These crunchy plantain chips are popular in Ghana and are easy to buy. The green, unripe plantains are sliced thinly and fried to crunchy perfection. If you are health conscious or looking to reduce your fat intake, then you can also bake them. In this recipe, I will show you how to do both.
What are plantain chips?
Plantain chips are made from green, unripe plantains either cut into thin circles or thin strips and then deep fried in hot oil. You can either salt your plantains before frying or afterwards.
I personally find that adding very fine salt after frying gives them the best results. If you only have coarse salt available then I would recommend that you dissolve the salt in some water, and sprinkle that on the cut plantain before you fry them.
Apart from using green plantains, you can also use plantains that are slightly ripe. When fried, these are darker in colour than your green plantains, because of the higher sugar content. Sweet plantain chips are just as amazing if not better than salty chips. Absolutely yummy!
Plantains are not only common in large parts of Africa but also in South America, the Caribbean and I believe parts of Asia.
In Ghana, the green unripe ones are also used to make fufu, a thick and starchy dish made from pounding cooked cassava and plantain. Fufu is usually eaten with soup like groundnut (peanut) soup, which you will absolutely love.
When ripe and yellow, plantains can be fried and eaten with beans stew or used to make kelewele.
When overripe, very soft and with black peels, they become even sweeter and can be used to make ofam, kaklo or tatale. From green and unripe to black and overripe, every stage of plantain has its use.
You will need some green plantains, salt and vegetable oil.
How to make plantain chips
The first step is to peel the green plantains.
Never peeled green plantains before? Then you may struggle a bit. Cut along the length of the plantain with a pairing knife and then use your thumb to move the peel around and out.
The peel sticks to the plantain quite a bit but using your fingers or your hands is the best way to remove the peels from an unripe green plantain.
Your hands will be a bit tacky afterwards but this goes away after washing and scrubbing thoroughly. If you're worried about your hands then use gloves to peel the plantains.
The most important thing to note when making plantain chips is to make sure that the slices are thin so that they crisp up in the oil.
Using a mandoline, slice the plantains. At this point, you can either slice the plantain directly into the oil or you can slice them into a bowl to get them ready for frying later. I prefer the former, as it gives you a bit more control, and things don't get hectic.
A quick tip to prevent them from sticking together is to not bunch them together. Put them in the hot oil individually and also do not overcrowd the pan.
They. Will. Stick. Together. And you don't want that.
Once they are in the oil, move them around in the oil and you can do that with a slotted spoon, fish slice or a wooden spatula.
Once they're crispy, drain on a paper towel and then toss them with some fine salt. Typically, plantain chips are eaten on their own but if you have avocado, make quick guacamole and have that with the chips. This is such a great combo.
Substitutions and Variations
- Half-ripe plantains - if you don't have green plantains but you are able to get half ripe plantains you can use these as well to make plantain chips. The plantains however need to be firm so that they are able to crisp up.
- Baked plantain chips - for a healthier version of these tasty snacks, you can bake them. Spray a little bit of your favourite oil on them bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until they are crispy, making sure to turn them over half way through.
Baking the plantain chips
You can also bake these plantain chips if you do not want to fry them or you are trying to avoid fried foods.
Add a bit of oil to the slices and mix thoroughly. Then place the slices on a tray with baking paper and bake in the oven over medium heat for about 15 minutes, making sure to turn them over about halfway through.
I do have to admit that they are much tastier fried than baked.
Finally, add some fine salt and enjoy!
Whether fried or baked, plantain chips hold up very well when stored in an airtight container. They will last up to two weeks and stay crispy when stored this way but lose their crunch if left out in the open.
Don't leave the plantain chips to get too brown in the oil, they will get slightly darker by the time they are taken out. Remember that they are very thin and will therefore cook quickly in the oil.
Crunchy Plantain Chips Recipe
- 2 large green unripe plantains
- salt fine
- vegetable oil for frying
- Cut along the length of the plantain and then using your thumb, peel off the skin.
- Using a mandoline, cut the plantain into round slices.
- Heat some vegetable oil in a deep pan for frying.
- Over medium heat, individually drop the slices of plantain into the hot oil and use a slotted spoon to move the slices around. This will prevent them from sticking together.
- The chips will be cooked in about 2-3 minutes. You will hear the chips' crunch as you move them around in the oil, a good sign that they are ready.
- Drain them on a paper towel and then transfer into a bowl.
- Salt according to taste and enjoy!
Plantain chips do not need a dip or sauce to make them great. However, if you want something to try, guacamole makes for a fantastic pairing with plantain chips.
Nothing deep-fried is exactly the standard of health. Plantain chips are a snack and therefore if eaten once in a while, should be perfectly fine. If you do have concerns, however, you can bake them for a healthier version.
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