend severally until a fluffy light batter is obtained; scoop and scrape out the plantain batter into a mixing bowl, the batter must be thicker than pancake mixtures and lighter than bread dough, it must be able to hold its shape when scoop.
4. Covered tightly with the cling film, aluminum foil paper, a thick towel or bowl lid-cover to keep out the air; place in a warm place and allow the batter to rise and double in quantity.
5. On medium heat place a deep sauce pan, pour the groundnut or cooking oil to heat up until it reaches the perfect temperature for frying without the puff-balls absorbing excess oil used for the frying.
6. Enhance the taste of the frying oil by adding in onion slices to sizzle until crispy, using a perforated ladle or skimmer to remove the onions crispy slices and reserve for other recipes.
7. The size of mosa-puffs also depends on the scoop or spoon used, therefore scoop the batter with an tablespoon, teaspoon, ice-cream scoop or dessert spoon, drop into the hot oil, repeat the process quickly until enough puff-balls are floating in the frying oil but do not crowd in during frying.
8. Flip over to fry both sides until a beautiful golden brown, crispy outside and soft from the inside is obtained then remove from the hot oil into a perforated food sieve that has been lined with absorbent kitchen towel or napkin to absorb the excess oil.
9. Again, repeat the frying process until all the mosa-puff batter has all be fried into delicious fluffy and puffy.
10. Sweet mosa dessert balls is served with sprinkles of flavored sugar, or drizzles of some chocolate sauce for sweet chewy goodness. Alternatively, serve savory mosa balls with any spicy sauce, or yummy dips.
11. Wrap up any reserves when cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to be serve again; always warm up in the oven or microwave before serving if preferred and there it is ready to be munch on, so enjoy.
Savory Or Sweet Plantain Fritters
There a lot of recipes to make using the plantains as an alternative vegetable in the main ingredients of choice, it is all about choice of making the sweet or savory which also depends on the plantain; ripe yellow for sweet fritters or unripe green for the savory fritters then add in sweeteners for the sweet fritters and vice versa. The plantain fritters must not be confused with the pancakes because the former is traditionally made by grating the plantain to obtain that unique flakes after which it is cooked on greased griddle or lightly greased non-stick frying pan.
1. Plantains unripe-green for savory or ripe-yellow for sweet
2. Wheat flour for thickening
3. Purple onion bulbs
4. Green spring onions
5. Red scotch bonnet
6. Red and green bell pepper
7. Fresh eggs
8. Ginger and garlic powder
9. Thyme and curry powder
10. Seasoning cubes and salt to taste
11. Baking powder is optional
1. The first step in making the fritters, starts with the choice of the plantain, if making the savory fritters then use the unripe plantains with listed ingredients above but can be adjusted by mixing and matching to personal choice. Alternatively if the recipe is for sweet fritters then use the ripe yellow plantain, fresh eggs, milk, butter, vanilla or cinnamon then add sweeteners of choice as an alternative to the seasonings.
2. Gather together the quantity of unripe plantains, rinse properly to rid it of impurities then cut off both tips and peel; do not cut the plantain to avoid wastage, simply pick it whole and hold it to the edge of the grater and grate using the grater size most preferred.
3. Meanwhile, wash all vegetables and remove seeds, shred to obtain the tiny strips then add into the grated plantain and mix together to combine.
4. Transfer the wheat flour into a bowl, add all the seasonings, spices, and salt to taste, then sprinkle some baking powder if needed, stir all to blend.
5. Break the fresh eggs and whisk until frothy then add into the grated plantain and vegetables, stir continuously until mix.
6. Gradually add in the savory wheat flour, stirring in with each addition until all is used up and desired consistency is obtained.
7. On low heat place a frying pan or griddle, lightly oil and pour scoops of spoonful plantain fritter mixture; depending on the size some can fry about 6 pieces at a time.
8. Check and watch closely when cooked on the one side flip over to cook on the other side, press and flatten down with the spatula for even doneness.
9. Fry until both sides are a beautiful golden brown, if necessary repeat the flip over twice to achieve that inviting moist inside and crispy on the edges.
10. Serve with any beverage, drinks or juice of choice as a complete and light meal anytime of the day, so enjoy.
Plantains Punch Drink
A yummy and nutritious plantain fruits wholesome drink that is so sweet and just hanging in between a shake or smoothie drink; enjoyed at events, parties, or meetings by the kids and the adults, relished by men and women above all it is affordable and accessible for everyone. A refreshingly sweet beverage drink with the tropical fruit flavors of the plantain, deliciously hydrating during hot sunny days and satiate on cold days, perfect for all seasons.
1. Ripe or overripe plantains
2. Orange juice
3. Lemon juice
4. Ginger ale, Angostura bitters for adults recipes
5. Sugar or condensed milk to sweeten it or honey as an alternative
6. Fresh or full cream powdered milk
7. Flavors of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg or native spices mix of the cloves and ginger flavor is an alternative
8. Ice cream for kids recipes
1. The best plantain for the recipe is an overripe plantain with the black skin peels because it is soft and totally sweet.
2. Rinse the plantain, air dry or towel dry with the kitchen napkin for ease of handling then place on a solid table top, hold down to cut off the two tip ends, slice from the top to bottom tips along its ridges to peel off the skin.
3. Cut into chunks or slice into round pieces, transfer into a blender, pour in the fresh or powdered full cream milk, condensed milk and blend until smooth.
4. Spice up with some sprinkles of spices made of the cloves and ginger powder or flavor up with cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
5. The sweetness of the punch drink depends on the plantain or quantity of other ingredients; if desired then sweeten more to taste with sweeteners of choice or preferably the organic honey.
6. The final step is the addition of any favorite ice cream if preparing for kids and nonalcoholic drinkers whereas the addition of any alcohol or Angostura bitters is for alcoholic drinkers.
7. Blend until frothy and thicken, adjust the consistency with the addition of any ingredients used in the recipe to obtained the desired punch drink of choice. Alternatively mix all ingredients and blend until smooth, freeze just before serving mix in the ginger ale and serve.
8. Serve immediately with snacks or savory side dishes or snack; store any left over in the refrigerator and serve again after whisking it or blending.
The ripe yellow plantains can be served and eaten as fresh fruit snacks by simply peeling and consuming it just like the sweet dessert bananas; it is also a wholesome meal when toss together with other nutrient dense vegetables in a salad bowl, plantain fruits can be used as an alternative for the dessert banana.
1. Plantain ripe yellow
5. Groundnut paste, powder or groundnut crackers popularly called kulikuli
6. Native mixed spices or suya spices known as yagi in Hausa
7. Vegetable, palm or olive oil
8. Salt to taste
1. Wash off the plantain until clean, cut off both tips then peel off the skin and slice into cubes; transfer into a salad mixing bowl if using the plantain raw in the salad but if preferred then boil in salted water until cooked, transfer into a mixing salad bowl.
2. Wash the cabbage and remove the outer layer of the bulb; cut out the required segment and shred thinly, add to the plantain slices. Rinse the onions, peel off the outer skin and slice some into the veggies bowl. The addition of cooked beans or cowpeas enhances the fiber content of the salad.
