First off, if you are wondering whether a plantain is a banana, it is a member of the banana family, only starchier and lower in sugar. This means it tends to maintain its green colour even when ripe. Native to India and the Caribbean, plantain is a staple food throughout Africa.

Their exact origin remains a mystery, but most believe they originated in the region of Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. They were likely first cultivated by indigenous communities in these areas as a source of food.

Trade and colonisation aided their spread to other parts of the world. They were introduced to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese traders in the 16th century, and today they are widely grown in Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean.

In East Africa, it is a trendy food item. Add a touch of Swahili with Coconut milk, and it suddenly becomes a delicious accompaniment for any curry dish. Plantains are rich in fibre, potassium and vitamins A, B and C.


  1. 3-4 peeled plantains, sliced.
  2. 1/2 tsp. salt.
  3. 1 tsp. curry powder.
  4. 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.
  5. 1/8 tsp. cloves.
  6. 1-2 cups coconut milk.


  1. Peel the plantain and cut it into slices or quarters by slicing once lengthwise and across the middle.
  2. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except coconut milk.
  3. Heat slowly, stir gently and add coconut milk little by little until all is absorbed.
  4. Simmer until the plantain is tender.
  5. Add a little water if necessary.
  6. Serve hot.