Whether unripe, semi-ripe, ripe, over-ripe, plantains can be enjoyed at whatever stage of ripeness they are and in several ways too. Fried, boiled, grilled or roasted, plantains are consumed in almost all Nigerian homes, either as snacks or main meals. Kids sure love plantains too!
Do you know that plantains are highly nutritious? One of the many reasons plantain is on the list of foods to be consumed for a healthy weight management therapy (check here for the numerous benefits of eating plantain).
Interestingly, plantains aren’t unique to only Nigerian or West African cuisine; they’re a universal staple in the Caribbean and Southern American. Popularly called Platanos, plantains are ubiquitous across these regions and the Latinos do have their ways of enjoying this versatile super food.
Today’s recipe is one of the several plantain dishes cooked the Caribbean way – Plantain Lasagne (Pastelón). Basically prepared the lasagne way, this recipe uses plantain instead of pasta. Spiced beef /chicken/turkey and vegetables sandwiched in layers of fried plantains. It’s definitely a lip-smacking cuisine that’ll keep you wanting more!
Here we go...
- 5 - 6 ripe Plantains, peeled
- 1kg ground beef/chicken/turkey
- 2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 Green peppers, finely chopped
- 2 fresh Tomatoes, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 Red peppers, finely chopped
- ½ Tsp Cayenne/chilli pepper
- ½ Tsp Black pepper (optional)
- ½ Tsp coriander
- 1 Tsp Oregano (Thyme can be used too)
- ¼ Teaspoon of ground cumin
- ½ cup olives, sliced
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp Chicken seasoning powder
- 2 Tbsp Low fat milk (optional)
- 3-4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Healthy cooking oil
- Salt to taste
Slice the plantains lengthwise and fry in hot oil till golden brown on both sides. Drain fried plantains on paper towels and set aside.
Pour some oil into another pot and place on medium heat. Combine chopped onions, minced garlic, red and green peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste, spices and seasoning and cook for about 2 minutes. Next, add the ground beef/chicken/turkey and leave for 10-15 minutes (enough time to cook). Lastly, add the olives into the sauce. Turn off the heat and leave to simmer.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Beat eggs and set aside.
Slightly grease a lasagne dish/pan with butter/ oil and pour half of the beaten eggs into it as base. Begin to assemble fried plantains into the pan, followed by a spread of meat sauce and then another layer of plantains. Keep alternating till you’ve layers of plantain and sauce. Ensure that the last layer is of plantains. Mix remaining eggs with low-fat milk and pour all over to seal the layers. Slot into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Leave to cool for at least 15 minutes. Best served warm.
Who says this is only for the tropics? You really should try it!