Plantains are sometimes overlooked when it comes to cooking, but for great tropical-themed dinner ideas they’re right up there with kiwis and mangos. I recently hosted a tropical dinner night and was looking for plantain recipes online beforehand. I was not disappointed with what I found.
Plantains naturally lend themselves to meals because they’re similar to potatoes, containing fiber and starch. That means they’re hearty and nutritious and additionally are very versatile.
Plantains can be paired with almost anything. I ended up settling on Sauteed Kiwi and Manzano Bananas dish. Manzano bananas are basically tiny plantains that can be enjoyed in their unripe/non-sweet phase or once they’ve turned black and acquired sweetness. You can also use regular-sized Chiquita plantains for this dish, which is what I did.
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The following is how I prepared the dish, though there is a lot of leeway for extra ingredients and serving styles:
Cut the plantains into 1/4th inch thick chunks and cut the kiwis—once the skins and cores have been removed—into 8 cubes. For a sweeter tropical taste, cook the plantains in coconut oil over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure the coconut oil is coating the bottom of the pan you’re using as well as the pieces of fruit.
Once the plantains are done cooking lay them out on a plate and use a paper towel to try and absorb some of the oil. If the bananas aren’t browned on the edges you may need to cook them a bit longer, or flip them over and cook for an additional two minutes.
Then cook the kiwi slices the same way. When they’re done, add them in a bowl with the plantains and toss together with yogurt or ice cream. You can also combine this with other tropical fruits, like mangos, papayas, or pineapples. A tropical fruit salad might just be the best summertime dish you ever served!
This works great as an appetizer or desert, but for a heartier meal you might want to add rice as a foundation and grill up some pork as well. Pork lends itself nicely to sweeter dishes and pairs well with tropical fruits. Marinated or jerk-rubbed chicken can go well with tropical dishes as well.
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