Plantains are something that I grew up with. Although, I never liked the ripened version much- my mom or grandma would eventually have to force it down my throat (well, I would eat it myself once they have uttered their few choice words :D). But the raw plantains, now that is a different story…
If you do use bananas and plantains interchangeably- then you would be wrong, because they are different. You can find the differences between these cousins here. The key difference is that plantains have more starch content than their sweet cousin (I read somewhere that you should think of bananas as the dessert wine). I remember my peeps telling me how everyone should have at least one of these herbs in their backyard (that is right, it is an herbaceous plant). My mom would tell us how every part of this plant is useful, it got compared to the kamadhenu (the cow that keeps giving)- you can eat the stem (வாழைத்தண்டு), the flower (வாழைபூ, I never liked this either except when cooked as a paruppu usili), the fruit of course (வாழைபழம்) and you can eat these out of the most organic plate – the leaf (வாழைஇலை). If you have never eaten out of the banana leaf- you are missing out on something divine. I can almost conjure up the image right now- hot food with some ghee (clarified butter) on the banana leaf- what divine smells, nothing else can beat it!
Anyway here is a simple snack recipe with raw plantains
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and grease with some oil (I used canola oil spray)
Mix a teaspoon each of roasted cumin powder, coriander powder, caraway powder, salt, pepper and chilli powder with 3 tbsp coconut oil
Peel and slice two raw plantains (these are huge so adjust the seasonings as you want them) as thinly as possible (make sure to dunk them in a bowl of water until you are ready to use- to prevent it from blackening).
Mix the plantains in the oil mixture and let sit for 5 minutes or even more if you like
Arrange the slices on the prepared sheet tray, pour the left over oil evenly
Keep in oven for about 15 minutes (rotate the pan halfway through). Of course the timing will depend on the thinness of the slices.
Once they are nice and crisp, take it out the oven- let it cool a little (take the pieces out when they are slightly warm) and store them in an airtight container
Judgement– What can you not like about a simple snack like this especially when you think of the alternative heavily salted store bought version (really, so much so that I have stopped buying them). Except my container was not quite air tight 😦