“Americans always have to eat before they work,” my Sierra Leonean friend remarked as I offered him a granola bar. “Africans go all day with just a banana for breakfast, or nothing,” he added. He didn’t mean it unkindly, it was just an observation.
But it’s true, Americans eat more than Africans, or at least, they eat more often. I’ve heard it said that most Africans eat two meals a day at most, and that doesn’t include breakfast.
African hotels that cater to business people, tourists and missionaries have breakfast. Rwanda, with its Belgian and French heritage, provides guests with lavish breakfast spreads including fresh breads, pastries and thick, sweet coffee with steamed milk. In Sierra Leone, breakfast, when it is served, is simple and fresh; perhaps some small green bananas, pineapple, mangoes and my favorite, fried plantains.
Fried plantains are tangy and sweet, tender on the inside and slightly crunchy on the outside. They taste like African sun and heat, especially when fried in coconut oil.
I was so pleased to discover a bowlful of ripe plantains on the counter when I got home from Sierra Leone, what serendipity! Marie had bought them while I was gone, and Joe and hubs, not knowing what they were, thought they were very starchy, tasteless bananas. I fried them up for breakfast the next morning and felt like I was in Africa for one more day.
- Serves: 2-3 per plantain
- Serving size: ½ plantain
- Calories: 160
- Fat: 7 grams
- Saturated fat: 5 grams
- Trans fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 16 grams
- Protein: 1.3 grams
- Ripe plantains (one plantain is enough for 2-3 people)
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- Peel plantains and slice ¼" thick on the bias
- Heat a nonstick pan over medium high heat and add coconut oil.
- When coconut oil is melted, add plantain slices in a single layer.
- When golden brown, turn slices.
- Remove from pan and place on a paper towel to drain.
- Serve hot with a sprinkle of sea salt.