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History of Platano Maduro
Plátano maduro, a popular dish featuring fried or baked sweet plantains, holds a significant place in Caribbean cuisine. Despite its strong association with the Caribbean, its origins can be traced back to Southeast Asia. Historical records suggest that plantains were introduced to Europe by Alexander the Great during his military campaigns in 327 B.C. While the plantain itself is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia, it found its way to the Americas through the voyages of Portuguese and Spanish explorers during the Age of Exploration. The precise birthplace of plátano maduro can be pinpointed to the tropical regions of the Americas, encompassing Central and South America, as well as the islands of the Caribbean.
Places Where the Platano Rules
Plátano maduros, or sweet plantains, are a versatile and beloved ingredient used in various ways across different countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Here’s a breakdown of how they are commonly used in some of these regions:
In the Dominican Republic, sweet plantains are often used to make sliced and fried until they’re crispy and golden on the outside and tender on the inside.
Maduros: In Cuba, plátano maduros are commonly prepared by frying ripe plantains in oil until they are caramelized and sweet, making them a popular side dish.
Amarillos: Plátano maduros are often referred to as “amarillos” in Puerto Rico and are typically sliced and fried until they are sweet, soft, and caramelized. They are a common side dish and can also be served with rice and beans.
Tajadas: In Venezuela, plátano maduros are sliced lengthwise, fried until golden, and served as a side dish or even as a topping for various Venezuelan arepas.
Aborrajados: Plátano maduros are also used to make aborrajados, where the ripe plantains are stuffed with cheese, battered, and fried to create a sweet and savory treat.
Plátano maduros are a staple in the Caribbean and are often prepared as a side dish by frying ripe plantains until they caramelize and become sweet.
These are just a few examples of how plátano maduros are used in various Latin American and Caribbean countries. Their versatility makes them a beloved and essential component of many regional cuisines, offering a delightful mix of sweet and savory flavors in different culinary traditions.
In these regions, particularly in countries like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela, and many others, plátano maduro is a popular and cherished ingredient. It is often used in a variety of dishes, both sweet and savory. When plátanos maduros are ripe and turn a deep yellow to black color, they become sweet and are typically used in sweet preparations such as the recipe I provided earlier. However, they can also be used in savory dishes when they are green or partially ripe.
Platano Maduro Recipe (Step by Step)
Steps to Make Baked Platano Maduro
Step 1 - Pre Heating
Step 2 - Preparing the Plátanos
Prepare the Plátanos: Start by peeling the plátanos maduros. To do this, cut off both ends of the plantain and make a shallow slit along the length of the skin. This will help you easily peel off the skin. Once peeled, cut the plátanos into 1-inch thick diagonal slices.
Step 3 - The Butter
Coat with Honey Butter: In a bowl, mix the butter and honey together and whisk until mixed. Place the plátano slices in a large bowl, and drizzle the melted butter over them. Toss the slices gently to ensure they are evenly coated with butter.
Step 4 - The Spices
Add the Spices: Sprinkle the ground cinnamon, insert a nail of clove into the middle of each piece (make sure to remove clove before eating platano), sprinkle brown sugar, and a pinch of salt over the slices. Toss them again to evenly distribute the spices and sugar.
Step 4 - Grease the Dish
Grease the Baking Dish: Lightly grease a baking dish or a baking sheet with cooking spray or a small amount of melted butter to prevent the plátanos from sticking.
Step 5 - Placing the Plátanos
Arrange the Slices: Place the seasoned plátano slices in a single layer in the greased baking dish, making sure they aren’t too crowded to allow even baking.
Step 6 - Baking the Plátanos
Place your baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the plátanos are starting to tender. Be sure to flip the plátano slices over once halfway through the baking time to ensure even cooking. Bake for an additional 20 minutes until golden brown, and slightly caramelized.
Step 7 - Serving the Plátanos
Once the plátanos maduros are nicely browned and tender, remove them from the oven. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving. They should have a wonderful aroma of cinnamon and cloves
Enjoy. Serve your baked plátanos maduros as a delicious side dish or dessert. They can be enjoyed on their own or part of a snack board for an extra treat.
This recipe combines the natural sweetness of ripe plantains with the warmth of cinnamon and the aromatic flavor of cloves. It’s a delightful and easy-to-make dish that’s perfect for any occasion.