paleo en forma

Paleo en Forma Tutorial Series ( in english)

Welcome to Paleo en Forma tutorial series en inglés.

What? Its a mouth full.  As you know, I created Paleo en Forma in Español to expand and forward the paleo community and knowledge to our paleo enthusiasts who speak and enjoy español.  As you know, a lot of Paleo en Forma recipe´s enjoy a latin flavor because yours truly being latina, is the place to dig for foodspiration.

This brings me to celebrate and feature awesome paleo ingredients and condiments that are truly, latino.  And I want everyone, whether you speak English, Spanish or like me, Spanglish, to own and enjoy latin and caribean staples like our friends la yuca (casava, tapioca); el plátano; el coco (coconut); la arracacha (another awesome tuber from the highlands); exotic crazy fruits like guanábana and its cancer fighting properties; or guayaba full-packed with vitamin C.  There is a whole world of gluten, grain and junk free nature created foods that come from the Tropics and I hope that Paleo en Forma helps you navigate.

This week´s guest of honor is El Plátano or the Plantain (el, plah-tah-nou)

First things first: Meet the plátano tree


What can the plantain do for you? (nutrient density)

What I´m referring in this tutorial is the Plantain (not banana).  It can be eaten from bright green (less sugar lots of starch) to dark (I mean Dark Vedar dark) sweet amazing (less starch).  It is however, my plantain newbies, NOT TO BE EATEN RAW given its high content of starch it can be digested as such.

Our friend, the plantain, is a super hero in the nutrient density department.  First, its a high source of fiber so yey in the poopy department.  But the even better news is that plantain contains high levels of POTASSIUM which aids in eliminating sodium for optimal hearth pressure.  Its an amazing source of carbohydrates for those paleo crossfiters, yoga benders and boot camp devotees.  However your source of movement, consider plantain as an excellent source of post-work out carbohydrates because it doesn’t contribute to those sky high levels of sugar spike.  A cup of cook plantain contains more than half of the Vitamin A that women need daily. It also has niacine which is a nutrient that contributes to healthy skin.  Its rich in the B vitamin compound (B6, B12) and minerals like magnesium.  Have you heard how popular magnesium is? Also has iron and phosphorus.  All these nutrients aid in combating fatigue, tiredness and anemia. (Source: MamasLatinas)

Plantains (Musa species),
Nutritive Value per 100 g
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 122 Kcal 6%
Carbohydrates 31.89 g 24.5%
Protein 1.30 g 2%
Total Fat 0.37g 2%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 2.30 g 6%
Folates 22 µg 5.5%
Niacin 0.686 mg 4%
Pyridoxine 0.299 mg 23%
Riboflavin 0.054 mg 4%
Thiamin 0.052 mg 4%
Vitamin A 1127 IU 37.5%
Vitamin C 18.4 mg 31%
Vitamin E 0.14 mg 1%
Vitamin K 0.7 µg 1%
Sodium 4 mg <1%
Potassium 499 mg 10.6%
Calcium 3 mg <0.5%
Iron 0.60 mg 7.5%
Magnesium 37 mg 9%
Phosphorus 34 mg 5%
Zinc 0.14 mg 1%


I hope this information has convinced you and you are rushing to the store to get some green or which ever color you would like to try because the best news is that they are so inexpensive. I get a big bag from Costo of compatriot plantains (from Colombia, like me) for less than 3 bucks and its about 4 to 6 plantains.

Speaking of colors of plantains. Let me show you how they look like and then we can see what to do in each state of colorfulness.

The Green Plantain:



This is a great source of starch, doesn’t contain all the sugar of its darker counterpart.

To peel, using your favorite knife cut the tips and then make a vertical incision from top to bottom.


My mother used to tell me, never peel the plantain with a metal knife. It oxidizes quickly and of course I always listen to her.


For the actual peeling of the plantain here is what I do:

  • Cut the plantain into smaller chunks
  • Grab a bamboo knife (if you don’t have bamboo use wood, even plastic) and start taking the skin apart. Because it’s a small chuck, it will go faster. If you get proficient, just use your bamboo knife to peel the entire plantain.

You are 2 steps to making PATACONES and your live is about to change.

3) Once you have your chunks of peeled plantain, grab your favorite pan and use a high smoking oil (such as coconut oil as I always do) but lard or avocado oils will work.

4) Heat the oil in medium high. Good oils include coconut oil, avocado oil, lard. (High temperature oils). You can use enough oil that the patacones are half way in. But you dont need a fryer.

5) Place plantains chunks and fry them for 2-3 minutes each side. Sorry. Don’t go upstairs and forget about it because THEY WILL BURN.

6) Have paper towel, a dessert plate, a big plate and a cutting board. If available dust off your pataconera. Chances are you don’t know what a pataconera is (a wood-like device to smash the plantain). See picture. Don’t worry you don’t need another gadget.

IMG_4058 IMG_4059

7) Remove plantains from oil and place each chunk of fried plantain on a cutting board. Then, grab the small plate and with its base push against the plantain until its flat (firm but not super hard).

8) After you are done making the patacones, kindly transfer them to the oil again and fry them for 2 minutes each side until golden brown awesomeness is shown.

8) Let the patacones rest on a paper towel, sprinkle them with sea salt and enjoy them while hot.

IMG_1754 IMG_3965

Serve them with a fish dish and a luscious salad.  Eat them for breakfast, share them as an appetizer with salsa and impress everyone.

There you go, now you know what to do with green plantain:


What to do with ripe:

They go from yellow, to yellow with black dots, to dark as the night black. The darker the higher the content of sugar. Or to be perfectly honest, they all get better and better. I had the opportunity to travel to Central America, where I discovered (may I say its geniuos) that they enjoy fried plantain with heavy cream. Although not strictly paleo, if you tolerate dairy and you can get your hands raw, whole fat grassfed heavy cream, you will know what I mean.

Heres how to do ¨Tajadas de Maduro¨which transltates as slices of the plantain.

1) Heat oil (2 tablespoon of coconut, avocado or lard).  Note: I dont use a fryer just my cast iron with enough oil to cover the pan but is certainly not deep frying.

2) Cut ripe plantain

Cut skin in the same fashion as the green plantain.  Ripe plantain skin rips easier.  And then make the slices such as in this picture.


3) Fry with medium heat oil (no pushing the plantain, or re frying).  They cook very fast in just about 5 minutes so stay with them.


4) Once they are golden crisp is time for them to rest in a paper towel.


Serve with raw whole fat heavy cream if you tolerate dairy (like our Central American friends); ideal for a hearty breakfast with eggs and sausage.  Also pair very well with meats and even dessert if you sparkle cinnamon.

Other plantain recipes:

* Mofongo

* Plantain lasagna

*Ripe Plantain Pancakes


Hope this tutorial helped you include plantain into your diet and see you next time for another introduction of a tropical Caribean South american surprise. If you are curious about a veggie, tuber or fruit and want to suggest a tutorial contact me please.



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