aboutWe are Akila and Patrick. Our minds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
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oven-baked amarillos

Oven-baked amarillos

At home, I do not question my choice to be vegetarian.  Because I grew up on a fare of vegetarian South Indian cuisine, I have never craved meat.  On road trips, while other children chowed down on McDonalds Happy Meals, we ate the picnic lunches of idli and pilaf that my grandmother packed for us.  I used to regret the lack of variety in my meals, but now find vegetarianism to be gastronomically, physically, and spiritually satisfying.

Ripe plaintains

When we travel, it can be a different story.  In Puerto Rico, seemingly, no meal was complete without a slab of thick meat.  Chunks of pork rind floated in the pots of black beans, and rice served only as a bed for stewed chicken.  I watched Patrick feast on seafood and lechon asado (barbecued pork) while I munched on wilted green salads, rice and beans, and plantains. 

Cut plaintains

Thank goodness for that ubiquitous plantain.  In Puerto Rico, they are served in some form with almost every meal and demand is so high that they are imported from the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. The Puerto Ricans make good use of the fruit: we ate tostones, fried smashed semi-ripe plantains; mofongo, meat or cheese-stuffed mashed plantain cakes; plantain chips dried in the hot sun; and our favorite, amarillos. 

Oven-baked amarillos

Amarillos, known as platanos maduros in other Central American countries, are simply ripe plantain slices dropped into hot oil or butter.  Once fried, the crust becomes dark and crispy and the interior flesh reminds me of honey-glazed bananas.  But, while the traditional amarillo brings out the best in the plantain, the high fat content doesn't bring out the best in our bodies.  By roasting the plantain slices in the oven, this recipe almost mimics the traditional amarillo but with little of the fat.

Oven Baked Amarillos

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4 people

Ingredients

2 ripe plantains (They should be soft to the touch, dark yellow-brown, with many black spots like the pictures above.)

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar (optional)

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Peel the plantains.  They should be peachy-yellow, fleshy yet soft to the touch, and smell sweeter than a regular banana.

3.  Slice plantains diagonally into thick slices.

4.  Brush plantains with oil and, if you would like, with the honey or agave nectar.  (I use honey or agave nectar if the plantain doesn't smell very sweet.)

5.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Flip plantains onto other side and bake for another 10 minutes. 

6.  The plantains should be golden and the edges should be crispy and dark.  If they are not quite golden brown yet, bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

09/05/2009 23:05
Oh I remember the delicious plantains in Puerto Rico. If I could cook, which tragically I can not, I would be all over this.
Stephanie's recent blog post: By: Stephanie
09/06/2009 19:47
Like Anil, I read "Oven Baked Armadillos" as well.

I personally love plantains. I usually fry them in a shallow pan with some vegetable oil. I'm going to try your recommendation next time as I'm sure baking them is a lot healthier.
09/08/2009 13:14
In a high school writing competition, the kid who won wrote an essay titled "How to Grill Road Kill Armadillo." I definitely did not write that entry but your comments reminded me of that essay.

Stephanie, you can make this --- I promise. It is just as easy as making a grilled cheese sandwich. :)
09/10/2009 10:05
At home growing up plantains were a regular snack, almost all the the time cut into pieces with the skin on and taosted steamed on flat iron griddle. My daughter seems to enjoy them too. will try it baked and see if it tates the same as toasted on the griddle.
B's recent blog post: The School season
09/11/2009 10:11
B, If you try it oven-baked, I would love to hear how the two approaches compare. :)
09/11/2009 16:57
I made these for supper the other night alongside Caribbean grilled pork chops. A smash hit for myself and my boyfriend. He even stopped at the store after work to buy more plantains. Thanks!

Cheers,

*Heather*
heather's recent blog post: keeping my word
09/14/2009 10:25
Heather, I'm glad these worked so well for you! It sounds like a fantastic meal.
Akila's recent blog post: hawaii: the low-down
09/16/2009 11:32
these sound delicious. THANK YOU!
09/16/2009 17:14
I'm always looking for good plantain recipes - thanks!
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09/17/2009 18:49
Thanks Jessie and Lauren! I hope you enjoy them. :)
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09/18/2009 09:50
I'm impressed with your ability to stick to being vegetarian in the most demanding of circumstances!

Glad you're not grilling up armadillo - seems tough to eat.
09/22/2009 07:48
Never knew what amarillos were. Good to learn something new!
04/08/2010 05:39
Hi, Akila, I'm missing Puerto Rico and taking a "cheap trip back" by reading this post... Thank you!
07/09/2010 05:02
this recipe has a local version in some Asian countries. The only difference is that they coated the banana with a brown sugar and fry it in the pan in a medium fire. When it turns brown, it is ready to serve. thanks for the post!
10/04/2010 06:52
We love plantains at LuciteTreasures.com will have to try them baked.
01/06/2011 15:15
This is very delicious and healthy sharing.
I never thought that I can cook bananas in that way, I think I better try it!
08/12/2011 08:56
this sounds really yummy. my gramma makes them the old fashioned way, fried and unhealthy. yours are prolly just as good. i love puerto rican food.
08/13/2011 08:40
Thanks Mack! These are great - and much healthier than the traditional method.
Akila's recent blog post: weekly photo: penguins at boulders
08/17/2011 02:32
Looks delicious, I would like to make my own version of this. Thanks for this one.
rhod @ glass doors's recent blog post: The Bay Areas Largest Showroom
09/21/2011 12:18
At first I read this as oven-baked armadillos, which made the first line of the post take on a different meaning until I read it correctly.

I find when not eating meat my choices of food are more efficient - in the sense that what I eat tends to pack a better nutritional punch.
03/11/2012 16:52
these sound delicious. THANK YOU! The only difference is that they coated the banana with a brown sugar and fry it in the pan in a medium fire. When it turns brown, it is ready to serve.
09/15/2014 21:17
Anna Johnson
Thank you for sharing such a good recipe. I just sometimes throw rotten banana, because I think they're useless. But you prove me wrong. I'll make this recipe, once I have bananas.

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