Plantain Stuffed with Dates and Coconut
A friend of mine mentioned a favorite dish in her native India is pazham nirachathu – plantain stuffed with coconut, raisins, cashews and cardamom, battered and fried. Following is my interpretation of this delightful dish.
Per large plantain
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup coconut
2-3 dates, pitted and chopped
10 pistachio nuts (crushed under flattened knife blade)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 egg, separated
1/4 cup flour
Pinch of salt
Just enough water to make a thick batter
Oil for frying
Wash plantain(s). Steam/boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Heat up an iron skillet. Melt the butter and toast the grated coconut; add the sugar, cardamom, and pistachios, roasting another couple minutes. Stir in the dates. To bind the ingredients, briskly stir in one beaten egg. Remove from heat and let cool.
Peel the cooled plantain and slit from end to end without cutting all the way through, making a “canoe”. Remove black stem/seeds. Using your fingers, carefully press stuffing into the slit without breaking plantain in two.
For the batter, beat egg white, a splash of water and salt with a fork until frothy. Add yolk and continue whisking until pale yellow. Add the flour, stirring until lump-free. Add enough water so that batter is thick and smooth.
Add enough oil to cover the bottom of skillet and heat over medium heat. Meanwhile, place stuffed plantain into batter and spoon batter over the top and sides, carefully turning over, coating all sides. Place battered plantain in hot oil. When the first side is golden, turn a quarter turn, propping against the side of pan if need be. Continue cooking until golden and turn again, cooking all four sides this way.
Remove to paper towel, blot and transfer to plate. Serve warm.
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