Can you tell the difference between a banana and a plantain ? Well actually about 5 yrs ago i couldn’t . I used to be like …. ahh whats the big deal … its just a big banana ! Haha how ignorant i was … actually there is a difference between the 2. For starters you cannot eat plantain raw, you have to cook it – steam it, boil it, fry it, grill it … unlike a banana, which you can just eat raw – as it ripens. Plantains are surely from the same family, but are actually a lot more starchier, less sweeter and bigger in appearance. This vegetable-banana tastes different at every stage of development. The interior color of the fruit will remain creamy, yellowish or lightly pink. When the peel outside is green to yellow, the flavor of the flesh is bland and its texture is starchy. As the peel changes to brown or black, it turns sweeter and resembles the aroma of a banana, but still keeps a firm shape when cooked.

Plantain 1

These are actually native to India, but I had never eaten a plantain until i got to Africa. They grow very well in the tropical regions and are a staple in the diet here. The most common way, and rather the easiest way is to have it roasted. At every nook and corner here in Ghana, you will find street vendors with their little stalls selling roasted plantain and groundnuts for a mere 50cents.

Plantain 2
Plantain 3
Plantain 4
Plantain 5
Plantain 6
Plantain 7

Another way i really like plantains is Kelewele. Its a Ghanaian snack dish and it can be had either as savoury or sweet dessert. When you have over ripe bananas, you make banana cake/bread. When you have over ripe plantains, you make kelewele !


  • 4 ripe plantains
  • 1/4 th of an onion cut in pieces
  • 2 big red chillis
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 5- 6 pieces of cloves , finely powdered
  • pinch of salt
  • oil for deep frying
  • a few sesame seeds for garnish
  • 1 tsp toasted dessicated coconut for garnish

Start with cutting the plantains in strips and removing the seeds. Them them in diagonal pieces and set them aside. In a grinder, put together the rest of the ingredients (except the oil) and grind to a smooth paste. Now coat the plantain pieces in this and let it sit for about 5 mins. Heat up the oil, and make sure it is very hot before you fry the plantain. Fry them in batches , till they get a beautiful golden brown colour. That is when the natural sugar in the plantains has caramelized and it full flavour has been brought out.

Kelewele 3

I like to fry my pieces a wee bit more so i get a few crunchy ones in there. Drain well on a kitchen towel. This does have a tendency to soak up a lot of oil. The softer the plantain the more oil it will absorb. Serve in platter lined with plantain leaves and garnish with toasted desiccated coconut and sesame seeds. This can be either had just as it is, or even with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Kelewele 2

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Comment : (Sylvia)

Looks delicious Kate, I never heard plantation, I guess, In Brazil we had a lot of kind of bananas..
The photos are great (Clumbsy Cookie)

These are the most gorgeous photos! I love fried plantain and I think I would love it this way as well! (Kate / Kajal)

Sylvia , i’m sure you have them there in Brazil. Just look more carefully the next time you go to the market :p

Clumnsy Cookie , if you like it fried then i’m sure you’ll adore this. (Deborah)

This sounds so delicious. I’ve never had a plantain before, but I’ve seen them used a lot on cooking shows on tv, so I’ve always wanted to try them. (Rosa's Yummy Yums)

I love plantain! It is so versatile and yummy!

That dish looks delicious! Really tempting and your beautiful pictures are so beautiful…


Rosa (Peter G)

Love the pics of the street vendor Kate. And what a delicious recipe using plantains…we get them sparingly here in Australia but this is one way I would def like to eat them! (Bharti)

Sounds delicious- would love to try this one out. (Kate / Kajal)

Deborah, i’m sure you’ll like it.

Rosa, it really is …thnx !

Peter, ya she was sweet to let me take her pictures. In the past i’ve had women throwing whatever they could to shoo me away 🙂 haha ! Its true !

Bharti, make sure you do 🙂 (Mae)

Kate, you are killing me softly with this photo! I absolutely love Kelewele… the hotter, the better! Yummy.

