Friday, December 3, 2010

Plantain Chips: Baked or Fried?

This is one of my all-time favorite Caribbean snacks and if you are from the Caribbean, then you must surely recognize these chips.  Growing up, plantain chips was a staple in my house.  Whether guests were over or we just had extra plantains that we didn't want to get ripe, my mother had no problem frying up a batch of these chips.  I used to always love eating these with ketchup and hot pepper sauce, some people like theirs with different types of condiments like garlic sauce or  mango chutney.  They are also just as tasty without any sauce.


If you are from the Caribbean then you know our foods are very carbohydrate intensive.  Everything we eat is either served with rice or some type of heavy carb like roti or fried dough.  It's sometimes difficult to make our favorite dishes healthy without compromising the taste, but since we are all moving towards a more healthy America, then the least we could do is try right?  Well today I decided that as much as I love fried plantains, I really want to bake them to see how different they would taste.




SO WHATS THE VERDICT? BAKE OR FRY?
Baked plantain chips are a great substitute for those who want to avoid the calories from deep frying. The taste is the same, however the texture is very different.  The baked version is much crispier and drier.  You see when you fry a plantain chip, you get a nice golden crust while keeping the moisture inside the chip.  When you bake a plantain chip, you are drying out the entire chip resulting in a crisp chip all the way through. If you can get past this one textural difference, then you are on your way to having a healthy version of one of your most favorite fried snacks!

WHAT TYPE OF PLANTAINS SHOULD I BUY?
You have two options. Completely green (which is what I used) or slightly ripe.  Below is a picture of what slightly ripe looks like. It will still taste like a green plantain, except it will have a hint of sweetness.  I grew up eating plantain chips made from completely green plantains so that is what I used for this recipe.  One thing to note is that the greener the plantains the lighter in color the inside will be.  If it is slightly ripe, when you fry the plantain, you will  notice a deeper yellow color which comes from the ripeness. 


I will go through two different process; baking and frying.  You can follow through my pictorial instructions to see the difference. 


Prepping the plantains

Use your knife to help you gently lift the skin off. Continue with your fingers to peel away the green skin. 


If you have a mandolin slicer, this will speed up your process.  I don't have one so I cut these by hand. The thickness of your slices should be about 1/8in.or as thick as a nickel.  


If you are BAKING

Make the oil mixture

Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes 

If you are FRYING

If you don't have a thermometer, just test by dropping one chip into the oil, you will know the oil is ready if the chip floats to the top almost immediately



Prep your bowl by sprinkling salt and pepper on the napkin, when you throw the hot chips in the bowl it will make contact with the salt and pepper and stick to the chip. 


Throw some additional salt and pepper and shake while still in the bowl

An idea for a dipping sauce

This is my favorite dipping sauce to eat with plantain chips

Ingredients & Directions

For baking:
  • 2 green plantains
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Slice plantains and place in mixing bowl. 
  3. Mix olive oil, black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper together, pour over raw plantains. 
  4. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, checking after 8 minutes. 
  5. You may not be able to fit all the plantains on one baking sheet, so you can bake these in 2 separate batches. 
For Frying:
  • 2 green plantains
  • dash of salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • canola oil for frying
  1. Heat oil on low-medium  in a deep frying pan while you are slicing the plantains. 
  2. Peel and slice plantains and place into a mixing bowl. 
  3. Once oil is hot, drop batches of plantains in the oil stirring frequently in the beginning so that they don't stick together. 
  4. When the first batch is done, toss with the salt and pepper mixture. 
  5. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper after every batch is done frying. 


10 comments:

  1. This is an outstanding post.

    Listen girl, you can't have people drooling like this so early in the morning.

    I will definitely link to many of your pages from the Tastes Like Home Facebook page when things have sorted themselves out.

    Really, this is an excellent post.

    I prefer frying because it is faster. I use a mandoline slicer so I get wafer thin slices so my gets crisp all the way through. Also, I shallow/fry instead of deep frying. Now all this talk makes me want to have plantain chips.

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  2. Hey Cynthia!

    Thanks! I love frying mine as well. My mom used to use a mandolin, but I don't have one so I had to go the traditional route! My friends have been asking for healthier alternatives to their favorite Caribbean foods recently so that's part of my new endeavor with the blog.

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  3. My family is Jamaican and growing up I hated plantain...within the past five years or so I have loved eating plantain...thanks for the tips

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  4. Thank you for this! I have tried to fry plantains never to the result I was looking for. You're break down of the difference tween frying and baking made it simple to figure out what I wanted. The baked kind. Now I have to try it.
    Question : how do you hold the plantain while trying to use the mandolin? Lol

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  5. So I tried this baking process. They came out chewy/hard. What I am trying achieve is something like my favorite store bought plantain chip from Chifles plantain chips. I lived near Spanish Harlem so cuban and puerto rican influences were abundant. Perhaps I used too much oil? Or perhaps I didn't cut them thin enough.?

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    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      Everyone's oven temperature varies so it could be possible that the heat was too high and the slices were too thick. That would result in the inside of the chips getting soft while the outside looks like it is golden brown and done. Next time try cutting them slightly thinner :) Hope this helps!
      Alica

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  6. Hello,

    I made the chips as you suggested. They are crispy but too hard. I can't even bite into them without hurting my teeth. Are they suppose to be cripy but not so hard that I can only eat 1 at a time. Any idea on where I went wrong?

    When I baked it, the 12minutes baking time, the chips were still soft. I baked until it was hard. My baking time was more like 40 minutes. Any ideas on where I went wrong?

    Thanks!

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