Growing up, I got to know plantain as the meal for diabetics as well as aged people. In the last days of my grandpa which happened to be the only period that I spent with him, I presumed that fresh unripe plantain was his favourite food because of how often he ate it. He ate boiled plantain, amala made from plantain flour, plantain fufu and pounded plantain.
Although he ate plantain almost every day, I was never interested in joining him because unripe plantain is just not sweetest food available and why would I choose it when I had options of rice? or why would I choose unripe plantain fufu when there was always pounded yam? Pounded yam is my favourite food.
Years later, after the death of my grandpa, I learnt about the nutritional benefits of plantain and it is now a highly rated food for me. In fact, unripe plantain fufu otherwise called unripe plantain swallow makes a good substitute for semo. If you were thinking I would write, “substitute for pounded yam”, I’m sorry, YOU WERE WRONG! No other solid can compare to my dear pounded yam.
Plantain is an extremely common staple in Africa because of its low cost and versatility in meals. It serves as main-course in its boiled or solid form, as accompaniment when the ripe plantain is fried and as a snack when (un)ripe plantain is fried into chips. Fried ripe plantain is very famous in Nigerian homes and it is called ‘Dodo’ pronounced as ‘d(oh)-d(oh)’. It is famous for its sweet taste which is gotten from the sweetness of ripened plantain.
Aside from Africa, plantain is also well recognised in other tropical countries such as the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, as well as in India and some Asian countries.
Plantains are very rich in antioxidants, vitamins and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are better carbohydrates, unlike the simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are higher in fibre, contain more nutrient and digest more slowly, thereby assist in the management of blood sugar as well as weight gain. This is why foods such as plantain, whole grains, leafy vegetables, beans, which contain these complex carbohydrates are a healthy choice for the elderly. According to Healthline.com, these carbohydrates help to guard against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
So, how do you prepare plantain fufu with fresh unripe plantain?
Plantain Fufu: How to Make Swallow with Unripe Plantain
- 4 Unripe Plantain
- 1 cup Water
- Select green and firm plantain for this recipe
- Wash the green unripe plantain with water
- Remove the green skin of the plantain by cutting longitudinally and then opening the green cover, leaving only the unripened cream coloured plantain fruit.
- Slice the plantain into small bits.
- Pour sliced plantain and water into a blender. 250ml (1 cup) of water is sufficient for 3-4 plantains because you do not want the fufu to be too soft. After putting both water and plantain to the blender, blend the plantain to the smoothest texture that you can get.
- Pour the paste into a deep pot (use a non-stick pot if available) and place on low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spatula.
- As the plantain cooks, it will thicken up and you might notice bubbles or lumps which shows that the plantain id cooking. So, just keep stirring until the paste holds well together and forms a sizeable mass. In the process of stirring, if you think the plantain fufu is too thick, you can add more water to your taste.
- Once done, serve in a dish and allow to cool a little before eating. The further it cools, the firmer it gets.