One thing you should know is that there are ‘unspoken rules’ for cuts depending on what you’re having, in Nigerian cuisine. So I did you the good deed of sharing them.
Because in the coming days, you’ll read all about plantain and love for it and how and what not. This is to equip you.
First of all, there are many cuts, a few are more common than others – they are the popular jingos of the dodo world. Actually, these are the acceptable cuts for dodo: diced, fried, rounds and slant. The others – below the line – are really just fried plantain.
So like I said, amongst the popular – really, they be three – the fries – bottom left – is a newish cut but we won’t stress much.
If you’re eating plantain on its own, then cut on the slant/ diagonal. Here, it’s queen with stew and meat. And for white rice.
Round too exists. I like it as a snack, sitting on the couch. Or with beans.
For Jollof, it should be diced. It should ALWAYS be diced. ALWAYS. BECAUSE I SAY SO!!!!!
Occasionally,, I’ll permit you serving it round with Jollof.
Cutting plantain, especially on the slant and round requires skill – a knowledge of Mathematics, aspect ratios, physics, and more because the best plantain is of a certain thickness, cooked a certain way, in a certain temperature of hot oil. Look, you are either born with it or you learn it….which one is it going to be?
I know we speak of personal preference but please plantain rules obey nobody!
Cut too thick or too thin and you’ll upset the balance – the perfect harmony of colour, taste, texture goes out the door. Too thick for instance and you end up with raw centres or oil soaked ones when the outer covering is golden because it’s tricky to align temperatures and thickness when its off the dodo scale. And if you think I’m talking nonsense, well that’s your own. Too thin and you have crunchy chips which isn’t what we want. We want dodo, and dodo we want.
Still on dodo. And perfection. There is a perfect thickness, about half a centimetre – and slant – the length should be 2.5 – 3 times the width for a slice of plantain.
— Kitchenbutterfly (@Kitchnbutterfly) April 24, 2018
To dice? Cut each plantain in 4 lengthways, and then in 1 – 1.5 cm pieces across. Some people are able to cradle the plantain and cut it by hand while others need a chopping board. Sigh. We complain not. It is well.
Seasoning? Salt. Only. Well, okay, maybe yaji if you want to do a New Nigerian Kitchen thing. I won’t be angry.
Dodo stops here. Fried plantain may continue but dodo? This is my end. But because I’m gracious, let’s talk fried plantain a bit more.
Like the plantain I had, cut in half and served with chapati and curry in Kigali – they were amazing. But like I said, Kigali. Rwanda. Not Nigeria.
It reminds me of when I made this super delicious plantain sandwich – Jibaritos, and I had to quarter each plantain. See the issue with the odd shapes is the cooking – improperly fried plantain is a sin. Let’s not commit it without good reason. Here anyway, I twice-fried so the plantain ended up cooked through. Be warned.
And then these Plantain fondants in a delicious sauce, where I cut each plantain into 5, 6 pieces along the length.
And okay, there was also the plantain towers in my concept dish – but here, plantain is different, it’s not dodo.
And finally, that time when I halved plantains and stuffed them with ram.
Okay, the end. You now have what might be the almost complete guide to plantain cuts. Peace and love and please, share your cuts with me. I’m willing to learn. Honest, I am!!!!