Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sri Lankan Plantain Curry- Mild

 Have you ever tried a green plantain?  They look like bananas... but I think they taste more like a potato.  In Sri Lanka we have a variety of plantain that is call Ash Plantains (alu kesel) and it's used to make this savory curry that is beyond delicious. Since we do not have access to Ash Plantains in the US, we can substitute the Green Plantains for the same curry.  I tried to make this dish a little healthier by baking the plantain in preparation for the curry rather than use the traditional fried in oil method.  My mother (a traditionalist) was helping me make this dish and she was eager to see if the baking method would work out.  Well, the good news is it worked out wonderfully and we were very pleased with the results...No more frying!  This mild curry works well with any rice and curry meal.

Ingredients to prep the plantains for cooking:
4-5 large green plantains
1 tsp of turmeric
juice of 1 lime
2-3 cups of water
1 tsp of salt
 Directions to prep the plantains for cooking:
First rinse your plantain skin.  Then take a small knife and score the the plantain while following the ridges around the plantain. You must score through the tough skin but not cut the plantain itself.  Then put your thumb inside and pry the skin off.  It may take a little practice, but it will become easier.  Then slice the plantains into 1/4 inch slices and place in a bowl with the water, lime juice, salt and turmeric.  Allow to sit in the water for 10-15 minutes and then drain the liquid out of the bowl. 

Raw Plantain
Baked Plantain
Heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Place plantains on a oiled baking sheet and pour a little more oil over the plantains to coat both sides.  Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Ingredients for preparing the curry:
Baked plantain
1 (15oz) can of coconut milk
1 medium onion chopped
2 green chilies sliced
1 tsp of fennugreek seeds
10-15 curry leaves (optional)
5-6 pandan leaves (rampe) optional
1/4 tsp of turmeric
2tsp of curry powder
salt to taste
1 (1 inch) cinnamon stick
1 cup of water

Directions for the curry:

In a large pan, add water and all the ingredients above accept for the baked plantains and the coconut milk.  Bring to a gentle simmer until the onions soften (about 5 minutes).
Next add your baked plantains and mix well with the onions and seasoning for a few minutes. Finally add your coconut milk.  Lower the heat to medium low and gently allow the plantains to cook in the gravy.  As the plantains cook it will absorb the gravy and become tender and flavorful.   Taste for seasoning.  Once all the gravy gets absorbed your dish is done. Serve with rice and curry and enjoy.

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