Pan fried overripe plantain is called dodo in Nigeria and a truly global recipe enjoyed in many cultures around the world. Originally published February 2017. Last updated February 2023.
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. Easily pick and fry the best dodo with my tips!
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What does it taste like?
Nigerian dodo is sweet and fruity in flavor. Texture-wise, it is dense with a soft inside that almost melts in your mouth and a firm (but not crunchy) fried exterior. Plantain is somewhere between maduros and tostones, both of which I've enjoyed in my Caribbean travels. Dodo can also take on the flavor of whatever oil you fry it in. More on that below.
What You'll Need for this Recipe
The ingredient list for fried sweet plantains is short and simple. Here's what to add to your grocery cart.
- Very Ripe Plantain - Look for plantain that is overripe. Check out my tips for picking the right fruit below.
- Oil - What kind of oil to use for frying plantain? Vegetable oil or canola oil are very commonly used. You'll want to use an oil with a mild flavor and high smoke point.
Can plantain be fried in palm oil? Absolutely. Palm oil is indigenous to Africa and has a high smoke point. It does have an earthy, slightly fruity flavor so keep this in mind if you are not familiar with palm oil.
Preparing Plantain for Frying Nigerian Style
How to cut the plantain? you can either half, slice, or cube the plantain before cooking. I prefer to slice at an angle with each slice being no more than one inch thick. No matter how you slice it, the smell and sight of frying plantain is one of life's simple pleasures and it gets me every time.
Tips & Tools for this Recipe
Grab a sharp knife and a cutting board to prep the plantain. You'll also need a sturdy frying pan. I typically use a cast iron skillet for frying plantain at home. I recommend using a slotted spoon to remove the dodo from the pan once cooked.
Should I soak plantain before the fry? This is not necessary but totally up to personal preference. Some cooks like to soak the plantain to reduce the starchiness. I find that the extra step is not necessary.
How long to fry plantain for dodo? How to know when fried plantains are done partially depends on your preference. Look for golden brown color. Nigerian fried plantain slices are not fried for stiff crispiness.
Fry your plantain in batches for consistent texture and to manage the cooking time. Crowding the pan with too many plantain slices why lower the temperature of the oil too much and extend the cooking time.
How to store extra dodo? Dodo can be left at room temperature until serving and should be refrigerated afterward in an airtight container. It will keep for up to five days this way.
Serving Fried Plantain
The golden brown goodness of dodo can be enjoyed with any meal and as a snack. It's perfect with ewa riro!
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.
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 Ripe Plantains for Frying
How do I know when plantains are sweet? Do not, I repeat, do not under any circumstances, choose plantain that is still green! I snapped this picture of the plantain at my local grocery store to help give you an idea of what overripe plantain looks like. 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 and hold it. It should feel a bit heavy for its size.
- Gently squeeze the plantain. It should be soft but 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 (also called cooking bananas) should be on its way to spoilage but not spoiled for get the best, sweetest flavor from your fried dodo. The instructions for making fried plantain into Nigerian dodo are super simple and can be found after the jump below.
More Nigerian Recipes
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. Sharing is caring so be sure to pin this dodo recipe on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
How to Fry Nigerian Sweet Plantain
Dodo (Fried Plantain)
- 4 very ripe plantains
- 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 use a slotted spoon to remove dodo from oil and place onto paper towel-lined plate.
- Repeat with remaining slices until finished. Enjoy!