Holiday Feature

Caramelized Ripe Plantains

Serves 6 to 8


Plantains turn up everywhere in West African cooking. They're nibbled as street snacks, pounded into mashes and FOOFOOS, added to soups and stews, and served as dessert.

Plantains are used at virtually every stage of their maturing process. The green ones are peeled, sliced, and deep-fried as chips. The ripe yellow ones are used as a starch to accompany main dishes, and the superripe black ones in which the starch has turned to sugar appear as desserts. This is one way to serve plantain that appeals to everyone.


4 ripe plantains
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sugar


Peel the plantains and slice them into l/2-inch rounds. Heat the butter to foaming in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the plantain slices to the butter and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and slightly caramelized. Sprinkle the plantain slices with the sugar, allow the sugar to caramelize slightly, then remove the plantains from the skillet. Serve warm.

These plantain slices are also particularly good when served over vanilla ice cream, topped with the caramelized butter from the pan.



A Kwanzaa Keepsake
By Jessica B. Harris
Recipe reprinted by permission.


Global Holiday Pageant

Introduction to Kwanzaa



This page created December 1998; modified November 2006