In Puerto Rico, when one does not feel well, we usually immediately crave or get prescribed “viandas” – viandas are mostly tubers – potatoes, yuca, yautia, malangas, sweet potatoes, yams, and for some reason plantains and green bananas are jammed up in there. They are easy on the digestive system and seem to help you “get on your feet” again.
For some weird reason, I was craving viandas yesterday. I went to the supermarket and spent 19 cents on 3 green bananas. there is still something cheap at the supermarket. Yes, bananas can be eaten ripe and green too… but you need to cook them. We usually boil them. But I need to show you a trick for it.
Green bananas, just like green plantains, have what we call “mancha” – they release a sap when you cut them open. To avoid this, you just wipe some cooking oil in your hands and on the knife you’ll use to prevent the sap to stick to any of them. When you go and boil them, add some cooking oil to the boiling water to prevent the sap to get on the saucepan.
Be careful – this mancha or sap STAINS A LOT. If you get it on your clothes, more than likely you will not be able to get it off. There’s a local saying when you can’t deny being a Puerto Rican, people say that you have “la mancha de plátano” or “plantain sap stain” resembling the fact that the sap from a green plantain or banana can’t never be cleaned or taken away.
Here’s what you do…
GREEN BANANA MASH
3 green bananas Salt – for the boiling water Cooking oil – for the boiling water, your hands and the knife Extra-virgin olive oil Garlic Salt to taste
In a large pot, fill with water. Add salt and a squirt of cooking oil.
Cut off the ends of each banana and cut a slit all the way down the banana. Do not take the skin off the banana. We’ll boil them with the skins on.
Boil in the pot for about 20 minutes, until the bananas are fork tender. the water will turn a weird color – don’t dispair. This is the sap in the banana skin.
Drain the bananas. Take the skin off. It should come off very easily.
Mash with a fork while still warm… they’ll be harder to mash when they’re cool. Drizzle with olive oil until you get a smooth consistency and season with garlic salt.
With a few more steps… we can convert this into mangu, a delicious Dominican dish. That in an upcoming installment – OK?
I had this with my Avocado and Tomato Salad.