A fantastic twist on the traditional banana bread is this sweet Plantain bread recipe made with overripe plantains. A sweet loaf with a slightly caramelized flavour infused with nigella seeds makes the best addition to the breakfast table or as a snack with your chai time.
Malabari cuisine has a handful of traditional ripe plantain recipes like my pan-fried plantain and eggs, kaipola, unnakaya, pazham pori, etc. But, ever wondered what to do with those super overripe plantains (nenthra pazham)? Can you turn them into something as yummy as banana bread? Let me show you how to bake with ripe plantains so you get the best bread that's also like a plantain cake!
Now, let's break down what we'll need to whip up this awesome plantain bread.
- Flour: Whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour. We're using both, but if you want, you can go all-in with just one type.
- Granulated sugar: You can use white or brown sugar, whichever you prefer.
- Baking powder and baking soda: These are both necessary and nope, they're not interchangeable!
- Salt: Just a touch, but it works some real magic in there.
- Cardamom powder: It's a real winner with ripe plantains.
- Nigella seeds: My special pairing for banana bread.
- Egg: Use a large egg in room temperature.
- Oil: Melted ghee, butter or any neutral cooking oil will work. Melt it and let it cool for a bit.
- Ripe plantains: Make sure they are ripe - don't be fooled by yellow skin with black dots; they should be soft to the touch or even more black to use in this recipe.
Once you have the ingredients ready, let's get the oven ready: Set the oven rack to the middle position (level 3). Preheat your oven to 180°C (about 350°F). Take your choice of either one 8x4 inch loaf pan or two 5x3 inch loaf pans. Lightly grease them, or you can use nonstick spray and line the bottom with baking paper if you prefer.
I like to use my medium-sized blender/mixie jar. Add the chopped ripe plantain and sugar and process until smooth.
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cardamom powder and nigella seeds.
Now, add the egg and oil and blend again until smooth and mixed well. I have made this recipe many times using melted ghee or sunflower oil.
Make sure there are no large bits of plantain before you transfer the content to the flour bowl.
Pour the blender contents into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
Fold the mixture using a rubber spatula. I always fold in one direction until combined. This way we can ensure it is thoroughly mixed but also not overmixed.
Pour the batter into the lined loaf pan(s), smoothing the surface. You can sprinkle extra nigella seeds on top if you like.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test. Allow the loaf pan to cool on a rack for 5 to 8 minutes.
Ripe plantains are not as smooth as bananas, so mashing with a fork is not enough, you tend to have a lumpy dough making it dense bread. I learnt the hard way that it works better if you use a processor or mixie.
Storing your freshly baked plantain bread is pretty straightforward. Just pop it in an airtight container if you plan to enjoy it within the next few days. If you want it to stick around a bit longer, you can keep it in the fridge for up to a week. And if you're feeling super prepared, you can even freeze it for up to a month or more. Just make sure it's sealed up tight so it stays yummy.
- Yoghurt: Sometimes, I do add a dollop of thick yoghurt or sour cream or labneh when I want to double the recipe but I don't have enough ripe plantain.
- Vanilla extract: If you are not a fan of cardamom or don't have it in powder form, then just stick.
- Chocolate chips: Skip the nigella seeds and stir in 3 to 4 tablespoons of your favourite chocolate chips
- Coconut: Use 1 tablespoon of dried coconut pieces or 2 tablespoon of shredded fresh coconut or desiccated coconut for a tropical rich flavour.
- Butter: Instead of melted ghee or other neutral cooking oil, try using melted butter for rich and indulgent bread.
Did You Know?
Did you know that some call this "banana bread with ripe plantains"? and that ripe plantains are mostly addressed as "Kerala banana" in the supermarkets here? and not long ago wiki had mentioned that this is not a banana family but now they call this "cooking banana"! What do you call this fruit?
Absolutely! Plantains can be a fantastic substitute for bananas in various recipes. In fact, that's what we're doing in this plantain bread recipe. Ripe plantains bring their unique sweet and slightly caramelized flavor to the table, making for a delightful twist on traditional banana bread. So go ahead and swap in plantains if you're looking for something different and delicious.
Well, that's a matter of personal taste! Both plantains and regular bananas have their unique characteristics. Ripe plantains tend to be starchier and a bit sweeter, giving your banana bread a distinct flavor. If you enjoy that sweet, slightly caramelized taste, you might prefer plantains in your bread. However, if you love the classic banana bread flavor, then, of course, bananas are the way to go. It really depends on your taste buds!
Short answer: Yes. You can make delicious bread using ripe plantains instead of bananas. It's often referred to as plantain bread. So, don't hesitate to give it a shot – this recipe makes an easy and simple plantain bread. Use this as your starting point and go crazy with experiments.
Indeed, there are two primary types of plantains: green (unripe) and ripe plantains.
Green Plantains: These are firm and starchy with a mild flavour. They are often used in savoury dishes, like plantain chips or curries. They have a green peel and are not edible unless cooked.
Ripe Plantains: As plantains ripen, their skin turns yellow and then black, and they become sweeter. Ripe plantains are used in sweet recipes like fried sweet plantains or, as we're discussing, plantain bread. They have a sweeter and slightly caramelized taste compared to green ones.
Looking for other recipes using ripe plantain? Try these:
Ripe Plantain Sweet Bread
- 1 8x4 inch loaf pan (two 5x3 inch loaf pan)
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- a pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- ½ teaspoon nigella seeds
- 1 large ripe plantain roughly sliced
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup melted ghee (any neutral cooking oil)
Baking mode details
- Place the oven wire rack in the middle (level 3). Preheat the oven to 180℃. Lightly grease one 8x4 inch loaf pan OR two 5x3 inch loaf pans. You may coat with nonstick spray and line the bottom with baking paper.
Prepare the batter
- Add these ingredients into a large bowl and whisk to combine.½ cup whole wheat flour, ½ cup all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, a pinch of salt, ½ teaspoon cardamom powder, ½ teaspoon nigella seeds
- In a blender add roughly chopped overripe plantains and sugar. Process for a minute or until pureed. Next, add the egg and oil and blend again until mixed through.1 large ripe plantain, ⅓ cup sugar, 1 large egg, ¼ cup melted ghee
- Pour the blender content into the bowl of flour mixture and fold using a rubber spatula. Fold in the same direction until combined without any traces dry flour.
- Pour the batter into the lined loaf pan(s) and smooth the surface, sprinkle some more nigella seeds, if you wish.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.
- Cool the loaf pan on a rack for 5 to 8 minutes and run a spatula around to release the bread. Let the bread cool completely on a wire rack. Slice using sharp bread knife and serve with chai or coffee.
- Store at room temperature in an airtight box for 2 to 4 days or in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for a month or until it lasts.