The first time I remember having Plátanos maduros (or sweet plantains in English), was when I went to the beautiful Dominican Republic on a missions trip. I was the only vegetarian in the group and I was still in high school in a time before vegetarianism and veganism were widely popular. Since I was a teenager, driving to places in another country was out of the question at that time meaning mealtime for me was typically al a carte. So when we went to a local restaurant, a group member told me having plátanos with black beans and rice would be a great dish that would align with my values. When I received my plate, I remember thinking why am I having a banana with beans? Then, trying it and thinking about how amazing it tasted. It was sweet, with a bit of salt sprinkled over top and paired with the perfectly seasoned black beans and rice. After that meal, I never looked at a plantain the same. To this day, plantains always remind me of warm, sunny trips to neighboring Caribbean countries or US Territories like Puerto Rico.
Plantains grow in the tropical climates of Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Southeast Asia. They are also a staple fruit in many regions. What I love about plantains is how versatile they are. You have the option to eat them with a more bitter taste or you can wait until they are ripe to have them sweet like for this dish. The best way to know if your plantain is ripe is by looking at the color of it. If the plantain is green it will be best for making tostones or mofongo. This taste will be comparable to a potato-y flavor. As the plantain gets more yellow it will become sweeter making it great to make plátano Maduro.
This dish is great to pair with rice, beans, and jerk tofu. It is a wonderful complement to savory dishes, as it adds just the right amount of sweetness which your taste buds will enjoy. This side dish is also wonderful to have on its own, sometimes we eat it as a snack in our family before the main dish is complete. Emanuel also likes to add a bit of plant-based cheddar cheese on top of his.
For this recipe, I am making my plátanos maduros in the air fryer. This is not the traditional way of cooking them but some nights I just want to speed up dinner. I also love that that the air fryer doesn’t require the use of too much oil, so it is a healthier option for a dish we both love so much. Since I am making this in the air fryer, I do check on the plantains halfway through just to make sure they are browning the way I like them to.
Prep time: 5 minutes l Cook Time: 10 minutes l Total time 15 minutes
2 Ripe Plantains
1 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
Cut open your plantains, remove the fruit from the peel, and slice them into about 1/2 inch slices.
Place sliced plantains in a thin layer in your air fryer base.
Lightly coat your plantains with oil
Air Fry your plantains at 375° for 10 minutes
Fry until golden brown.
Let cool, add a little salt to taste, serve, and enjoy!