5 Plantain Dishes From Around the World

For the common eater in the United States, plantains can sometimes be nothing more than big, green bananas. Throughout much of the world however, plantains are an enduringly popular staple food. Integral to the diets of many Latin American, African, and Oceanian countries, there are more than 37 million tons of plantains consumed annually! With all that product, you can bet there are some fantastic dishes that utilize the underrated fruit.

Mofongo

An extremely popular dish throughout Puerto Rico, mofongo is a great option if you want to spotlight the versatility of plantains. This dish fries pickled plantains and then mashes them into a ball before soaking in condiments and fried meat. Due to the starchiness of the fruit, mofongo offers concentrated bits of flavor per bite. To keep it traditional, we’d recommend incorporating chicharrones (fried pork rinds) into your mofongo. 

Tostones

Literally derived from the Spanish word meaning “to toast”, tostones are a common snack food throughout Central and South America. In contrast with American plantain chips, tostones are fried twice, making them extra crispy. Like other plantain chips, tostones are open to a variety of seasonings and dipping sauces, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box!

Alcapurria

Another Puerto Rican favorite, alcapurria is a classic street food. Essentially a fritter stuffed with your choice of meat, there are a lot of different variations of alcapurria. Unlike other dishes, alcapurria uses plantains to make the masa (dough) that surrounds the meat. For best results, try sticking with fillings that are based in Puerto Rican and Latin American cuisines. 

Nagasari

This dish is so popular in Indonesia that you can order “kue pisang” (literally, banana cake) and you’ll most likely end up with this specific dish. Nagasari includes other tropical ingredients like coconut milk and palm sugar into standard recipes, but we find the inclusion of banana leaves the most interesting; they’re used to wrap the cake before steaming to limit waste and add a unique aroma!

  • Pro Tip: Use standard rice flour, not glutinous rice flour, to get the proper texture in the cake. 

Mangú

Essentially the Dominican version of mofongo, mangú can be traced back to the powerfully popular African dish fufu. In this case, plantains are boiled and mashed, then topped with breakfast items like eggs, cheese, and avocado. Interestingly enough, both starchy green plantains and their sweeter overripe cousins are commonly used when preparing this dish.