3. Sprinkle the mixed spices all over the vegetables, add salt to taste, add the groundnut or peanut paste then drizzle some honey and vegetable oil of choice all over, top up with crushed peanuts.
4. Toss all together to coat properly, garnish with avocado wedges and if desired any add-in ingredients can be added at this step.
5. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator but it is best to prepare just before serving the yummy sweet, spicy and savory salad.
Plantain Baby Food
A healthy and nutritious food starter for babies which help save on expensive baby foods that are completely out of the reach of the poor.
Plantain powder comes in handy when weaning a baby and trying to introduce them to grow up meals, it is advisable to mix and match with other rural food within the locality that the nursing mothers are used to which is also acceptable to the baby.
1. Plantain flour or powder
2. Soya beans or groundnut powder
3. Fresh milk
5. Millet, Corn, or guinea flour
1. Meanwhile combine the plantain powder with the soya or groundnut powder and reserve it close by.
2. On low heat, slowly bring some dairy milk to a simmering boil, stir in the mix plantain powder and cook for some minutes.
3. Scoop some grain crop flour into a small bowl, add water then stir to dissolve; quickly pour into the boiling milk mixture and stir continuously until a thick custard-like beverage is obtain, adjust the consistency with milk if it is too thick or plantain powder if it is too light.
4. Serve it to toddlers of a year old as a complete meal before feeding them with heavy adult foods.
5. Store in the refrigerator or baby food warmers but always warm up before serving to the babies; introduce it gradually never rush it, check and watch the babies acceptance of the meal, do not force it on them if they disliked it.
Plantain Crispy Crunchy Chips
A paper thin slices of unripe green plantain, deep fried in vegetable oil until crispy dried is known as “kpekere” which is a popular street food all over the Nigerian cities. A cute pack of the irresistible snacks are sold in big shopping complex, market stalls, Airport shopping malls, motor parks, office complex, learning institutions and any public buildings with large gatherings of people. Serves as a fast snack on the go with a pack of juice drink or sachet water, accessible and affordable while on a trip within and across cities to villages or vice versa, a handy food gifts for kids, friends and family members above all relished by colleagues in offices.
1. Unripe green plantain
2. Vegetable oil for frying
3. Salt to taste
4. Sachet bags, snack packs or airtight transparent jars
1. Collect as many plantains as possible depending on whether it is to be served for the family, gatherings or to be packaged for the snack business.
2. Wash off all impurities, slice off the two tips at the top and bottom end, vertically slice along all its ridges for easy peeling then using the knife lift the peels away from the firm pulp and pull it off; repeat the process to peel off all the plantain.
3. The shapes of the plantain slices depends on the direction of the slices made therefore for the coin or disc shapes, slice horizontally with a shape knife or slicer, other shapes of oval or oblong shapes slices depends on how the plantain whole is place before slicing; achieving the crispiest chips depends on how thin the plantain chips are sliced.
4. The peeled plantain easily gets discolored on long exposure to air therefore peel, slice and fry in batches to avoid discoloration.
5. Baking the plantain chips:-
The same crispy chips can be obtained through baking therefore, transfer the plantain chips slices into a deep bowl drizzle some vegetable oil all over, toss to coat all then sprinkle salt to taste and for that bite with heat, add some mixed spices or just powdered chili pepper and toss again to coat thoroughly.
6. Line a baking tray with non stick baking sheet or parchment paper, carefully arrange the seasoned plantain slices on the baking sheets all in a single layer, transfer into the preheated oven to bake until the edges are crispy and golden brown.
7. Frying the plantain chips:- Meanwhile, place on low heat a deep sauce pan and pour into it some cooking oil of choice, allow to heat up then add onion slices to sizzle until golden brown.
8. Drop and fry the thin plantain chips in batches, turning and flipping often for an even color and doneness until golden brown.
9. The plantain chips fries so fast due to its thin slices, quickly scoop out the crispy chips using a perforated ladle or spoon, hover the scoop over the frying oil to allow most of the frying oil to drip back into the saucepan then transfer the fried chips onto the plate lined with absorbent kitchen paper towel or napkin to absorb excess oil.
10. While still hot quickly sprinkle some salt and toss to coat evenly then spice up with some mixed spices of chili pepper and ginger powder if desired or simply serve it as it is for personal choice and taste.
11. Store when completely cool in sachet bags or packs and seal or transfer into airtight jars or containers and place where it can be easily serve.
Dodo-Fried Plantains Snacks
The best way to bring out the ripe yellow plantain natural caramelized notes is to deep fried plantain in hot palm oil or vegetables oil of choice which always brings out the caramelized deliciousness of the plantains and if fried using the right temperature of the frying oil, there is no chance of the fried plantains absorbing oil especially when it is removed from the hot oil as the color changes to yolk yellow; sprinkle with salt or fry it first then sprinkle salt all over it which gives that delicious contrast of sweet-salty, a bit of sourness and for that savory taste then spice it up to achieve an extra boost in flavor which leaves a hint of heat on the tongue. It can be serve over other staple dishes such as jollof, fried, or white rice or serve with stew, cowpea or beans porridge, sauce or fried eggs.
1. Ripe yellow Plantains
2. Palm or groundnut oil for frying
3. Salt to taste
4. Onions bulbs
1. The quantity of plantain used before frying reduces after frying but amazingly gives complete satiate after eating just a little portion of the meal.
2. Always rinse properly the ripe yellow plantain, using a sharp knife cut off both top and bottom tips then peel off its thick skin; slice each into round discs, oblong or oval shaped.
3. Sprinkle salt to taste all over the plantains slices alternatively fry first and sprinkle salt while still hot.
4. On medium heat place a dry frying pan, pour in some vegetable oil enough to deep fry the dodo as it is popularly called in Nigeria, heat up to the right temperature for frying then drop in some onion slices first to give the frying oil that distinctly delicious oniony aroma and flavor.
5. Carefully and gently drop in the plantain slices watch to avoid splash and splutter of the hot cooking oil.
6. When one side has turn that egg yolk yellow then flip over and fry both sides until golden brown, remove from the hot oil immediately to avoid browning and burning.
7. Transfer onto absorbent kitchen napkin to absorb further any excess oil then sprinkle salt to taste if the plantain slices has not been salted before frying.
8. Serve with vegetable sauce, stir-fry sauce, fried eggs or any dips of choice; enjoy on the go or at home but remember to take some fruity drinks with it for digestion.
The traditional Nigeria snack that is very much relished by plantain lovers, the traditional method of roasting is done using the peeled or unpeeled plantain which can be roasted in the oven, pan fried, barbecued, or grilled by putting the plantain on wire rack over red hot charcoal, then it is frequently turn from side to side to achieve even browning. The traditional open charcoal fire which is the Nigerian traditional method of roasting because of the unique smoky aroma of firewood, not only for the aromatic taste for it is the easiest and fastest way to roast on the streets for a lot of customers, that are always desperate to bite into the golden gorgeousness of the roasted plantains. It is generally served with roasted groundnut or peanuts, vegetable soups or sauces while others simply nimble on it with mixed spices for heat and for that unique delicious combination of sweet, spicy and savory that are mostly relished by street food consumers all across regions in Nigeria.
