Okay to kick off the adventure I decided to do kelewele, but when I took my plantains out of the fridge the skin had turned black. Some people throw them away when they see that but the typical West African cook knows that this is the height of deliciousness when the plantain is sweet and sticky in its skin. So I decided to make tatale or ‘tatar’. As I said earlier, I am looking to facilitate the preparation of Ghanaian food outside places where the ingredients are available, and so I decided to use what I would have if I did not have any plantain. The obvious substitute for plantain is banana because they are in the same species, they looks similar and kind of taste similar, but I will admit, I was highly apprehensive approaching this experiment.
So I assembled the usual suspects, onion, ginger, salt, red pepper (meaning chilli or red pepper flakes, whatever you use) and my two plantains. I was going to cheat and use my newly acquired apotorewa but decided to be an honest girl and use my hand or the blender ( the hand won out because my darling blender is not the best). I peeled my two plantains into a saucepan and I peeled the banana into a bowl and mashed them separately with a fork and commenced from there (see full recipes under the Recipes tab). I also decided to experiment with vegetable oil versus palm oil. It was an interesting alimentary experience.
The Taste Test
Plantain Tatale with Palm Oil/Vegetable Oil:
The type of oil used here is just a matter of preference/availability. I personally prefer the palm oil.
Banana “Tatale” with Vegetable Oil:
It was quite a surprise that this turned out edible, it was very similar to the plantain in vegetable oil but definitely sweeter and of course the taste was slightly different.
Banana “Tatale” with Palm Oil:
I had been quite encouraged by the success of the fritter hybrid above but please don’t try this one. It had a distinctly weird taste, bananas and palm oil most definitely do not do well together.
Plantains are a member of the banana family even though they are less sweet and are usually cooked before they are eaten. People do fry bananas, but this is more as a dessert-type thing. If you’re as brave and aimless as I am, you can try this with bananas that are slightly more unripe so that you don’t get too much sweetness. Lastly, I strongly do not recommend mixing palm oil and bananas.
Until the next food adventure, this is a Ghanaian child.