Over the past few weeks at school, I have been working with a 4th grade class once a week to provide an opportunity to experience some aspects of culture in Spanish-speaking countries. I pick one of the lesser discussed countries and introduce it by talking about its geography and showing a video. Then, I share an interesting cultural aspect of the country. Finally, I compile a short list of recipes of commonly eaten dishes and foods that the students can make at home. They volunteer to make different foods, and we all get to sample a taste of that country. Then they get a stamp in their “passports.”
The first country that we “visited” was Colombia. The kids were so impressed by how beautiful the landscape in Colombia is. We talked about the Biblioburro — a Colombian teacher who goes to rural villages on his burro with a library of books helping kids with their homework and teaching them reading skills. It gave my students an appreciation of the country’s culture and some of the difficulties that people living there have to overcome. Finally, I shared some Colombian recipes with them from this blog, and I was so impressed with their participation. They made tajadas de plátano, cocadas blancas, cocadas de arequipe, almojábanas, pan de banano y naranja, and jugo de papaya y mango. They absolutely loved it, and I had a lot of fun too since I got to combine my love of cooking and Spanish.
The tajadas de plátano got me thinking about making my own plantain chips which I decided to make this weekend for a Friday night snack. I think these might be my new favorite thing to munch on. They are crispy with a slight hint of salt, and I love anything with a flavor that transports me to the tropics.
Plantains are high in Vitamin A, ( supports immune function and reduces inflammation which slows down aging), Vitamin C, (boosts the immune system and synthesizes collagen), potassium (enhances muscles strength and metabolism), and Vitamin B6 (maintains a healthy nervous system and balances blood sugar levels).
Plantains are also very high in fiber which aids digestion and makes you feel full longer.
In order to make plantain chips, you want to buy green plantains. They should have a very firm outer skin and when peeled will feel much like a potato — somewhat starchy. In order to peel a plantain, cut off the ends. Using a sharp knife, make a slit down each of the ridges of the plantain. Pull back a corner of the skin using your knife, and peel the hard green skin all the way off.
These plantain chips make for a delicious and healthy snack that will curb your afternoon hunger cravings.
Plátanos machos horneados
Click here for printable recipe.
Plantain Chips – Makes 1-2 servings
1 green plantain
1 TBSP avocado or coconut oil* (these are healthy oils that have a high heat point and won’t break down at the high oven temperature)
1/8 tsp pink Himalayan salt*
→Preheat oven to 400°F.
→Wash and peel plantain. In order to remove the tough green skin, cut off both ends. Then using a sharp knife, make slits down each ridge of the plantain.
→Use your knife to help you begin to peel back the skin at the top of the plantain. Then, gently remove the entire strip with your fingers. Continue removing the strips until you have peeled the entire plantain.
→Cut the plantain into very thin slices. The slices should be no bigger than the width of your knife. This will help them crisp up in the oven.
→Place the thinly sliced plantains in a bowl and add avocado oil and salt.
→Place a piece of plastic wrap tightly over the bowl and gently toss to completely cover the chips with oil and salt.
→Spread the chips evenly on an ungreased baking sheet. (Don’t use parchment either!)* It is necessary to make sure that the chips are not sticking to one another. Otherwise they won’t crisp up.
→Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven. Use a metal spatula to toss them so that they cook evenly. Put back in the oven and bake for 10 more minutes. Remove and toss again. Place in the oven one more time for 5-10 minutes to ensure that they are crisp but not burnt. [Baking times may vary greatly depending on the thickness of your plantains. You will have to check them every 5-10 minutes for crispness.]
→Remove from oven and enjoy. These can be eaten warm or you can store them in a brown paper bag at room temperature to maintain crispness and remove any additional surface oil.
- I like avocado oil a little better in this recipe. You can still taste the coconut oil afterwards. But, if you like that tropical flavor, give the coconut oil a try.
- I buy Himalayan pink salt because it doesn’t contain any anti-caking agents. A great place to find this salt is at TJ Maxx.
- I love baking with parchment paper because it makes cleanup so easy. However, do not use parchment for this recipe because the plantain just doesn’t crisp up the same way. No worries, though. Cleanup is still very easy without the parchment.