1. Unripe-green or ripe-yellow plantain
2. Vegetable oil of choice
3. Salt to taste
4. Roasted or grilled fresh fish
5. Spicy palm oil dip:- Palm oil, crushed onions and scotch bonnets or powdered chili pepper and seasoning cubes
6. Roasted Groundnut or peanuts
1. Traditionally the booli or roasted plantain is placed on smoldering charcoal to roast until it is cooked; gather enough charcoal in the tripod or iron burner, light it up to burn slowly, fanning it at intervals until completely smoldering.
2. An iron grill rack is placed atop the tripod fireplace which is necessary to avoid too much heat that may burn the plantain without properly cooking it thoroughly from the inside to the outside for an even browning.
3. Spray or brush the peeled plantain with olive or groundnut oil then sprinkle with salt and powdered chili pepper.
4. Next is to clean and dress properly the fresh fish, allow to air dry then coat with any marinate of choice which is often a mixture of mix spices, vegetable oil, seasoning cubes and salt to taste.
5. Arrange the seasoned plantain carefully on the grill rack to roast; if serving the roasted plantain with roasted fish then arrange the marinated seasoned fresh fish close to the plantain in order to roast along.
6. Watch closely and check it often for browning, turn to roast the other sides for an all over even doneness; never forget that it takes longer to roast the unripe green than it would take to roast the ripe yellow plantain.
7. A beautiful golden browning is a sign that it is ready, remove from the heat to stop it from burning, whereas the roasted fish is ready when the sizzling juice of the cooked fish drizzles out onto the grill and a delicious aroma of the fish is invites the salivating tongue for a taste.
8. Serve the roasted plantain with the fish and garnish with some roasted peanuts or groundnuts for a crunchy chew so take a bunch and munch for satiate.
9. There are lots of ways to serve the roasted plantain just like any dish, so it can be serve with vegetable stir-fry, pepper sauce, or palm oil dip which is prepared by mixing together crushed onion bulbs, scotch bonnets or chili pepper, with seasoning cubes and salt to taste then it is lightly stir-fry; all depends on taste and choice.
Ketchup are made using the tomatoes as an all important ingredients but with the scarcity of tomatoes all across regions in Nigeria, the plantain fruits becomes a much more healthy alternative that is available even though expensive due to the ever rising inflation; hence it can be used in order to achieve the texture and that natural sweetness of the ketchup that is often derived from the tomatoes.
1. Ripe plantain
3. Scotch bonnet for more heat
4. Red bell pepper for more colors and intensity
5. Garlic and ginger
6. Sugar and salt
7. Mixed spices of choice
8. Food colorings is optional
1. Rinse the sweet plantain, slice into sizes of choice and boil or cook until it is tender.
2. Wash all vegetables, then de-seed and cut it up into chunks or slices in separate plates.
3. Allow to cool then peel off its skin, and transfer into a blender then add in the onions slices, bell pepper and Scotch bonnets then blend by first pulsing it.
4. Add in the spices, seasonings, salt and sugar if the plantain is not sweet enough then blend until a smooth puree is obtained.
5. On low heat place a dry sauce pan, drizzle some vegetables oil and heat up then pour in some onion slices and saute until translucent.
6. Pour in the blended mixture of pureed plantain mix, then stir fry for a while and cover to simmer until the right consistency is achieved.
7. Allow to cool and scoop into an airtight jar treated with hot water bath, seal up tightly then label appropriately and store until needed.
8. Serve and use as an alternative to the ketchup with side meals of choice or serve over finger foods or use as dip for savory snacks.
Plantain Fermented Beverage Known As Agadagidi
Plantain beverages are as colorful as the imagination of a good chef in matching and mixing to make a unique recipe using the plantain which is most about substituting any similar ingredients for the plantains as a healthier and cheaper alternative. Agadagidi is one of the many locally brew wine beverages using the plantain, also popularly consumed in the Yoruba region of southwest Nigeria; helping to control wastage as a result of the fast ripening process of the plantain that results into the complete black peel and an almost gel like fruits pulps. A homemade brew can be prepared using the ripe or over ripe yellow plantain, the strength of the beverage drinks depends on how long the fermentation is allow in order to achieve the brew of choice. The ripe or overripe plantain are used by first peeling the plantain, then blended into pureed pulp after which it is kept undisturbed to ferment for 3 days, it is boil until it reaches the desired consistency, native spices such as cloves, ginger and alligator or chili peppers are then added in, sugar or cane syrup are mix into the beverage to preserve and to prolong its shelf life, filtration is done using a cheese bag to have a much more purified beverage, again it is stored to age before using as a nonalcoholic beverage drink.
1. Ripe or over ripe plantain
4. Baking soda or powder
5. Cheese bag
6. Refilled bottles
1. The quantity of the beverage drinks depends on the quantity of plantain used and the ingredients added-in; the soft overripe plantain are peeled, cut into chunks, transfer in a plastic bucket with water yeast is added to speed up an alcoholic fermentation which is naturally found in ripened fruits, it is kept to soak for 3days in a warm place for fermentation, then it is filtered severally with cheese bag to remove the pulp, after further purification having a light cream color, it is consumed as a local brew with a sweet-sour taste, and a freshly mild aroma of plantain fruits.
2. Always rinse in lots of water the plantains of dirt, dust and debris in order to avoid sand grits in the dishes cooked or beverages brewed.
3. Place the now cleaned plantain on a hard stable surface then hold down with the hand and cut off the top and bottom tips with a sharp kitchen knife, slits along its ridges from top tip to the bottom end then peel off the skin, next is to cut into halves, quarters or cut into chunks and transfer into a large bowl, cover it with enough water, add sugar, stir in the yeast, baking soda, then if desired enhance its taste by adding flavors of choice.
4. Cover with an airtight lid and store in a dark place for 48 hours or 2 days until the fermentation has completed.
5. As soon as the aroma of the brew is perceived it is ready; strain using a cheese bag and pour into wine bottles to store and serve as a homemade plantain brew or mildly alcoholic drinks.
6. Alternatively, wash plantain peel it blend or mash into a smooth pulp. Mix the pulp with some water to obtain a thin consistency, cover with an airtight lid and allow to ferment for 3days, boil the mixture on the 4th day, cool it and strain the mixture with a cheese bag. Boil the strained juice again for the 2nd time after straining to purify it, add peppercorn for color and flavor, then sweeten with the addition of sugar, mix thoroughly to blend into the perfect taste. Purify by straining severally until all impurities are rid of the beverage. Transfer into bottles and serve as a beautifully colored drink with a different taste made from the overripe plantain which could have been discarded for lack of storage facilities.
Plantain Steamed Pudding Or Moimoi/Alele
The dish is traditionally called “Ukpo-Ogede” which is a favorite dish of eastern region of Nigeria; it is a light snack meal that are generally sold as street foods for breakfast, it can be serve alone or with other food accompaniment that is relish with the sweet and savory plantain steamed pudding. The sweet taste of the overripe plantain is balanced up with the addition of equal quantity of corn flour which can be used as an alternative to the unripe green plantain flour when it is not available; just before steaming the plantain pudding add red kidney beans or flaked fish and gently fold into the mixture to enhance taste and to give it an appealing presentation. What better way to prevent waste when the plantain gets overripe and its peel turns black but its fleshy pulp is still eatable? Simply reuse and recycle it into a delightful and nourishing dish prepared as a steamed plantain pudding.
