Who doesn't love french fries (or maybe you call them chips)? We all know they're a tasty treat, but are high in fat and cholesterol. I recently found a much healthier alternative that taste awesome. Yellow plantains instead of the traditional potato. Baked instead of fried. They hold their shape very well and have a fantastic, starchy, sweet flavour. They get a little crispy on the outside and have a contrasting, soft, chewy texture in the center. Not to mention, they're oh so dippable!
Yellow plantains are perfect for this recipe. A few black spots are ok, but you don't `want to use plantains that are too ripe or else they will be too soft. Avoid green plantains as well as they won't taste as good for this preparation. Plantains are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. This recipe uses only a bit of oil so you're skipping a lot of the fat and extra calories. Olive oil is used too which is a good type of fat. If you like, you can use coconut oil instead.
I quite like baked vegetable alternatives to chips. I've tried carrot, zucchini, asparagus and others. They're all tasty but this one works particularly well and looks the most like actual fries. They even sound like fries when you scoop them up off the pan (you'll see what i mean). These are super easy to make and are definitely worth a try the next time you're in the mood to make fries at home, but don't want to indulge on all the trans fats and cholesterol. In this recipe you can use any spice blend you like, but I will show you the blend that I used that works really well.
2-3 yellow plantains
2 tsp olive oil (total)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika (personally, I prefer smoked)
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 F/205 C.
The first step is to prepare the plantains. They should be yellow or mostly yellow. It should feel overall firm but have a slight give when applied with gentle pressure. They should not be soft.
Using a knife, cut the ends of each plantain off and discard them.
Use the knife to cut along the plantains lengthwise, only cutting the peel and avoiding the fruit. Then peel from the line you cut.
Now that your plantains are trimmed and peeled, cut each one in half.
For each plantain halve, cut into three equal (as possible) pieces lengthwise.
Then take each third and cut into three lengthwise again until you have fry shapes. Try your best to keep your fries relatively the same size so they cook evenly.
Place your plantain fries in a large bowl with 1 tsp of olive oil and 1/4 tsp of salt (the salt content is really to your taste. If you are using the same spice blend from this recipe, please keep in mind that Old Bay seasoning already contains some salt as well). Toss to combine.
Then toss again in the spices.
Place in the middle of your preheated oven and cook for 10 minutes. Then remove and turn each fry over. Then place back in the oven and cook for another 10 minutes. Check how the fries look. If they don't like quite crispy enough, let them bake for up to another 5 minutes or so but keep an eye on them. Please keep in mind they won't get as crispy as normal potato fries but they should appear visibly different than from before you cooked them.
Let them cool for a couple of minutes and then dig in! They are so good, I can't wait to try them again. How simple is that too? Similar to french fries they have a distinctly contrasting crispy outside and a soft, chewy texture in the middle. They don't taste just like french fries but they're a great alternative and still have that "more-ish" quality (where you just want to keep eating more of them).
They're not floppy at all. They hold their shape just like regular french fries. They are perfect for dipping. Pair them with your favourite dipping sauce. Personally, I'm one of the few people on this earth who doesn't like ketchup. Although if you are a fan of ketchup I'm sure it will go great with these. For my sauce I made a mixture of spicy mayo, sour cream and hot sauce. It was great and played off the spice of the fries very well. These would pair great with gravy, chutney, BBQ sauce, tartar sauce, yogurt, mustard, anything your wee heart desires!
I hope you enjoyed this recipe and that it has left you inspired. Simply put, if you like plantains you will love this recipe. If you like french fries, you will probably love this recipe too. They make a great snack or side dish. Visually, they look enough like french fries that you want to eat them all and feel about it, but they are actually quite healthy for you. So you can enjoy them and skip the guilt!
Leave me your comments or questions below. If you try this recipe, please take a photo, post it to your Instagram and tag me @foodbybram. I would love to see!
Thanks and until next time,