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Virgil Evetts



I was recently reminded of the buzz caused on the Foodlovers Forums by the arrival of Plantains (starchy cooking bananas) in local fruit shops earlier this year. Whilst shaking my head and smirking my way through an isle of increasingly preposterous flavours of Walkers Crisps (to be fair, the Peking spare-ribs rendition was disturbingly accurate) in a branch of the lah-de-dah Waitrose supermarket chain in London, I happened upon a packet of Waitrose spicy plantain crisps. Naturally I had to try them.

Bloody glad I did too. They had a better crunch and far superior flavour to the usual potato equivalent and the chilli and lime flavouring was really very authentic. According to the ingredients list they are a relatively healthy snacking option, consisting of nothing more than thin slices of plantain (skin-on- yes I was surprised too) deep fried in sunflower oil until crisp and sprinkled with the apparently natural lime and chilli flavouring. Healthy as far as deep-fried, starchy foods go I guess.

There was some cock and bull story on the back of the pack about the crisps being made in small batches by a family of artisanal plantain fryers in the English countryside, which sounded a bit silly when you consider that all of the ingredients are imported, but marketing spin aside this is a high quality and more importantly highly delicious product.

Unfortunately- and don’t think I haven’t been looking- nothing like this is available in New Zealand yet, so you’ll have to subdue any salivation for the time being. I know, I’m such a tease.

But who needs off-the-shelf anyway?  It’s not like making chips requires a recipe or any great skill, now is it? Aren’t we all can-do cooking types in here?

My advice, if you really want to appreciate handsome green plantains at their best, is to follow the Waitrose example and get thee to the chip-pan. I will certainly be doing so when next I see them at my local fruiterers.

So based on the lethally lovely Waitrose rendition described above and extrapolated from common sense and potato chip cookery, here is my utterly untested recipe:

Plantain Chips

Preheat vegetable oil for deep-frying to about 170 Celsius

Slice the unpeeled plantains thinly, pat dry if necessary (to avoid spiting and frothing from the oil) and fry until golden and crisp.

Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt and chilli powder.

Plantain chips are very, very good with a glass of wine or whilst patiently waiting for your best beloved outside Habitat or any other shop you don’t really care to enter.



Please try this recipe and let me know how it works out. The same method could also be applied to parsnips, celeriac and beetroot. These are all very popular in crisp form in the UK at present








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