1. Ripe or overripe yellow plantain
2. Unripe green plantain flour or corn flour
3. Palm oil or vegetable oil
4. Smoked or fish fillets, cubed meat or kidney beans
5. Onions, bell pepper, scotch bonnet whereas tomatoes is optional
6. Seasoning cubes and salt to taste, other native spices can be added if desired
7. Aluminums or foil paper, Fancy steaming cups, banana leaves or transparent cellophane bags
8. Steamer for steaming
9. Blender or mortar and pestle
1. Meanwhile, always make ready the steamer and the leaves if using by rinsing in clean water; alternatively bring together all needed tools to be used. Clean the smoked or grilled fish, remove bones and flake it into tiny bits.
2. Rinse the ripe or over ripe plantain, cut off the top and bottom tips, slice it along the ridges and with the use of fingers pull away the peel. Slice it into chunks and collect all the pieces into a mortar then pound into a smooth pulp; alternatively mix it with the fresh vegetables and blend together.
3. Wash all the vegetables, peel the onions outer leathery skin and slice into pieces and reserve in a separate plate. Slice open the red bell pepper and scotch bonnets, cut out the seeds and strings then slice into pieces, add to the cut up onions.
4. Combine all the ingredients and wet mill with the over ripe plantain at the commercial “engine” or milling machine at a token fee, if the quantity is much but if it can be handle by the blender then feed into the blender cup and blender in small quantities until a fluffy smooth paste is obtained, turn out the plantain paste into the mixing bowl.
5. Mix the green plantain flour in a separate bowl, add just enough water to make a thick paste; add palm or vegetable oil, sprinkle on it crushed seasoning cubes and salt to taste then if using the crayfish, add to the plantain mixture at this stage in order to blend together with the ingredients.
6. Combine the blended overripe plantain mixture with the unripe green plantain flour paste, fold together to blend properly.
7. Beat the mixture until fluffy smooth, adjust the consistency by adding in more unripe green plantain flour if it is too light or warm if it is too thick, continue until the desire consistency is achieved. Lastly add in the flaked fish or cooked meat, or the red kidney beans if using whatever choice ingredients added at this stage is just to enhance and enrich the dish.
8. The steamed plantain pudding molds depends on choice with the use of either fancy cups, broad leaves for that traditional taste or foil paper to ease handling and in most cases for commercial purposes the tiny transparent cellophane bags are used for the steaming.
9. Scoop mixture into any of the above holders, wrap up properly or seal up with foil paper in order to avoid water from steam getting into the mixture then steam until cooked using the steamer or an airtight cooking pot.
Traditionally in rural communities steamed pudding such as moimoi or alele is generally cooked on the native tripod fireplaces using a large locally made iron pot, stick or stalk branches are arranged at the base of the pot to prevent the pudding from making a direct contact with the bottom to prevent it sticking and burning, some water is pour over the stalks and the pot is then placed on a smoldering firewood to boil and provide the steam with which the pudding get cooked.
10. Check occasionally for doneness and water evaporation then add more if pot base is drying up; once it is cooked the savory plantain pudding sets then it turns solid to the touch and it color changes to a shade darker than the mixture of plantain pudding, insert a clean knife or toothpick to check if cooked, a clean knife means it is all ready.
11. Serve the moimoi or alele, slice into shapes or sizes of choice with sweet porridges or puddings of pap, agidi, akamu or kunu beverages.
12. Wrap up the left covers and store in the refrigerator but always warm up by steaming again before serving.
Plantain Fufu Or Plantain Amala
Fuufu is called foofoo, fufuo, foufou or foutou depending on regional parts of Africa; fufu is a morsel swallow served at least once a day in Nigerian cultural cuisines and it is different from the Cuban plantain fuufu where the former is a swallow staple food serve with any favorite vegetable soups and the later is a one pot style dish; fufu is prepared with any starchy root vegetable such as yam, cassava or the unripe green plantain which is much more starchy than the ripe yellow plantain.
The fufu swallow is enjoyed by eating it with the fingers in tiny round morsel that has been scooped from the staple mold serve then it is either roll around with the fingers to form a perfect round morsel or to simply dip it into the vegetable soup and use it to scoop along some soup with a piece of meat or fish; eat by chewing to savor the taste of the staple swallow, meat or fish and the vegetable soup together before swallowing the morsel.
There are several methods of preparing the plantain swallow which is done by using plantain flour which is obtained by peeling, thinly slicing and drying the green plantain after which it is dry milled, sieved to obtained plantain flour; stirring into boiling water to cook the plantain flour into a solid mold. The fresh plantain fufu is prepared by blending the fresh unripe plantain before cooking and turning continuously until it is set and a stretchy solid mold is made. An alternative way to prepare the plantain fufu swallow is to boiled yam or cassava and plantain until tender then pounded together to achieve a stretchy and starchy swallow serve with vegetable soups; it is peeled and cooked until soft after which it is transfer into a mortar and then pounded with the pestle until a stretchy dough-like solid is obtained, then it is served with vegetable soups of spinach, yakuwa soup in Hausa which is the hibiscus green leaves, sorrel buds known as ishapa, okro or okra soup, ogbono, egusi, bitter leaf or water leaf soup and in some cases the pepper soup.
1. Unripe green plantain
1. The more the quantity of the unripe plantain used the more the quantity of the stretchy fufu dough to be obtain.
2. Always rinse properly the unripe green plantain, using a sharp knife cut off both top and bottom tips then peel off its thick skin; slice each into chunks or smaller pieces that will fit properly into the blender feeder.
3. Transfer into the blender cup the plantain chunks, if necessary pour some water to ease blending and then starts by pulsing and blending until a smooth paste is achieved.
4. Scoop out the plantain paste into a deep sauce pan and place on low heat, stirring and turning continuously until thicken, and a stretchy dough is formed into a smooth ball.
5. Sprinkle some water all over the cooked mold then cover with the pot lid and finish cooking with its steam.
6. Finally turn severally with a food turner until smooth and the desired softness of the stretchy dough is achieved.
7. Alternatively, If using the cooked unripe-green plantain for fufu swallow then boil whole after washing the fruits, allow to cool, peel and transfer into the mortar, add in boiled cassava roots, yam, or cocoyam but if prefer alone then pound until a smooth and solid swallow is obtained.
8. Scoop and roll into perfect round molds using a small calabash bowls, wrap up each mold with the plastic wrap to keep the swallow soft and smooth then place in a food warmer until ready to be served; but it is best enjoyed when serve immediately after preparation.
9. Serve at meal time with vegetable soups, stews or sauces of choice and enjoy a taste of traditional home cuisine.
Cuban Style Fufu
Traditionally made to fit into the Cuban native dishes, so popular that it is prepared to personal choice in a one pot dish which can also be served as a side dish in combination with other daily meals but always with the green plantain as a major ingredient in the recipe with meat or vegetables for vegan choice then seasoning as desired to flavor up the dish in order to achieve the sour and spicy taste; whereas some choices might opt for the sweet and savory by using the ripe yellow plantain.
