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?