I can’t stop thinking about this dish.
I’ve been craving it since it was gobbled up. I served this as an alternative to traditional candied yams at Thanksgiving this year. This dish will NOT be exclusively served for Thanksgiving my house! I can’t wait to make it again.
Have you cooked with plantains before?? I love them for their variety and nutrition. Variety because I get bored always eating the same ‘ol thing. Don’t you?? Think of plantains as another starchy vegetable – a potato alternative almost.
Nutrition wise, I like plantains because they’re good food for the healthy bacteria in your gut! You know all the buzz going on about probiotics and gut health?? Well I’ll have a more extensive post for you on that come January, but for now, here’s what you need to know. We’ve got tons of good bacteria in our intestines that help with everything from digestion, to inflammation, to immunity, to motility (how things move through the GI tract), and even depression. Bacteria are living organisms. Just like us, they need to eat or they die off. This can lead to a decrease in healthy bacteria which we don’t want. Low levels of healthy bacteria can be associated with gas, bloating, lower immunity, constipation/diarrhea, low energy, etc. Also like us, different bacteria eat different foods, so we have to be sure and take in foods that feed the good bacteria. Bottom line: plantains will feed your body AND your healthy gut bacteria! Bam.
When you’re picking out plantains, look for a more yellow and brown color. The more green they are, the harder they will be to peel and the less ripe they are. You can use plantains of any ripeness. While less-ripe plantains have even more food for healthy GI bacteria, I actually prefer them to be more yellow just because peeling them is SO much easier. The ones pictured above were not the easiest to peel, so I usually go for more yellow but that’s all my grocery store had that day. Don’t be afraid of brown plantains! They may look ugly, brown, and like a rotten banana on the outside, but they’re still good inside! (Ok, if it’s totally brown, probably stay away.)
To peel, just slice the ends off and then take a knife down the side of the plantain and make a couple vertical cuts (exactly like where a banana would peel). Then just remove the peel.
Now let’s get to the flavors!
The dish starts by making a spiced butter. You first add butter to a small saucepan and clarify it. That means, you heat the butter over low heat and skim off the foam which is milk solids. Those could burn if you were to add high heat or roast as we will later. If you want to skip this step, just buy GHEE! Ghee is readily available these days is essentially clarified butter. Look for it in your grocery store where you normally find butter.
Add spices (as shown above) to your homemade clarified butter or 3 tablespoons of store-bought ghee. Simmer away on low for 15 minutes. Then strain, reserving the butter and discarding the spices. You can do this in advance if you’re prepping ahead. Just cover and refrigerate the spiced butter. Then, reheat it in the microwave to liquefy before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
(Do you see the flavors building already??)
Then toss the plantains and yams (or sweet potatoes) with the spiced butter and roast at 375 F. After 20 minutes, give it a stir and roast another 20 minutes. At that 40 minute mark, add a combination of orange juice, honey, soy sauce, ginger and cumin. Stir well and roast another 10-20 minutes or until the sauce is caramelized and thick.
Prepare yourself, this dish is to die for!!!
Oh and did I mention if you use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce it’s paleo and gluten free?? Use coconut oil instead of ghee/butter and agave or maple syrup instead of honey and it’s vegan! Whichever way you spin it, this whole foods based dish is packed with satisfying flavor and a fantastic healthy alternative to plain old baked potatoes or candied yams.
- 2 sweet potatoes or yams (about 2 pounds), cut into 1½ inch cubes
- 2 plantains, peeled and cut into 1½ inch pieces
- ¼ cup butter (4 tablespoons) OR 3 tablespoons ghee
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- ½ inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 cardamom pods
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup orange juice
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- For the spiced butter, melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir frequently, skimming off and discarding the foam that rises to the top. Continue without letting the butter brown, until no more foam appears. (OR skip this step and add ghee to a small saucepan over low heat.)
- Add the onion through basil. Stir occasionally for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Set butter aside, discard spices.
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Toss yams and plantains with melted spiced butter on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, tossing half way.
- Combine glaze ingredients in a mixing cup and stir well.
- After the potatoes and plantains have baked for 40 minutes, add the glaze, toss to coat, and roast another 10-20 minutes until the glaze becomes thick.