1. Unripe green plantain
2. Meat of choice or fried tofu
3. Lemon juice
4. Garlic and onions
5. Vegetable or olive oil
6. Seasoning cubes, spices of pepper and Salt to taste
7. Chilled water and vegan butter
1. Always rinse the green unripe plantain to get rid of dust and dirt sticking to the wax on the plantain peels.
2. The unripe plantain is easy to peel off its skin when boiled; slice into two or three pieces according to the size of the plantain.
3. Arrange all the cut up plantain pieces at the base of the saucepan, pour enough water to cover it, sprinkle some salt to taste and then squeeze some fresh lemon juice all over it to give that slight sourness.
4. On low heat place the pot and cover up with the lids, allow to cook until tender but not mushy.
5. The stir-fry sauce to mix in with the plantain is prepared next but first, heat up some vegetable or olive oil, sprinkle some crushed garlic and add some onion slices to saute. Then add the roasted meat or tofu most preferred in the recipes and stir fry until all water is dehydrated.
6. Season and spice up the stir fry meaty sauce just to taste, stir continuously to avoid sticking to pot and getting brown which gives a burnt taste.
7. Check for doneness then drain off the cooking stock, then carefully peel the warm plantain, collect all into a large mixing bowl, add butter or ghee mash using the potato masher to achieve the desired texture of the plantain then add some chilled water, mash and mix in to blend into a rough texture.
8. Carefully fold in the saute or stir fry sauce and mix in to combine, reserve some of the sauce to serve with the dish as toppings.
9. Serve and enjoy with families and friends, a delicious plantain dishes across borders and continent.
Sweet Or Savory Plantain Pancakes
Plantain pancakes are delicious, nutritiously healthy snacks and can easily be made with the ripe-yellow or overripe-black plantain to serve a complete meal with other side dishes for breakfast or other times of the day.
The sweetness of the plantain riches its peak when it is overripe and its skin has turn black making a delicious addition for sweet puddings and pancakes, helping also to reduce organic waste in the kitchen pantry by recycling the overly soft and over ripe black plantain.
1. Overripe-Black plantains
2. Wheat, millet or rice flour and baking powder
3. Bell pepper, scotch bonnets, onion bulbs and green onions
4. Mixed spices of ginger and garlic powder
5. Seasoning cubes and salt to taste
6. Vegetable oil for oiling the pan
7. Fresh eggs
8. Sweet Plantain Pancakes:-Add-In includes sugar or sweeteners of choice, powdered or fresh full cream or condensed milk, flavors of ginger, cinnamon and vanilla flavors
Sweet Plantain Pancakes:-
1. Wash and peel the overripe plantains then slice into chunks and transfer into a blender, add freshly whisk eggs, chopped onions, milk, cane sugar or sweeteners of choice.
2. Sift the flour, add spices, flavors, sprinkle just a pinch of salt to balance its taste then mix all together and feed into the blender cup with the plantain.
3. Blend severally until fluffy smooth and a consistency of pancake batter is obtain; the lighter the consistency of the plantain batter the thinner the pancakes would be after frying.
Proceed from step four-4 of the procedures in making the savory plantain pancakes.
Savory Plantain Pancakes:-
1. Wash and peel the overripe plantains, gently scoop out into a dish and mash or cut into chunks; Wash all the fresh vegetables, peel onions and remove seeds from the pepper then chop into cubes and add to the plantain chunks.
2. Transfer all the cut vegetables into the blender, add freshly whisk eggs, the flour of choice, mixed spices, baking powder, crushed seasoning cubes and salt to taste then blend into a batter just like the consistency of pancakes.
3. Turn out the plantain pancake batter into a mixing bowl and whisk further to incorporate more air for a fluffy light pancake.
4. On low heat place a frying pan or griddle, spray or brush oil lightly all over the surface and when it reaches the right temperature, scoop and pour spoonful of the plantain pancake batter then tip the frying pan to all sides to perfectly spread out the better evenly.
5. Cook until set and tiny bubbles are form all over the pancakes, flip it over with a palette knife then press down and flatten with a spatula to cook both sides until golden brown patches appears on both sides.
6. Fold into two halves then fold again to form four quarter to obtain a triangle shape, remove and place on an absorbent kitchen napkin or paper to absorb excess oil. Alternative, remove the pancake after frying without folding and place on the absorbent kitchen paper or napkin; cover to keep warm until ready to be serve.
7. Again repeat the steps until all the plantain batter has been fried; serve with spicy sauce, palm oil dip, egg or veggies stir-fries.
Plantain Fruits Cake
A cake that is dense and much more satisfying than the regular wheat cake but to keep it from hardening up use creamy yogurt to mix the batter for a moist cake, the ripe plantain flour can also be added to enhance flavor and taste.
1. Black skin overripe plantains
2. Wheat meal or all purpose flour
3. Creamy yogurt and full creamed milk
5. Fresh eggs
6. Sugar or Sweeteners of choice
7. Baking powder
8. Vanilla flavor
9. Salt to taste
1. Preheat the oven or make ready the local oven which is made ready by gathering the charcoal into a tripod and bring it to a smoldering fire, then place a deep heavy pot on it, fill the base of the pot with salt or clean sand, cover with its lid to keep in the heat; grease all baking pans, dust it up with light sprinkles of flour and keep ready for the batter.
2. Carefully peel the overripe plantains, cut into chunks then place in a mixing bowl and mash up or transfer into a blender, pour in the yogurt, and freshly beaten eggs, quickly blend until it is smooth.
3. Sift the all purpose flour into a mixing bowl, add powdered milk, some baking powder, vanilla flavor or cinnamon, add a pinch of salt to taste, stir all together to combine.
4. Drop into another mixing bowl some dollop of butter, add in the sugar and cream with a hand whisk or spatula until it changes to a pale color and turn fluffy light.
5. Scoop out and mix the blended plantain batter into the creamed butter, fold in with a spatula until thoroughly combined; gradually add in the dry ingredients of the flour, folding in and mixing to make blend all the ingredients together for a smooth plantain cake batter.
6. Scoop, scrape and pour out all the batter into the greased cake cups or pans; pick up the cake cups or pans and gently hit back on top of the table to remove air bubbles and to levelled up the surface.
7. Bake until golden brown with a delicious plantain aroma, check for doneness by inserting a skewer in the middle of each baked cake when it is clean without any sticky batter on it then it is ready.
8. Do not over bake, remove from the oven and cool for some minutes before removing it from the cake pans onto a cooling rack.
9. Serve as dessert or snack sweet treats with fruits slices and fruits smoothies or juice; deliciously differs from the usual all purpose flour cake because it is enhanced with fruits overloads and will make for a great fruit cake if mixed with dry multicolored fruits.
Plantain Fruits Bread
A superb and highly satisfying loaf that can be mistaken for a cake due to its moistness, any bread recipes can be used with a slight alteration in the ingredients used, it is so versatile that the plantain flour can be used as an alternative to the fresh plantain by going straight to incorporate it with any flour of choice in making the plantain bread.
