Plantains are one of my favorite comfort foods, likely due to my Cuban and Colombian heritage. I like them both eat them both unripe and ripe. My favorite way to use them while cooking is to either add them to my chicken soup or fry them and then douse them with tons of salt and lemony ojo (garlic sauce).
I recently found a new use for them at my last Shabbat dinner. This recipe is inspired by an colleague of mine (originally from Mali) who was kind enough to provide me with a half dozen perfectly ripe plantains the day before my Shabbat dinner. I pondered what to do with them, not really in the mood to fry them and also lacking a soup that I could put them in.
I googled lots of different recipes, initially thinking to make a sweet mofongo but worried that many would be confused or grossed out by it. Finally on my way home from work in an Uber pool, inspiration struck. I was talking to my Uber driver, a trained chef of African descent, about my Shabbat dinner and told him I was stuck on what to do with the sweet plantains. I mentioned that I was interested in making a dish inspired by the Jewish communities of Somalia and Sudan. He suggested making plantain bread which is a very traditional African dish, that was likely eaten by these communities.
I made it the day of the Shabbat dinner, rushed for time and not hoping for much besides a hopefully edible bread. What came out was amazing and far surpassed my expectations. I served it as an appetizer because although it’s a bit sweet, it also has a very hearty flavor to it, that pairs well with strong dips especially my Persian style babaganoush and Morrocan tomato salad. You can also serve it for dessert but may want to increase your sweetener or glaze it.
- 1 cup mashed ripe plantain (3-4 plantains)
- 1/2 cup of canola oil
- 2 cups of white flour (you can also use almond flour)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar (add more if you prefer a sweeter bread)
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of allspice
- 1 teaspoon of finely crushed cardamom seeds
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons of silan/date syrup (substitute molasses or honey)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of golden raisins (optional)
- 1/4 cup of walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375
- In a large mixing bowl combine all of the wet ingredients (leave out flour, sugar, baking soda/powder and salt.
- Once thoroughly mixed add the dry ingredients to the mixture and mix very well.
- Grease a small rectangular pan very well and pour the mixture inside ensuring you have at least an inch in space between the batter and the pan.
- Bake uncovered for 35 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out fairly clean.
- Let cool for 30 minutes, you can serve cold or at room temperature.