For My Love of Plantains... - Funke Koleosho's New Nigerian Cuisine

For My Love of Plantains...

Funke Koleosho's Plantains, Spinach & King Prawns in Melon Seed Sauce
Next to yams, plantains come second as the main staple source of food for Nigerians. I have written a couple of detailed posts on these two food ingredients, highlighting some of their nutritional benefits.

I love both ingredients and tend to continuously experiment with ways of cooking and serving them in a nutritionally balance manner.

I love plantains in particular.... I do not tire of eating them! They are really easy to prep and simple to cook, either boiling, roasting, grilling, baking, etc. Read more about plantains here.

Of all the ways you can enjoy these fruits (yes they are actually fruits not vegetables), I prefer frying them the most. I know some people may have concerns about fried foods, yes I do share such concerns. From my experience, frying appears to give the most moist and succulent result. Fried plantains also have more flavour imparted from the fat it is fried in,,,,my opinion. The other methods tend to dry out the plantain.

Plantain, Spinach & King Prawn in Melon Seed Sauce combo

Plantain is mainly starch (complex carbohydrates, excellent source of slow release energy), I knowww......, so cooking it in fat may appear to raise the calorific count for the resulting dish. Not a good idea if you are watching your weight right?......

Anyway, I do not let all these "worries" affect the way I eat my fried plantain, I just apply a bit of care/logic to cooking and eating them:
  • I vary frequency of including plantains in my diet. (In a week, I might eat them twice or so. If I have to eat them more than twice, then I would consider eating them boiled or baked).
  • To prepare them fried, I use really healthy fats such as coconut oil, avocado oil or red palm oil (yes you read that right).
  • I tend to opt for shallow frying rather than deep frying. 
  • I always drain off excess oil using a kitchen towel before serving.
  • I watch my oil usage in the other dishes am serving my fried plantains with so that the overall oil content in my meal is not unnecessarily higher than should be....
  • I watch my portions! 
Today's post is simple and so satisfying. Try it out...

Plantain, Spinach & King Prawns in Melon Seed Sauce Platter

What you need
  • Fresh ripe plantains
  • Pre-made red pepper base sauce (get recipe here)
  • King prawns
  • Broad leaf spinach
  • Some ground melon seed / egusi
  • Some stock powder
  • Finely chopped onions
  • Finely chopped red peppers

What to do
To make the plantain
  1. peel the skin off and slice along the length and cut into 4 pieces. 
  2. Shallow fry (preferably using a griddle) for about 1 minutes. 
  3. Remove them and place on kitchen towel to remove excess fat.

To make the spinach
  1. pick the tender leaves wash and blanch in some hot salted water for about 2 minutes. 
  2. Then heat up some oil in a sauce pan, and add some finely diced onions and red peppers. 
  3. Allow to sizzle till veggies soften then add some pre-made red pepper base sauce (get recipe here) and stir in. 
  4. Allow to cook through, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

To make the melon seed sauce
  1. Add some stock powder to the ground melon seeds and mix well. Also add some water to make a thick paste. 
  2. Then heat up some oil in a sauce pan and add some finely chopped red peppers and onions. 
  3. Allow the veggies to soften then scope small dollops of the melon seed paste into the pan. Allow this to sauté for about 3 minutes and turn the dollops over to allow even cooking. 
  4. Then add some pre-made red pepper base sauce (get recipe here) and stir well. 
  5. Add the cleaned, de-veined kind prawns, add a splash of water to allow the prawns to cook through. Taste for salt. Simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy. 
As an alternative, serve the plantain with your efo riro or efo elegusi (get recipe here)  if you prefer.

Plantain, Spinach & King Prawns in Melon Seed Sauce