1. Black skin overripe plantains
2. Wheat meal or all purpose flour
3. Creamy yogurt and full creamed milk
5. Fresh eggs
6. Brown Sugar or jaggery known as manzankwaila in Hausa
7. Active yeast and Baking powder
8. Cinnamon or nutmeg flavors
9. Salt to taste
10. Favorite Nuts types is optional
1. Preheat the oven or make ready the local oven which is made ready by gathering the charcoal into a tripod and bring it to a smoldering fire. Place a deep heavy pot on it, fill the base of the pot with salt or clean sand, cover with its lid to keep in the heat; grease all baking pans, dust it up with light sprinkles of flour and keep ready for the batter.
2. Prove the yeast in a jar or glass, first warm up the milk then pour into the jar, stir in the active yeast and mix together, cover and allow to prove until bubbly.
3. Carefully peel the overripe plantains, cut into chunks then place in a mixing bowl and mash up or transfer into a blender, pour in the yogurt, and freshly beaten eggs, quickly blend until it is smooth.
4. Meanwhile melt the butter by placing the small bowl with the butter in it over boiling water to melt or just microwave the butter; crack the fresh eggs and whisk in a separate bowl.
5. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, add in the flavor of choice, sweeten with the brown sugar, baking powder and salt to taste, combine all to mix.
6. Pour the proved yeast over the melted butter, add in the whisked eggs and the blended plantain; mix all together to combine.
7. Gradually add and fold in the flour mixture, until all is used up, transfer the plantain dough unto a flour dusted surface and knead until smooth, roll into a ball and place it in an oiled glass bowl then cover with a towel or cling film and place in a warm place for the dough to rise.
8. After an hour, deflate the dough by punching down then knead again and roll it out into a rectangular shape.
9. Transfer the log shaped plantain dough into the greased bread pan and cover it with the lid, leave it to again double in size.
10. Bake in the preheated oven until it is golden brown, with an inviting aroma of a baked plantain bread; check for doneness by tapping the top to feel that fluffiness, again press it down and watch it spring back up, lastly insert a skewer when it comes out clean then it is all done and ready.
11. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool, turn it down over and then place onto a cooling rack, tap bottom and remove the cake, keep on the rack to cool completely, serve as a dessert or snack with refreshments.
Plantain Fruits Cupcakes Or Muffins
A super moist, soft and yummy sweet cakes, giving it the tropical flavors of the plantain, add in fresh milk, full cream or condensed milk, yogurt or melted chocolate for more richness then fold in some dry fruits and top up with nutty nuts.
1. Overripe plantains
2. Butter or vegetable oils
3. Fresh eggs
4. Sugar, or sweetener of choice
5. Wheat flour
6. Full cream milk, yogurt or melted chocolate
7. Baking powder
8. Pinch of salt
9. Mixed fruits, dates or nutty nuts
Vegan cakes are so deliciously healthy with loads of dietary fiber, for an enhanced nutrients use the whole meal or oat flour, go sugar free by adding in the cane sugar or jaggery popularly known as manzarkwaila in northern Nigeria. Why not a completely vegan treats with just the overripe plantains that has turn to simple sugar for its subtle sweetness making it the perfect alternative to white sugar. Mix together in a bowl whole meal wheat flour, baking powder, pinch of salt, flavor it up with some sprinklings of nutmeg, cinnamon or cocoa powder. Combine all by stirring all the dry ingredients together, meanwhile peel and cut into chunks the plantain then transfer into the blender, add in the sugarcane syrup or cane sugar, drizzle in the olive or peanut oil, follow it up with some drops of lemon juice and blend until smooth fluffiness. Scoop into the mixing bowl and gradually fold in the flour dry ingredients until all has been incorporated to make for a smooth batter, then proceed to the baking stage from Step 5.
1. Meanwhile, preheat the oven then proceed to wash clean, peel off the thick skin of the plantain and slice into chunks that can feed easily into the blender, add in the freshly cracked eggs and milk, blend all together until fluffy smooth.
2. Sift flour into a mixing bowl add a pinch of salt and baking powder then stir to combine, reserve for use as the dry ingredients.
3. Melt butter and add in the sugar, cream together until pale fluffy light and the sugar is dissolved; scoop out the blended plantain mixture into it and gently fold to blend together.
4. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, fold in to mix in with each addition until all the flour dry ingredients has been used up.
5. A chewy cake treats is made with adding some crushed or whole roasted peanuts or groundnuts, for a unique mini fruity cup cakes then add in some dates fruit or mixed dry fruits.
6. Carefully combine and daintily folding in the fruits to coat into the cake mixture.
7. Scoop into paper cup cases or parchment paper lined baking cups, almost reaching the cup rims, top up with some nuts or fruits.
8. Pop and bake in a preheated oven until a delicious aroma of plantain and fruits teases the nostrils, springy on top when tap then insert a skewer to check for doneness if it comes out clean but if not again push it back into the oven for a few more minutes, when the cup cakes are beautiful and gorgeous golden brown then it is ready.
9. Remove from the oven, allow some few minutes to cool before removing in onto a cooling rack to cool completely before serving or storing in the refrigerator.
10. Drizzle with melted chocolate, more nuts or fruits; a delicious and cute little goodies for kids, families and a perfect gift treats for visiting friends.
Health Benefits Of Plantain Fruits
The plantain fruit in the lives of millions of people serves the crucial purpose of dietary, nutritional and therapeutic roles for healthy wellbeing, the nutritional values of the plantain is excellent making it a nutritious food source and its carotenoids which convert to vitamin A; hence providing the crucial carotenoids that is vital in addressing the nutrients requirements of a growing population living in a developing nation such as Nigeria. Plantains are an excellent source of resistant starch and micronutrients therefore, if incorporated in daily meals with minimal processing in order to retains its nutrients richness, can be beneficial in preventing nutrient deficiency in the human body.
Plantains fruits powerful antioxidants properties contains strong antimicrobial, anti-ulcerogenic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity, thereby reasons for its traditional uses in the management of many diseases which includes ulcer, diabetes and cardiovascular. Plantain fruits are a rich source of calcium, Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B4, B6, C, K others include proteins, iron, copper, carbohydrates, mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, contains also essential minerals such as potassium and phosphorus including folate which is a crucial nutrient for the body especially pregnant women.
Plantain is low in fat and sodium therefore it is a plant food that support any dietary plan for treating hypertension, helping to promote healthy eating habit within the recommended health needs of patients and people in general. The plantain potassium mineral helps the smooth functions of the body organs such as the heart and muscles hence any diet that is potassium-rich helps lower blood pressure by keeping at bay heart diseases. Plantains contains high loads of potassium, an important mineral and electrolyte that reduce and rid hypertension in human health. Its potassium loads helps to regulate blood pressure by assisting to fight the adverse effects of sodium which is the common salt, helping to stabilize the heart rhythm, aids to lower the chance of stroke, osteoporosis and renal diseases.
Plantain helps to control blood sugar with its rich loads of resistant starch, assists to promote glycemic control, slows down digestion, enhance satiety, and increases the good bacteria in the human stomach.
