Making Plantain Pancakes
To many, plantains might look like ugly, black, oversized bananas. However if you’ve spent any time in Central America, you have hopefully been fortunate enough to enjoy this deliciously exotic and sweet fruit. Though I became enamored with plantains in my beloved Belize, I am thrilled to see them pop up more frequently on local menus in the States. Whether roasted and served alongside savory dishes or incorporated into decadent desserts, plantains are, in my opinion, one of the most versatile and delicious fruits around!
A staple in tropical regions throughout the world, plantains and various types of bananas are ubiquitous in Belize. In addition to the pancake recipe I’m featuring below, my recipes for Arroz con Plantanos and other dishes are centered on this popular food. Firm fleshed plantains are generally used for cooking, and in contrast to the bananas most of us have peeled and eaten since youth, plantains are rarely eaten raw as they contain less sugar. In fact raw plantains are actually unpleasant to eat. Yet when prepared appropriately – they are heavenly. They can be cooked when they are green and unripe or further along in their evolution – when they turn black, soft and sweet. I love them fried, roasted, grilled or sautéed. And I was excited to learn that they are extraordinarily nutritious too! They are packed with potassium and vitamins and very easy to digest. They have been used as a staple in healthy diets throughout history.
My favorite preparation is plantain pancakes. My husband was the first in our family to learn how to prepare these delectable breakfast treats. Nearly ten years ago our contractor brought some to work and Wayne was hooked. For years Wayne insisted on preparing them himself – never letting me near the kitchen while he fried stacks of pancakes for every guest who visited us in Belize. He would whip them up and I would serve these delicacies paired with local honey or pure maple syrup, freshly squeezed orange juice, tropical fruit and chicken sausage. Only recently did my husband share the exact ingredients and method with me. Of course, I’ll let him continue to make his special dish – but I was thankful that he was gracious enough to share the recipe with me so I could, in turn, share it with you.
Wayne’s Plantain Pancakes
Makes approximately 8 pancakes
- 1 very ripe, black colored plantain-peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp evaporated milk
- 3-4 Tbsp grapeseed or vegetable oil
To prepare the plantains, score the skin lengthwise with a sharp knife, and then easily remove the peel.
Put all ingredients except the oil in a blender and process until nearly smooth. If you like thinner pancakes, add more evaporated milk. For thicker cakes, additional flour can be incorporated to the batter.
Heat a large frying pan with about 1/4 inch of grapeseed or vegetable oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, pour the batter into pancake shapes – about 3-4 inches in diameter. Fry until very dark on one side, flip and finish frying the other side.
Keep covered with foil to retain warmth. These are super sweet and good alone or with a smidgen of pure maple syrup, honey or fruit jam. Quickly reheated, any leftover pancakes taste almost as good the next day.
A few notes: If you can’t find overly ripe plantains, buy them when they are green or yellow and leave them in a paper sack until they are quite black. Also – I think you’ll learn that this super quick and tasty recipe luckily it can be doubled or tripled easily.
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