This fried sweet plantains dish is a staple dish in Nigeria
Fried sweet plantains when added to a meal, levels up a dish. Just ask a Nigerian! If you’re eating rice and stew, add some sweet plantains to the side and your meal is complete even if it was complete beforehand. Plantains are so good that it is even considered an endearment – I don’t know why, but us Nigerians love to call our spouses a “sweet” something. “My sweet potato”, “My sweet plantain, baby”, “ My sweet jollof”. You get the gist. This fast and easy fried sweet plantain with fried red stew might have you looking at your lover in a different light.
Plantains are called cooking banana because of its starchy composition, with that said, bananas and plantains are not interchangeable when reviewing a recipe. You do not know how many times I’ve cringed at Chopped or Master Chef episodes where contestants treated plantains like a banana.
🌍 Plantains in West Africa
Though plantain is not indigenous to Africa, it has been a part of the West African agriculture since around the late 1400s. The exact time is difficult to pinpoint, however, it is believed that Arab and Asian traders bought plantains from Southeast Asia to Africa.
Today, of the top 10 plantain producers of the plantains – West African countries account for 60% of production. When grown plantains are green in color, and once harvested it will ripen to golden yellow, darkening, and sweetening over time to eventually become black. In Nigeria, the popular plantain dish is simply frying the plantains in hot oil and then served as a side dish. In Ghana, kelewele is a fried plantain dish coated with a spicy and delicious thick sauce. In Cameroon, Poulet DG is a dish made with chicken and fried plantains sauced with savory tomato sauce and garnishes.
Sweet plantains are a lot more common in West Africa, however, that is not to say that green plantains are not used in various dishes. Check out my friend, Afia's Ultimate Plantain Guide for selecting the perfect plantain.
How to Peel and Cut Sweet Plantains
There are different ways to cut sweet plantains. In Nigeria round cuts are popular, but for extra flair we cut diagonally. Quarter cuts are often left for partys so that the host can feed more people with less. In the Caribbean - diagonal cuts are the most popular. Whats your favorite cut?
Ata Din Din
Ata Din Din simply means fried pepper in Yoruba. Though it sounds similar to obe ata (red stew), the sauce is much thicker and cooked down to a much flavorful stew. The process for cooking ata din din is also similar to obe ata, however, expect to use more oil and less liquid or stock. When I was younger I would sneak agege bread from the fridge at random hours of the night to dip in some ata din din. Now that I’m older, I’m happy to tell you that I’ve replaced agege bread with Ezekiel bread.
Store your leftovers in a tightly lidded container in the refrigerator. The fried sweet plantains should be eaten within 3 days. The ata din din can be moved to the freezer after 7 days in the fridge.
- Fry one sliced plantain until golden brown before frying in bulk.
- Do not overcrowd your pan when frying your sweet plantains in bulk
- 2 (Ripe) Yellow Plantain
- 2 cups of vegetable oil for frying
Ata Din Din
- 1 small red bell pepper
- ½ a large onion
- 1 large tomato
- ½ habanero pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic
- ½ a large onion, sliced
- 1 tbsp of tomato paste
- 1 tsp of vegetable bouillon
- ¼ tsp of thyme
- Heat your oil of medium heat
- Cut the ends of your plantain and then score the skin to create an opening to peel off the skin.
- Slice your plantain as you prefer and fry on both sides until golden brown.
- Strain the finished plantains on to a paper towel.
Ata Din Din
- Blend sweet tomato, onion, habanero pepper, and garlic in a blender with ½ of water (yields 2 cups). Set aside.
- Heat ½ of vegetable oil over medium, and add sliced onions. Fry for 2 minutes.
- Add in tomato paste and fry for an additional 5 minutes.
- Increase your heat to medium-high, pour in your blended vegetables, and let fry for 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Allow the fried pepper to reduce to a thick sauce, serve immediately.
Try not to overcrowd your frying pan when frying your plantains.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 509Total Fat: 30.1gSaturated Fat: 4.7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 25mgCarbohydrates: 20.7gFiber: 2.4gSugar: 12.7gProtein: 1.1g