Plantains in south-east London are three for a pound. I buy them when they’re really ripe – soft and blackened. I’m not keen on green plantains but I suspect this may be because I haven’t really looked into how to cook them properly. I will say this – if you buy them yellow or green, they take forever to ripen! I’ve read so many south Indian and Sri Lankan recipes lately, I feel I’m stuck in a bit of a rut – cooking a variety of veg with grated fresh coconut, curry leaves and mustard seeds. If you’d like to join me in my rut, you could use this recipe, replacing squash with plantain. I have however tried to vary things a bit, so I added peppers and tomatoes. I had some random bits of pepper left in my fridge and I liked the different colours that they added to the dish but you could equally use one pepper.
3 ripe plantains
2 tomatoes, ideally soft
1 bell pepper or a colour of your choice
a teaspoon of mustard seeds/black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
a sprig of curry leaves
a scant teaspoon of asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 green chili
- Peel the plantains and chop into round slices before cutting each one into four. Cut the tomatoes into small pieces, then finely dice the pepper and the chili. (You can reduce the quantity of chili if you prefer.)
- Heat a tablespoon of oil over a low to medium heat and add the (black) mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Let them crackle and splutter – add the asafoetida and turmeric once the seeds have changed in a bit in colour. Add the tomatoes and pepper and leave to cook for a few minutes – the tomatoes will start to soften.
- Add the salt and plantains and stir the contents of the pan. Add a little water if needed – this is a dry-ish dish but a little water will help it cook and saves you standing over it and stirring it. Keep an eye on it – the water may evaporate before the peppers have cooked and the tomatoes have reduced.