Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Come, Mr. Tally Man!

Curry di Banane Africane con Pomodorini, Pepe e Basilico
Curried Plantain with Tomatoes, Peppers & Basil

I keep humming Harry Belafonte's banana song ever since I made this delicious plantain curry this evening and thinking of tropical islands in the sun! And all because of a lovely lady with an incredible blog: http://www.dielandfrau.com full of her cool and contemporary take on old, traditional German country-living style. We both decided to see what we could come up with using plantains this evening... this is my creation- but you can also hop on over to her blog to see what she did in the morning!

I have used banana's in the past when making curry sauces, but have not used them as the main component in a dish before. So I wanted to make sure they were spicy and savory enough for it to NOT taste like a dessert gone wrong! And indeed, this tasted like a main course gone incredibly right! Not bad for a first attempt!

I started off by sautéing the strips of red pepper first in a little clarified butter. After 1-2 minutes, I added some grated ginger and garlic and the plantain, which I first halved lengthways and then cut into bite-sized chunks. I then added cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, 1 teaspoon of tandoori spice, 1 crushed clove and of course salt and pepper.

After 2-3 minutes of cooking together, when all of the spices had coated each piece of plantain nicely and were beginning to brown, I added a tablespoon of tomato paste and let that blend in for a minute or two before deglazing the frying pan with a little milk. Before I knew it a nice sauce was beginning to form- the plantain naturally thickening it and the milk making it milder and creamier.

At this point I added the halved cherry tomatoes and a good handful of basil... the smell was just intoxicating! Delicious! I added a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper as I wanted to make sure this would be a real curry- and the cool thing is that as spicy as that sounds, the plantain makes for a smooth and delicious flavor rather than a harsh hot taste... which is just terrific!

I added a handful of salted peanuts just as I began to spoon out the rice, so they had a chance to get covered with the sauce and to add a little extra seasoning, to counterpoint the sweetness of the plantain. I then served up the curry and sprinkled it with a few more crunchy nuts as a contrast and garnished with some fresh basil... and then I just sat down and enjoyed!

Thank you Birgit for the idea of cooking with plantain! And thank you all for reading!

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