And yes, i am with you… i love the crunchy bits too! Ahhhh. (Manggy)

We have our own subset of plantain snacks (we call plantains “saba” here… Though they aren’t as big as the ones in your pic!), and they’re prepared in almost the same ways. So I know just how delicious your kelewele is! Yum! (Lydia (The Perfect Pantry))

Great post and photos. I love plantains, but only have cooked them the Latin American way, as tostones. (Agdah)

In Brazil, plantains are know as banana-da-terra and they can be eaten raw when ripe. In Kerala, India, Malayalees eat them raw as snacks all the time. They are quite sweet when ripe. (Antonio Tahhan)

Kate, how did you resist?! They look soooooooooo good and I see that you took the photo in daylight?! I hope they kept well in the fridge until sunset!
Since I love eating plantains and my body can’t afford to eat them fried each time, I often resort to an alternative: black ripe plantains baked in their skin for 40-50 minutes, pealed and topped with a sprinkle of salt and goat cheese (or your favorite salty, meltable cheese – the sweet/salty contrast is great!) (Mango Power Girl)

My mouth is watering, it’s the perfect monsoon food 🙂 Kajal, I love the shots of the woman grilling them and the nuts…I love seeing your shots of the local life there 🙂 (Snooky doodle)

I didn t know these exist until I read your article. I enjoyed reading it. Don t think we have them in Europe or at least I never saw them. These look yummy almost like deep fried potato chips. 🙂 (M&Ms...)

Fantastic! Finally know the difference – thank you and sounds like a delicious way to eat plantains. (Kate / Kajal)

Mae, oh yeah .. the spicier the better !!!

Manggy,hmm,nice to know … i'm sure its equally delicious.

Lydia, and how is that made ?

Agdah, yeah i know, south India is where the plantains actually originated from. They have many ways to make them, which i am oblivious to ofcourse :p

Antonio, haha trust me i've learnt to resist. When i was new in Ghana and new to plantains i was addicted to the roasted ones, and i would stop my car everyday at the vendor n have some, n before i realized my ass was bloating up to an enormous size, and i had to stop immediately. Now i have it once in 6 months !!! lol. have to love the sweet n salty n spicy contrast !!

Mohini , it is … 🙂 ! n it is even raining here. I love showing shots of my world around here too 🙂

Snooky Doodle, oh great, atleast some learnt now 🙂 hehe. I'm glad i could help !

M&amp, it really is . (Passionate About Baking)

Trust you to add glamour to the poor platain…& how! Splendid. I'd love it crispy too…what fab pictures Kate. (maybelle's mom)

It funny, I too don’t think of plantain as Indian because I never had it there. For me, I think of Puerto Rican cooking. This is a delicious way of doing it I am sure. (We Are Never Full)

beautiful photos. i live in brooklyn where plantains are not only in every grocery store but on every street corner too. i love them… can’t get enough!

in fact, just last night i was at a local puerto rican restaurant and had tostones along w/ my pernil AND ordered a side of mofongo as well. it was plantain over-load! (The Imaginary Invalid.)

You make deep frying an art in that picture! (yasmeen)

The plantain stalls of Ghana remind me of the corn stalls in India.
The spicy plantain fries are delicious twist to plain turmeric plantain chips, i remember tasting. (Kate / Kajal)

Passionate abt baking, you are too kind 🙂 Thnx

Maybelles mom, yeah it surprises me how many people n places are familiar with plantain.

We Are Never Full, oh really ?! wow ! and yeah thats a lotta plantain, watch out for the calories !

Imaginary Invalid, thanks 😀

Yasmeen, ya…they almost do 🙂 (sole!)

i love your pictures…

sole from argentina (Anonymous)

the maloos eat quite a bit of steamed plaintains.
it is also relished in the form plaintain dipped in sweetened rice flour batter called ” athakya appam”.
raw plaintains in spiced yogurt called ” athakya pachadi ” is also savored.

you would never find these in restaurants. you have to get into some authentic maloo homes.

liz iyer (Mike of Mike's Table)

I used to be the same way and was teased to no end for eating plantains raw, lol. Now I know better. These look really tasty and I love that second to last photo! (Maryann)

The woman in your photos has a lovely face 🙂 (Kate / Kajal)

Sole, thnk you so much.

