The starchy, not sweet, always-cooked fruit

PLANTAIN: (bot. Musa paradisica, plantanos in Spanish). This member of the banana family is also known as the cooking banana. It is starchy but not sweet, and is much larger than the dessert banana. It is the staple starch in some areas such as the West Indies, tropical Africa, and Malaysia, much as the potato is in temperate zones. Uncooked, it has a texture like a raw potato or turnip, but it's never eaten raw. Usually fried or boiled, it is cooked when green, half ripe, and ripe, and is sometimes made into fritters.

Plantain needs salt, pepper, and a certain amount of spice to make it palatable. It also makes a good snack food when green, thinly sliced, and deep fried.

Whether green or very ripe, the plantain is not as easy to peel as the yellow banana. The easiest way is to make shallow lengthwise cuts along the its natural ridges and pull the skin off in sections.

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