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 one 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 dodo, also known as fried plantain.
Also, I always get questions when I serve it in my home or share it on social media so here’s the how-to. I think dodo was the first West African dish I learned to make and, although it’s a beloved staple in our culture, fried plantain is enjoyed in many Latin American and Caribbean countries as well. The only required ingredients are plantain and frying oil and you can slice it or cube it.
The smell and sight of frying plantain is one of life’s simple pleasures and it gets me every time. The golden brown goodness of dodo can be enjoyed with any meal and as a snack.
Not all dodo is created equal, though, and one bite of an overcooked or underripe batch will teach you that really quickly! The first step in making good dodo is picking your 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! Look for plantain with skin that looks kind of…gross. I can’t think of a better way to put it. The plantain should be on its way to spoilage (but not spoiled) in order to get the best flavor from your finished product. 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. The instructions 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. 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 for about 5 minutes or so. The oil will start "moving" when it's ready.
Meanwhile, skin and cut plantain into slices about 1-inch thick. I slice mine diagonally. Add a sheet of newspaper or paper towel to a plate to help drain oil from finished product.
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 from oil and place onto paper towel-lined plate.
Repeat with remaining slices until finished. Enjoy!