Plantain provide iron and vitamin c which work together to enhance nutrients absorption for a healthy wellbeing; the plantain helps to reduce iron deficiency anemia that causes the poor regulation of body temperature, frequent fatigue, impaired immunity
An excellent loads of dietary fiber, which is essential for digestive health by providing relief from hemorrhoids and reduces constipation when added to daily meals, it then add bulk to the stool which helps to promote regularity for ease in passing out the human waste. It help to stabilize blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and prevent heart diseases.
Plantains is grain-free and gluten-free with excellent loads of healthy nutrients especially of the calcium and magnesium richness, which is suitable for celiac disease patients, perfect for individuals on a paleo-diet who must avoid whole grains and processed foods but consume mostly lean meats, fruits and and vegetables.
Its beneficial properties consists of Anti-inflammatory obtained from its Vitamin A, whereas the vitamin A and C found in the plantain fruits assist to regulate immune function and boost the immune system helping to keep the body strong and healthy.
The plantain fruit if eaten in daily meals can be beneficial for kids if added to baby foods and nursing mothers, it high loads of vitamin A is necessary for good vision, reproductive health, enhance immunity, protection against infections and diseases. Medically recommended for the diabetic patient and for healthy eating; unripe plantain can also be used for iron deficiency boost in the human body. The plantain fruits contains vitamin B6 that clears estrogen and increases progesterone helping to decrease the symptoms and ease PMS; the plantain fruits contains vitamin B6, and magnesium so when eaten as a comfort food it is believed to assist in giving relief from anxiety and depression.
Plantain pulps, peels and peel extracts contain vital phytochemicals and health benefiting nutrients whereas in traditional medicine helps cure various health issues; subsequently its useful phytochemicals are processed into antimicrobials. The extracts of the yellow plantain peel powder has antibacterial effects against bacteria, fungi and viruses which protects against infectious and non-infectious diseases, whilst assisting also to speed up wound healing when applied as a poultice dressing on open wounds. Antimicrobial properties of the plantain plant assist in treating diarrhea, dysentery, epilepsy, colds, cough, bronchitis, and headache; a syrup made and obtained from its dried leaves can be used for treatment whereas its fruits can be used for treating epilepsy and diarrhea.
Plantains are loaded with antioxidants consisting of the poly-phenols and flavonoids, these disease fighting molecules helps to repair DNA, support cell health and get rid of free radicals that causes stress and damage in the human body; the antioxidant activities of the unripe plantain fruits has been proven in its extensive traditional uses for the management and prevention of stress related diseases helping to protect against free radicals before they damage the cells of the human body. The plantain peels exhibits both analgesic and anti inflammatory activities whereas its astringent properties has a cleansing effects on the body, helps to dry up excess secretions in the respiratory tract and digestive system; plantain lowers mucus secretion in the airways and lungs, an effective remedy against asthma, bronchial allergic conditions and hay fever.
The different parts of the plants are medicinal therefore used in traditional communities for the treatment of various ailments such as headaches with the cooling effects of the peeled and sliced fruits working its magic to to relieve headache when it is placed on the forehead, the leaves when tied on the forehead also helps to relieve headache. The health issues involving chest conditions like chronic cough, and bronchitis are treated using the dried leaves that has been specially prepared into a thickened syrupy concentration; the root is powerfully loaded with a natural astringent which for ages has been used to treat health issues such as coughing out blood. The fruits peel has an adverse effects on pregnant women which may cause an abortion whereas the banana leaf infusion mix with the sugarcane roots assist to hasten childbirth thereby getting rid of prolonged labor; the juice of the roots stimulate the hair follicles, good hair tonic for hair growth and healthy hair scalps. The fruit is rich in vitamin A, hence its sap contains Serothine which is remedy for weak muscles that is especially good for a weak heart. The pulp obtain from the trunk is boiled on low heat or brewed as tea and when consumed helps to soothe and stop dysentery. Stomach problems like dysentery and diarrhea, the stem when cut releases a sap that is naturally antiseptic when applied on open wounds whereas the leaves assist in wounds healings when placed over blisters, the leaves and roots can be used to reduce swellings; traditionally used as a remedy for epilepsy and several other health issues in and around the rural communities.
Adverse Effects Of Plantain Fruits
There are lots of health benefits when the plantain is incorporated in daily meals but it side effects must not be overlooked hence it must be properly cooked and consumed with caution; too much of anything or everything is bad for a healthy wellbeing. The antioxidant of the plantain fruits increases as the plantain matures therefore the unripe green plantain has lower antioxidant loads as compared to the ripe plantains. The plantain when eaten raw can cause irritation in the mouth, stomach discomfort such as gas, bloating and constipation in some individuals; the resistant starch in plantains may cause indigestion. It is not advisable for people suffering from allergic reactions to consume it in any form because it could lead to swellings of the lips, tongue and, throat whereas it might cause breathing problems in some individuals, skin rashes, itching of the mouth and throats problems in others; plantain might also cause stomach nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in some people.
Unripe Plantain Peels Oil Extraction
The plantain peels possess potentials in pharmaceutical, cosmetic and soap making industries; it is biodegradable but its indiscriminate disposal causes unsightly pollution and health hazard, although the plantain peels are used as animal feeds and contains great potential for useful chemicals.
The extraction of oil from unripe plantain peels is obtained through the cold method; the process involves the washing thoroughly the peels with distilled water. Afterwards it is spread out to sun dry and subsequently dehydrated for several hours in the oven or dehydrator until crispy dried after which it is collected and milled into powdered form then sieved; the oil is extracted with ethanol whereas the fresh plantain peel oils is extracted with methanol. Alternatively the plantain peels powder is mixed with n-hexane until dissolved, it is placed over a water bath for the solvent evaporation to occur in order to obtain the oil unfortunately the plantain peel oil is not healthy for human consumption but the methanolic oil extract has antimicrobial activity against several bacteria; it is a good alternative for use in making of soaps and shampoos.
Plantain Biomass Sustainable Green Energy, Eco-friendly And Budget Friendly.
The plantain plant biomass is an economically cheaper alternative natural resource due to its availability, affordability, sustainability, and renewability for ethanol production which is also the alternative source of energy for the gloomy climate change and looming energy crisis. The global environmental challenges urgently needs an environmentally friendly solution and an alternative economic use for the plantain residue which is often regarded as waste, discarded all over rural communities consequently causing environmental pollution. The plantain biomass has the potential for biofuel production especially the bio ethanol which is a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based ethanol; the plantain biomass consists of the flower, stem and leaves having the plantain stem biomass producing the highest bio ethanol yield.
The energy can be obtained for domestic and industrial purposes from the organic material of biomass using the right technology to harnessed from it the radiant energy stored from the sun.
The plantain biomass such as the stem, flower and leaves are collected subsequently washed in clean water order to remove all dirt and debris. It is spread out to sun dry for several days, afterwards it is gathered together, milled into powdered form and sieved to remove large grits.
