Lucy Popescu

freedom to write, review, travel…

May: Stuffed Plantain

Posted by lucypopescu on May 5, 2009

I love the fact that in Mexico you eat with the seasons; month by month different dishes grace your table. But my ability to COOK good Mexican food remains untested.  So every month I am going to experiment in these pages.

Today is my last day of confinement, (I sound like a pregnant heroine from Jane Austen)!  I have been playing with a Mexican recipe, that is traditionally from Veracruz, and thinking up substitutes for particular ingredients that might be difficult to source in Europe. Jaime’s mother prepared something similar just before we left and it is truly divine. If you can get hold of super-ripe plantains and have a chance to try out my particular concoction below, please tell me how it tastes and send a picture of the end result.

Working with the seasons, I am going to be publishing monthly recipes. I’m a vegetarian but obviously you can substitute my ingredients for meat. This month Fried Plantain. Apparently in Spanish ‘plantain’ translates as Macho Bananas!  In certain parts of Mexico, you serve particular beans… if you get this wrong, or insist on serving your favourite when they are just not appropriate, it can end in a  divorce.  Ours was a different dilemma: What should be the correct consitency of the mashed plantain. This ended in a heated argument involving a lot of spilt  flour.

Fried plantain stuffed with refried beans and panela cheese

Serves 4

Ingredients

6 ripe (almost black), unpeeled soft plantains

Cornflour

A can or carton of black beans

Or substitute with 100g of black-eyed or red kidney beans, boiled and lightly mashed (if using dry ingredients ensure that they are soaked and cooked adequately)

A small block of Panela (a fresh, mild Mexican cheese) cut into strips – or substitute with mozzarella

Butter for frying

Directions

Peel the plantains and mash together in a large saucepan.  Add 3 tablespoons cornflour to the mix.

Melt butter in a frying pan so that it is sizzling. Because the mixture is so moist the trick is to add each batch of stuffed plantain as soon as you have prepared it.

Divide the plantain dough into roughly the size of a small fat, banana. Make a shallow indentation down the middle of each with your finger and fill  with either strips of cheese or beans. Immediately add to the frying pan of hot butter. (You can shape further whilst frying and flatten slightly with a wooden spatula to ensure the mix cooks all the way through). I use the rounded sides of the pans to help make a banana shape. The first few times they will probably look like squashed bananas, but i guess, with time, this improves. The stuffed plantain should be  browned  until crispy on both sides, about 5 minutes.

Drain off any excess oil and serve with tomato salsa, sour cream, guacamole, Mexican rice and/or a crisp salad on the side.

Buen provecho!

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