Plantain is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa. The fruit they produce is generally used for cooking, in contrast to the soft, sweet banana. There is no formal botanical distinction between bananas and plantains, and the use of either term is based purely on how the fruits are consumed.
Plantain is a staple food in the tropical regions of the world. It is the tenth most important staple that feeds the world. Plantains are cooked by steaming, boiling or frying.
Plantain has more calories, weight for weight, than banana. Hundred gm of plantain has 122 calories, while a similar quantity of banana has only 89 calories. Also, it is a reliable source of starch and energy; it can ensure food security for millions of households, world-wide.
It contains 2.3 g of dietary fibre per 100 gm (6 per cent of DRA per 100 gm). Dietary fibre helps in normal bowel movements, thereby reducing constipation. Fresh plantain has more Vitamin C than bananas. This helps the body develop resistance to infection and also scavenge harmful free radicals. Plantains have more vitamin A than bananas. Plantains are powerful anti-oxidants. Vitamin A is plays vital role in maintaining healthy mucus membranes and enhancing skin complexion.
Plantains also provide adequate levels of minerals such as iron, magnesium, and phosphorous. Fresh plantains have more potassium than bananas. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help control heart rate and blood pressure and counter the negative effects of sodium. Plantains are rich sources of B-complex vitamins, and are particularly high in Vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine). Pyridoxine is an important B-complex vitamin that has a beneficial role in the treatment of neuritis and anaemia. In addition, the fruit contains moderate levels of folates, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin.
Now, for a recipe.
Gram flour: 2 tablespoons
Refined flour: 2 tablespoons
Dry mango powder: quarter teaspoon
Red chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
Asafoetida: a pinch
Salt: to taste
Oil: for frying
In a bowl prepare a batter using the gram flour, refined flour, salt, asafoetida, dry mango powder and chili powder.
Cut the sides of the raw banana and peel the skin.
Make thin slices of it.
Heat oil for frying.
Dip the sliced plantain in the batter and deep fry.
Executive Chef, Vivanta by Taj-Fisherman’s Cove, Chennai