The Best Way of Cooking Plantains
Plantains do need to be cooked, unlike bananas which can be eaten raw or cooked. They resemble bananas but tend to be larger, so you will know them when you have seen them. Compared side by side to regular bananas they look different. They are in the banana family but are not as sweet. Plantains can be served in savory dishes such as curry or they can be cooked to make Mexican dessert recipes. The plantains in the following Mexican dessert recipe melt in your mouth while the ice cream and whipped cream enhance their savory flavor and the cajeta sauce offers a sweet, silky touch.
Cooking plantains is easy and you just need to bake them for a while to make them soft and to release their tasty flavor. Plantains can also be deep fried to make plantain chips, a flavorful snack. In the following recipe we are keeping things simple by pouring some cajeta sauce over the plantains before cooking them, then serving with ice cream and whipped cream. Serve the dish while the plantain is still hot for the tastiest result and the most contrast.
Cajeta, which is also known as dulce de leche, is a typical Mexican sauce, available from Latin food stores, or you can make your own. If you do not have any or do not wish to use it, you can drizzle a mixture of ¼ cup water, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tbso sugar and a pinch of cinnamon over the plantains before baking instead, then serve the finished dessert with your favorite ice cream syrup instead of the cajeta, perhaps chocolate, caramel, fudge, strawberry, or another flavor. Something else you can do is garnish the finished dish with fresh berries and those would add a tart tang to the overall flavor, contrasting beautifully with the sweet sauce.
If you usually avoid the plantains in the grocery store because you are not sure what to do with them, grab yourself a couple and you can make this recipe. Once you have tasted the neutral flavor and realized how incredble and versatile plantains are, you will certainly want to use them again and again, trying them in savory dishes too. Plantains are great with cajeta sauce if you want to offer a tasty south of the border dish, but you can also cook them and serve them alongside something savory like turkey or chicken in mole sauce perhaps. Add some Mexican rice and maybe a green vegetable, and you have all the makings of a fantastic Mexican meal.
- 2 plantains, peeled and sliced lengthwise
- Cooking spray, as needed
- ½ cup cajeta sauce (dulce de leche)
- 2 scoops vanilla ice cream, to serve
- Whipped cream, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Grease a glass baking dish with cooking spray and put the plantains in it, flat side up.
- Drizzle half the cajeta sauce over the plantains.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the plantain is very soft.
- Serve the baked plaintains hot with the remaining cajeta, ice cream and whipped cream.
This baked plantain dish is a delicious way to end your meal. The plantain melts in your mouth while the ice cream and whipped cream sweeten your palate, and the cajeta sauce contrast the softened sweetness of the plantain. You only need a few ingredients to prepare this dessert. You can use bananas instead of plantains if you want but bear in mind the dish will be much sweeter that way. Plantains offer a more neutral flavor, somewhere between sweet and savory, which is why the very sweet cajeta combines so beautifully, offering an incredibly tasty contrast.
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