Liz, actually they do, too bad i never crashed at my maloo friends homes back in school, i was least
interested in food back then 🙂

Mike, 😛 aww how sad, but you always learn right ..i’ve made a boo boo so many times !!

Maryann, she does .. 🙂 (Elra)

In Indonesia, we call it Pisang Raja or the king of banana. I guess because of its size. We use it in many different ways, fried , steam, stew, just name it. Too bad it is so expensive here in California. (Salt N Turmeric)

I love bananas and plantains. But i dont remember ever having it savoury like these. Sounds very interesting.

In Malaysia its called pisang tanduk. Pisang is banana while tanduk means horn. I guess because of the shape.;) (glamah16)

My father was Nigerian, so plantains were always a trest fried up.Towards the end of his life he really craved it , but it was to high in potassium and sugar for him. I wonder how the rosated tsates. (Poise Daily)

Beautiful on the plating. Roasted anything is delish- what a fabulous blog you have here. (Lael)

Thank you for the education on plaintains. I have seen them in the grocery store but never thought about trying to use them, but this recipe sounds delicious! (Emiline)

You’ve remind me how much I love plantains.
I saw some really dark ones today, and thought about buying them. 🙂 (Tartelette)

I had my first plantain when I moved to the southern US and I got addicted after a cook at the restaurant I was orking for made me try some fried one…and then my thigs started making that squishy sound…so now it’s a rare treat but I could easily devour this dish 🙂
The colors are gorgeous as beautiful! (Proud Italian Cook)

I also love the lady in your photo’s, what a great face! Nice post as always Kate! (Kristen)

I am always so in awe over your photography. What a well documented post! (Stardust)

Hey this is the first time I learn about plantain! How exotic! I like the tropical presentation. =D Does it taste near to banana? I suppose… (Aran)

beautiful beautiful photos! (Kate / Kajal)

Elra, hey even in Hindi, raja means King .

Salt n turmeric, oh you’ll love it.

glamah16, oh really thats nice ! my hubby is born in nigeria- Lagos- he’s indian though. I’m sorry to hear abt your dad, i hope n pray he’s happy where ever he is 🙂 …
the roasted ones are gr8 when just of the grill, dry toasted exterior, mushy , soft sweet interior with some peanuts !

Posie Daily, thanks so much.

Lael, you should give it a try now 🙂

Emiline, you should ‘ve :p

Helen, hahaha i know .. i went thru that phase too, now its like once in 6 months for me … as if we need more to add on to the already rich calorie intake !!

PIC, did you notice she had matching eyeshadow ?? i think that’s so cute ! she’s poor but still in gr8 spirit.

Stardust, it does 🙂

Aran, thanks. (Kitchen Flavours)

Wow something new and looks yummy. Thinking to try out son. Thank u for writing down the diffrence between banana and plantian. R u intrested in joining the RAMADAN EVENT. If yes please do leave a comment. Waiting for u r reply. (Anjum)

lovely blog…g8 recipes…ur blog is rocking…n mind blowing pics (Kate / Kajal)

KF , i’m thinking, inshallah i’ll get back to you.

Anjum, thank you so much !!! (Kitchen Flavours)

Wow Thank u for u r intrest in the event. You don’t have to cook many recipes just use the logo in the recipe, that’s enough. No need to link back also. Using logo in the recipe indicates u r recipe is participating in the event. That’s all. (Aaron Kagan)

As I’ve said before, I like reading about all of your elaborate pastries, but I LOVE reading about the local cuisine of your many exotic destinations. Keep it comin’! (Kate / Kajal)

KF, gr8 then, count me in 🙂

Aaron, u know i love bringing more of Ghana to my readers as well 🙂 (maimoona)

hi kate!
thanks for stopping by at my blog.I make plantain bajiyas..but your fried plantains looks different and yummy, (Beachlover)

oh!! hop to my kitchen I have something for you!! (Beachlover)

love this snack.We usually coated with flour and fried it!!.Yum-yum!! (Maya)

Plantain chips are my fave.Thanks for the recipe – sounds delish!

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