Until I started dating Lu, I never really gave plantains much thought. One of the few times I’ve ever seen him use our stovetop (and when I mean few, I mean 2-3 in total), it was to boil plantains for breakfast.
What kind of girlfriend who I be if I didn’t try to spiralize a plantain for my Caribbean-born man? Well, it’s possible and the plantain works famously as rice. Hence, today’s plantain rice and beans.
Actually, I made a sofrito with lightly fried plantains over the summer and man, were they outrageously tasty. But, never did I make a recipe for spiralized plantain.
In the banana family, plantains are higher in starch and lower in sugar than bananas. When plantains are fully ripe (yellow like a banana), they’re sweet. When they’re unripe (green), they’re used for savory cooking.
Since they’re so starchy, they’re sticky when they come out of the spiralizer. Unfortunately, they’ll fall apart if you boil them. They’re truly mind-blowing as plantain shoestring fries (fried or baked).
But, since bikini bodies are made in the winter, we’re laying off the frying and opting for Inspiralized rice. By spiralizing the plantain and placing its noodles in a food processor, we get fluffy and sticky rice that has the savoriness of plantains.
For my first dish with plantain rice, I figured I’d keep it simple and do a tomato rice and beans, simmered with chicken broth. This way, the plantain taste really shines through.
It’s very important to choose your plantains for spiralizing wisely. Most plantains are curved and not straight. However, if you search the basket of plantains at your local market, hopefully you can find some straighter ones. Pick the straightest you can find.
If they’re all curvy, don’t stress. When you prepare it to spiralized, you may just have to readjust it on the spiralizer as you go (to realign it so that it doesn’t wobble).
How to Spiralize a Plantain
Start with a thick and straight plantain (as straight as you can find).
Slice the ends off of the plantain.
Slice the plantain down the middle, lengthwise.
Chop the plantain in half.
Peel the plantain open, carefully. Remove all of the outer skin.
Load the plantain halves into the spiralizer.
One plantain yields about 1.5 cups of spiralized noodles.
Now, to make the rice, we have one last step:
Place the noodles into a food processor and pulse until made into rice-like bits.
Wow, that was easy. And look, we got a large cup of fluffy plantain rice.
Gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, and fun to cook with. However, beware if you’re sticking to a low-carb diet or are diabetic, plantains are very high in carbohydrates. Just portion control.
How do we cook the rice? Well, the plantains are very starchy, so the consistency is a bit stickier (kind of like sticky rice!) By cooking it with some chicken broth, we get an infusion of savory chicken flavor which also helps soften the plantains and cook them.
The rice is cooked with black beans, some Spanish spices and crushed tomatoes. Simple, delectable and easy to save for leftovers. Take a smaller portion and serve it alongside some carnitas or some blackened cod or tilapia and you’ve got yourself an exotic meal without the exotic prices or foreign cooking techniques.
Poor Lu, he would’ve loved this one. However, I’m already brainstorming other plantain rice options: meatballs, rice cakes, sushi and rice balls. Can’t wait!
Do you like plantains?