The sieved plantain biomass powder is transferred into a container, it is stirred continuously before introducing acid hydrolysis; at the end of contact and reaction the mixture is left undisturbed to cool, subsequently after several hours it is filtered, then stored in the refrigerator until it is conducive for the yeast cells which has been agitated in distilled water and then it is added to the hydrolyzed biomass. It is stirred thoroughly, sealed and stored in a dark place. The mixture is stirred daily, it is then monitored and evaluated for the perfect ethanol production; after the fermentation stage the mixture is again distilled and the distillate is pass through the purification process that involves the separation of water and impurities to obtained the purified bio ethanol. The pure bio ethanol is pour into airtight bottle and then stored in the refrigerator; the comparison made between the bio ethanol and the conventional ethanol shows a favorable result in appearance, color and flavor with a higher gravity level in favor of the bioethanol, resulting to a good ignition ability of the plantain biomass bio ethanol.
Sustainability Of The Plantain Plants
Nigeria is amongst the largest producer of plantain and ranking in as the 5th in the world, whereas the plantain fruit is listed as the 3rd most important starchy staple foods in Nigeria; the cultivation of the plantain is widely dominated by both the large-scale and small-scale farmers in the southern parts of the country for local consumption than for export thereby making the country lose out being among plantain exporting nations in the global food market. The raw plantain fruit is a highly versatile food crop that can assist in creating food diversity hence encouraging its use in various recipes is necessary which would greatly help address the food scarcity in Nigeria. A trip into the nook and cranny of regions in Nigeria would highlight millions of people dwelling in dense forest areas, hill-tops and carved out caves within mountains; the plantain crop can be produce in all seasons making it available for an all year round for staple food needs of people living in such remote communities. The plantain fruits perishable nature is a crucial reason for its processing in order to avoid spoilage and post-harvest losses, the plantain production and processing has found a comfortable market segment within and all across Nigeria; subsequently making the daily demands for the plantain produce to rise higher and faster than the supply can meet up because of the growing number of plantain snack producers within the country. The plantain industry has carved out an all important niche to meet the needs of the millions of unemployed Nigerians, who must feed in order to stay alive; the by-products of the plantain fruits are money spinners when processed into flour which is further used to produce varieties of delicious snacks and fast foods such as pastry, biscuits, cakes, bread, crispy chips, fries and many others that are beautifully package and displayed on the shelves of super markets. Whereas the street food vendors are not left out in the used of the versatile plantains in the preparation of assorted dishes in local restaurants, local street makeshifts restaurants known as Bukas and managed by “mama put” also a popular name given to the street vendor whenever she is dishing out the food the costumers often chant mama put mama put meaning mom add more, other food joints includes the local cafeterias which are an upgraded makeshift eateries strategically position close to large gatherings of workers, relaxation centers, private and public institution. Hot steaming bowls of the plantain dishes are dished out on demand for consumers which include the plantain fufu swallows solidly sitting in the middle of the plate with colorful vegetable soups decoratively hugging the smooth mold, agoyin beans pottage with garnishing of plantain fried dodo; invitingly arranged on the smoky grills are the booli-roasted plantains with grilled fish, serve along with roasted peanuts depending on customers choice. Hawked around the streets and in the traffics are the popular plantain chips in hundreds of branded packages from the savory, spicy to sweet crunchy treats that are so irresistibly, arresting the salivating taste-buds for a bite.
In some locality especially across the southwest of Nigeria the plantain fruit is a major ingredient in the making of a popular nonalcoholic drink known as sekete, the fermentation stages decides what is considered alcoholic or nonalcoholic hence the longer the duration the faster a simple beverage turns into a beer; aside all the above mentioned other by products of the plantain fruits includes juice, smoothies, jams, marmalade, syrups, wine, vinegar, beer and alcohol. Furthermore the plantain leaf is sentimentally believed to improve the appetite, and to also add more taste to dishes by locking in the food flavors and enhancing the aroma of food cooked in it, hence the reason to why various dishes across continents and around the world cooked and served meals in the folds of its green goodness. It is used in most rural communities in Nigeria where traditionally the cowpea or beans steamed puddings popularly called moimoi or alele and the corn starch pudding known as eko or agidi are wrapped up with the fresh plantain leaves and then steamed, believing to taste much more better and healthier; as a healthy alternative to the plastic serving plates and even in most modern society its has found its place on most tables as an organic serving plates that is biodegradable and eco-friendly. The plantain peels are processed into animal feeds, organic manures whereas the trunks are generally a vital raw material for making strong, durable and environmentally friendly ropes, sandals, handbags, fancy table mats therefore nothing absolutely nothing goes to waste from the plantain trees.
Challenges Hampering Plantain Production In Nigeria And The Best Ways To Explore Its Export Potentials
There are several issues affecting the production of the plantain in Nigeria that needs to be urgently addressed for the plantain produce and product to assist in earning and help also to increase the much needed foreign exchange for the economic growth of Nigeria. The plantain industry is segregated into two segments where the very few male farmers dominated and are responsible for the plantain cultivation while the women take charge and control its marketing, it is a backward trend that can never contribute to the growth of the plantain industry or help attain its peak in order to meet demands within the country and to supply excess plantain produce into the global food market. Hence improved plantain crop cultivation is crucial through agricultural education to improve on modern farming method therefore for increase yields it is important for research and knowledge on crop development of the plantains. The improved species of plantain suckers must be made available and accessible, necessary also is the government support and interventions for the real farmers on the farms. The threat on the plantain and banana production in Nigeria is real, the Banana Bunchy Top Disease (BBTD) known world over is spreading its virus fast, through the banana and plantain producing regions leading to stunted growth, deformed fruits consequently a total loss of crop yields. Factors that depreciates plantain quality which must also be addressed for value addition are harvesting the fruits just when ripe or at maturity, the industry is faced with poor storage facilities, and unfavorable storage conditions other issues includes limited distribution facilities and transportation in remote production communities; despite the identified presence of cyanide and hydrogen cyanide which might constitute a health hazard in the plantain peel and stalk; if properly processed can be useful in food preservation in order to prevent the growth of fungi that might cause decay in processed foods during storage.
Therefore, it is vital for the government to go into the total industrialization of plantain fruits because increasing the plantain produce without industrialization is completely a waste of valuable resources; processing would help to enhance industrialization, which would greatly aid in improving on the value of the plantain crop for an all season availability. The preparation and preservation of its fruits into different food products is one of the best ways to prolong its shelf life; subsequently, these crucial steps if taken seriously would help create jobs for the millions of unemployed Nigerians, assist also in reducing poverty all across regions moving towards a better and brighter path to bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots but most importantly income generation to create wealth for Nigeria.
Plantain is a common name for a starchy fruit and a plant herb, do not mistake one for the other because they differ in so many ways despite the fact that they both share the same name “plantain”; a quick reminder is that one is a herbal green leaf popularly used in traditional medicines, while its edible tender leaves are incorporated into some dishes whereas the other is popularly called the “cooking banana” due to the similarities between the sweet dessert banana and plantain fruits but differs in taste and cooking method. Plantain fruit is eaten daily by millions of people around the world, it is a sweet and nutritious food for all seasons, pick a bunch to make a punch or munch on and relish in every bite the taste of the tropics!