I live in a cold, gray, rainy area. It’s bleak. Even though it’s the end of July, it’s (big surprise) raining! People from Russia and Finland have told me that it’s warmer in their countries than it is here. How is this possible? I don’t know – but what I do know is that, while searching for tips on surviving cold, gray, rainy, bleak areas, I stumbled across an article about plantains warding off winter doldrums (specifically “SAD” – Seasonal Affective Disorder). Plantains are delicious regardless of what climate you live in, so I was down to fry some up! And – best of all – I just so happen to have an easy, delicious recipe that a good friend of mine passed on to me. This traditional Nicaraguan mix of fried beans and rice is called “Gallopinto” and is popular in her family.
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 can black beans, drained
- Somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 cup rice, cooked
- 1-2 plantains*, sliced lengthwise 3-4 times
- Avocado, sliced (optional)
- Salt, to taste
Saute the onion in oil. When translucent, add the black beans and rice and stir to mix. Season with salt. In the meantime, fry one side of the plantain slices in a little oil until golden-brown. Flip and do the same. This should take about 3 minutes for each side. Serve the beans, rice, and plantains with sliced avocado on the side. Serves 2 as a main dish.
Traditionally, paprika or any manner of chili isn’t added, but spicy food is delicious – what can I say – so feel free to try it out if you’re into it. Also try seasoning with cilantro or serving fried yucca or a sweet and salty cabbage salad on the side (which IS traditional).
*Plantains: In this recipe, plantains are normally fried only when extremely ripe (soft, with a totally black peel – don’t be afraid, they’re not rotten!). If you’re like me and can’t wait for them to ripen, you can also fry them when the peel is still green and yellow. They won’t be sweet, but they’re still delicious. If your local grocery store doesn’t carry plantains, look for them in ethnic markets (Hispanic, African, and sometimes even Asian).