Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Soul Food

This week's cookbook is The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson; Foreward by Desmond Tutu

Spicy Plantain Chips

(Makes about 2 1/2 cups)

Plantains, the large, starchy cousin of the banana, are a staple throughout Africa and used in much the same way as potatoes are here. These chips make an excellent snack before a meal. Deep-fried plantains can often be a little dull and starchy, but by frying them in spiced butter and oil, and dusting them with a spicy curry powder, they get a lively, complex flavor. Green, unripe plantains make the best chips because they are firmer and hold up better during cooking.

2 green plantains
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Spiced Butter or 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
About 2 cups canola oil

1. Peel the plantains and slice as thin as possible with a mandoline, peeler, or sharp knife. Place in a bowl, cover with cold water, and let soak for 10 minutes to wash away excess starch. (The starch can cause the slices to stick together during frying.) Drain, rinse, and blot thoroughly dry with paper towels.

2. Meanwhile, combine the curry powder, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.

3. Melt the spiced butter in a large deep pot over medium heat, then add enough oil to come to a depth of 1 1/2 inches. Increase the heat to medium-high and heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Working in batches, carefully lower the plantains into the oil with a slotted spoon and fry, stirring occasionally to prevent the slices from sticking together, until evenly browned, about 4 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Dust with the curry and sugar mixture and serve immediately.

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