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Simple Caribbean Dishes

When I think of plantains, beans and rice, I think about the simplicity yet flavorful Caribbean and Latin American' dishes. I was inspired by my recent trips and recipes from a book entitled "Down-Island Caribbean Cookery A Lively Recipe Collection from One of the World's Freshest Cuisines" by the Elberts.  Enjoy!    
Fried Plantains
This dish reminds me of Malaysian goreng pisang aka fried bananas. Ripe plantains are black in color and the flesh is tender to the touch. 

Ingredients:
Vegetable oil for frying, 3 large ripe plantains- peeled and sliced on a bias 0.5 inch thick. Brown sugar to taste for the slightly unripened plantains

Procedures:
1. Pour oil until it cover the bottom of the pan
2. Heat oil over medium heat
3. Sprinkle brown sugar on unripened slices (Optional)
4. Distribute sliced plantain evenly over the whole surface
5. Fry for 2 to 3 mis or until the underside is brown

6. Turn the slices over and cook until both sides are brown
7. Remove them from pan and drain on paper towels to remove excess oil
8. Serve hot by itself or with rice and chicken

Tip: Sprinkle cinnamon powder and ground nutmeg for flavor 
Baked Plantains
This is a much healthier alternative to fried plantains. I highly recommend this cooking method.

Ingredients:
1 tbs vegetable oil, 6 large ripe plantains, 2 tsps brown sugar and 1 dash cinnamon powder

Procedures:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degF
2. Peel skin off plantains. Cut into halves and then slice lengthwise
3. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon powder
4. Toss plantains in vegetable oil
6. Line baking sheet with Al foil. Distribute plantains on the baking sheet, cut side facing upwards. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture on the plantains
7. Bake for 30 to 40 mins or until the plantains brown and fork tender
8. Serve hot by itself, as a dessert with ice cream or as a side

Beans and Rice 
Recipe from the book above.

Ingredients:
2 oz salt pork (or diced bacon), 1 cup long-grain Carolina rice, 1 quart water, 1 small onion- finely chopped, 1 garlic clove- finely chopped, 0.5 tsp ground allspice (or 1 bay rum or all spice leaf), 1 cup cooked red, pink or other beans and 2 cilantro sprigs- snipped. Salt, pepper and chili pepper to taste

Procedures:
1. Over medium heat, fry salt pork until golden
2. Simmer rice in 1 quart water with onion, garlic and bay rum leaf for 15 mins or until the rice is cooked but still firm. Add more water if needed. Drain thoroughly
3. Remove leaf. Add cooked beans and spices. Mix well until mixture is dry and fluffy
4. Serve hot
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