Today is the last day of Black History Month and I promised y’all another dish from either my American Southern (mom’s side) or Nigerian (dad’s side) heritage, so here is a simple Nigerian fried plantain recipe to follow up my Nigerian rice & stew recipe! I almost feel silly sharing this recipe because it’s so simple but have to keep in mind that I grew up eating it on the regular and have a father who is super passionate and particular about fried plantain or as it is called in Nigeria, dodo.
How to Serve Fried Plantain
I always get questions when I serve fried plantain in my home or share it on social media so sharing how to make fried plantain is a bit overdue. I think dodo was the first West African dish I learned to make (because it is VERY easy) and, although it’s a beloved staple in our culture, fried plantain is enjoyed in many Latin American and Caribbean countries as well. The golden brown goodness of dodo can be enjoyed with any meal and as a snack. My ideal plate is dodo, Nigerian jollof rice, a bit of red stew, and shrimp. But don’t limit yourself to enjoying fried plantain only with Nigerian cuisine. It goes well will many Asian, Caribbean, and South American flavors, as well! Try adding fried plantain to a power bowl like this one.
The only ingredients you’ll need to make dodo are plantain and frying oil (that is, an oil with a high smoke point) and you can either slice or cube the plantain before cooking. The smell and sight of frying plantain is one of life’s simple pleasures and it gets me every time. Not all dodo is created equal, though, and one bite of an overcooked or under-ripe batch will teach you that really quickly! The first step in making good dodo is picking good plantains. Check out a few tips below to help you find the best ones to work with.
How to Pick the Perfect Plantain
Do not, I repeat, do not under any circumstances, choose green plantain! I snapped this picture of the plantain at my local grocery store as I was picking this batch to help give y’all an idea. You want plantain that looks like the ones in the bottom left and dead center of the basket.
- First of all, do away with your thoughts about picking regular bananas because we’re looking for the opposite when picking plantain for frying.
- Look for plantain with skin that is browned and blackened. Don’t worry, it probably isn’t bruised.
- Touch the skin. It will get darker, tougher, and thinner the closer the plantain is ripeness.
- Pick up the plantain. It should feel a bit heavy for its size.
- Gently squeeze the plantain. If it gives way to mush, it’s too far gone.
- If you won’t be frying plantain right away, then it’s OK for it not to be in prime condition. Just let it sit on your counter for a few days until it’s ready.
The fresh plantain should be on its way to spoilage (but not spoiled) in order to get the best, sweetest flavor from your fried dodo. The instructions for making fried plantain are super simple and can be found after the jump below.
Food is such a beautifully unifying point in every culture and growing up with two distinct, yet intertwined cultures has been such a gift. I’m grateful to have such a unique perspective. The “Black experience” is inimitable and differs from person to person but there are some authors who I feel capture parts of it so wonderfully. So, to wrap up this post, I’m adding a little mind food with a few of my favorite books by Black authors!
Have you read any of these or do you have suggestions of books I should add to my list? Let me know in the comments below. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin this recipe on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
Ripe plantain fried until golden brown is a West African and Caribbean staple
- 4 plantain very ripe
- vegetable oil or another oil with a high smoke point
Fill a pan or skillet about 2 inches deep with oil and heat over medium-high flame for about 5 minutes. The oil will start "moving" when it's ready.
Meanwhile, skin and cut plantain into slices about 1-inch thick. (I slice mine on a bias cut.) Add a sheet of newspaper or paper towel to a plate to help drain oil from finished product and set aside.
Add plantain slices to hot oil to cook. Depending on your pan size, you'll likely have to cook in batches to avoid crowding the pan (which would slow down the cooking time).
Allow the slices to cook for about 5 minutes then flip. The bottoms of each slice should be golden brown, if not, flip back and cook a bit longer. Repeat on the opposite side then remove dodo from oil and place onto paper towel-lined plate.
Repeat with remaining slices until finished. Enjoy!