Friday, July 17, 2009

Aloco (fried plantains)

Aloco is a traditional recipe from Côte d'Ivoire, where I grew up. It's sold from small roadside restaurants and is served with a spicy tomato-onion sauce and grilled fish. For a lunch or snack, you can make it with just the sauce - or eat the aloco by itself with salt. Oh yeah - this is most definitely finger food!

about 1 1/2 cups oil
several very ripe plantain bananas (mostly black, and don't be afraid of a few moldy spots)
one onion, chopped
two tomatoes, chopped
one chile pepper, cleaned and chopped, OR Scotch Bonnet hot sauce
1/4 tsp bouillon

Cut the ends off the plantains. Make a cut down the length of the plantain and pull off the peel. (This is much easier than if you peeled it like a banana.) Cut the plantains in half lengthwise. Cut again into 1/4 spears. Cut into bite-sized pieces.

Place a frying pan with high sides over high heat and pour in enough oil to cover the bottom well - don't be stingy. Once hot, add a piece of plantain. It should bubble, but not brown immediately. After a minute or so, it should be bright yellow. This means your oil is the right temperature.

Add plantain pieces to cover the bottom of the pan, but not crowd them. Stir every 2-3 minutes, flipping each piece as they begin to brown. Take your time cooking them - reduce heat if needed. Each batch should take about 8-10 minutes.

Don't worry about getting each one evenly browned. The best aloco (in my opinion) is a piece that's dark brown and caramelized on one side and soft and deep yellow on the other.

As the aloco browns, remove using tongs and place on a paper towel-lined plate.

Repeat with remaining plantain pieces.

The sauce

Using the leftover oil from the aloco, cook the onions until soft and beginning to brown. Add tomatoes, bouillon and hot pepper. Cook on high, stirring often, until 1/3 of liquid evaporates. Serve alongside the aloco.

1 comment:

ilse said...

Thank you so much! I was looking for this recipe for ages.. I'm going to try it today

kind regards from the Netherlands