Now, lets say you are not a regular (even occasional) eater of plantain chips, here’s what it is. For convenience, let’s borrow a description of ‘Plantain’ from BBC Food website (https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/plantain). “Plantains are a starchy, unsweet variety of banana that are inedible raw and must be cooked before eating. Most are larger and slightly more angular in shape than ‘sweet’ bananas. They can be green, yellow, pink or very dark in colour depending on their variety and ripeness.”
Plantains are not usually eaten raw when they are unripe so they are cooked in different ways to make it edible. When they are ripe, they can be eaten as a snack even though bananas are a preferred snack. Plantains may be boiled, roasted, fried or used in stews or puddings, ripe or not. The use of ripe and unripe plantains in cuisines vary all over the world.
It was a surprise for our ‘taster’ to realise very quickly that the plantain chips she had bought was rather sweet. Very sweet. So, she did what everyone curious about the quality and taste of manufactured food would do. She turned over the pack of Grace Sweet Plantain Chips, and, lo and behold, the ingredients listed SUGAR as one of the ingredients, No wonder why, she cried, adding to that bewildering comment the words, ‘for crying out loud!’
A common way to use plantains as a snack is to slice them into wafer-thin sizes which are then fried at high temperature and packed for sale or enjoyed at home. These popular snacks known as ‘Plantain Chips’ are made from the ripe plantains that have ripened to a yellow colour and also from unripe green plantains. The plantain chips from the ripe plantains are sweet while those from unripe, green plantains are not sweet and are usually salted for flavour.
So, why is there ‘added sugar’ in the sweet plantain chips? It’s an open question that we keep an eye on as we continue to explore the ingrdients in other Plantain chips we come across in our quest for reporting the best of African cuisine in the diaspora.