Stuffed Plantain Boats
By La Salsa Inglesa
One thing I noticed cooking in Guatemala is that people tend to freak out if you stray from the accepted way of preparing ingredients or dishes. For example, a friend shouted at me for trying to boil rice (rather than frying it first) and I was told when attempting to add slices of avocado to a salad that avocado is for guacamole, punto. Therefore this month’s recipe featuring plantain, a staple food in Guatemala, feels slightly risqué because of its divergence from lo tradicional. It does however use ingredients that are easily sourced in the markets of Xela and offers a break from the usual comida típica.
Omit the cheese to make it a vegan recipe (it’s gluten-free) and if you’re not won over by the versatility and sweetness of plantains make the filling and serve with baked potatoes or pasta.
Serves 6. Approximately 1-hour cooking and preparation time.
- Oil (olive oil if you have it)
- 6 ripe plantains
For the filling
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 2 large eggplants, chopped
- 1 zucchini, sliced
- 6 tomatoes, chopped
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- Chili flakes (optional)
- 1Q parsley, finely chopped
- ½ libra cheese for the topping (preferably cheddar but whatever you can find)
Preheat the oven 350ºF [175 ºC]
Top and tail the plantains and boil in their skins until cooked and soft inside. Remove from the water and cool a little before taking off their skins and slice lengthways. Open up to create a canoe-shaped boat and place on a greased baking tray
In a large frying pan or pot heat two tablespoons of oil and begin to fry the onion. Once soft add the chopped pepper, garlic, chili and eggplant, fry for about 5 minutes before adding the zucchini and the tomatoes and stir. Cover the pan and cook for approximately 30 minutes stirring occasionally until the vegetables are cooked and soft and the liquid has evaporated
Season with salt and pepper, a few chilli flakes if you like a little heat, the oregano and half the parsley
Fill the plantain boats with the topping and grate cheese over the top. Put the tray of stuffed boats in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes until the cheese is golden brown
Serve warm with the remaining chopped parsley sprinkled on top to garnish.
My Latin American food blog can be found at www.lasalsainglesa.com. AMA’s Alternatives Boutique sells homemade salsas, peanut butter and jams as well as beautiful textiles: 5a avenida 6-17 Zona 1