Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stir Fried Plantains

"The English are obsessed with the weather" was a strong belief that I held, growing up on a diet of Enid Blyton, P.G Wodehouse and Jane Austen. Living in God's Own Country, I really couldn't appreciate this English obsession:   The landscape stayed a beautiful lush green throughout the year. The sun always shone ; even if for a brief period between cloud bursts during the monsoons.There were hot days and hotter days and the brief period between the Southwest and Northeast monsoons was extremely pleasant.
Let me just say that Oregonians are way more obsessed with the weather than the English. And yay! spring is here and to celebrate there has been all kinds of cooking.

Carrot pickles and Spiced Almonds that got eaten before getting photographed

and  stir fries

 I present the humble plantain -stir fired with Sambal Olek and red onions. It is good enough to eat straight from the pan or served with some boiled rice.
If you have ever cooked with plantains, you know what a pain it is to prep and peel. The plantain skin has a sticky oily residue and you have to oil your knife and hands before prepping. But if you steam the plantains with the skin; it is a snap to peel and you can also reduce the amount of oil you use.

Stir Fried Plantains
3 large plantains
1/2 red onion sliced
2- 3 tsp of oil
1/2 tsp cumin
a few curry leaves
1 tsp Sambal Olek
Water or stock to baste.
Salt to taste

Cut each platain into 2 or 3 pieces along with the peel and put it in a microwave safe bowl that has a lid. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and steam the plantains in the microwave until the skin of the plantains turn black.( this took me 10 mins) in my microwave. Cool until you can handle. 
Use a paring knife to peel the plantains.The peel should come off easily in one segment. 
Slice the plantains into rounds.

Heat the oil in a large work. Add the cumin and the curry leaves. When the cumin splutters add the red onions. Add a little salt and fry until the onions just start to brown. Add the sliced plantains and stir to coat with the onion and spices. Add the Sambal Olek and cover the wok with a lid and let the plantains cook for 5 minutes. Check the plantains. They should feel dry. Add a teaspoon or tow of water or stock and cook until it is absorbed. Check and repeat again if necessary and adjust the seasonings as you go. 
The stir fry is ready when the plantains are tender and don't feel dry. Top with green chilies and serve.


  1. looks amazing...where can i get sambal olek?

  2. Thanks Amitha. You get it at most Asian grocery stores. There are 2 varieties - one is just chillies and the other one is a chilli garlic mix