Ivory Coast Fried Plantains in Chile and Red Palm Oil Sauce – Spicy Favorite of West African Cooking
In small roadside restaurants in the Ivory Coast of West Africa, a dish called aloco is very popular. Plantains are fried in a hot pan of red palm oil and seasoned with onions, tomatoes, and hot chiles. It is usually then served with grilled fish.
Try to find red palm oil (either in an international grocery or market, or online) for this fried plantains recipe. Red palm oil is what makes West Africa food taste West African. But if that is not possible, you can use peanut oil. It will not have the authentic flavor or color, but will still be very tasty.
The plantains needed for this recipe must be ripe, with their skins being nearly black in color. You can buy unripe plantains and leave them out. They will be black in about a week, so plan ahead when cooking this dish.
1 cup red palm oil (or 1 cup peanut oil mixed with red paprika)
3 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
Salt to taste
2 large ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 fresh red cherry chiles, or 2 habanero chiles, chopped fine
1 tablespoon white vinegar
In a large skillet, heat the red palm oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Salt the plantain slices and fry in 2 or 3 batches (do not overcrowd the pan) until a golden brown color on both sides (about 4 to 5 minutes total per batch). Remove from the oil and place on paper towels for draining.
Add the tomatoes, onion, and chile peppers to the skillet with the oil you used to cook the plantains, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce is thick and chunky, or about 50 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the vinegar.
Arrange the fried plantains on a serving platter and pour the sauce over them. Serve immediately. This plantains recipe makes 4 to 6 servings.