Tajadas is a dish consisting of fried, ripe plantains from Venezuela. Raw sweet plantains are sliced and deep fried in vegetable oil until they are golden brown. They can be eaten alone but are often used as a side dish to the main meal.
Plantains are just one group of bananas from the over one thousand varieties that are known. When ripe, plantains can be eaten raw just like the bananas sold in supermarkets, but they do have a heavy texture and leave an odd sensation in the mouth. They are best eaten cooked which rids the odd sensation and texture.
Most tropical regions enjoy plantains in some form. In Costa Rica fried plantains are called Plantanos Maduros. In Indonesia they are called Pisang Goreng which is battered then fried. In Venezuela they are called Tajadas which means cut or sliced. To make Venezuelan Tajadas, the plantains are cut diagonally so the fried slices are long and oval shaped.
Tajadas are major part of the dish, Pabellon Criolo. It is Venezuela’s traditional rice and beans dish which is accompanied by flank steak and Tajadas. A Criolo is a Spanish person of European descent living in South America or the Caribbean. It is also used to describe the fusion cuisine of European recipes using Caribbean or South American ingredients.
Origin and Cultural Significance
Plantains are available year-round and are used in every way possible, including Torta de Plantano or plantain casserole, Patacon, a sandwich which uses two pieces of fried green plantains instead of bread and plantain balls. Bananas have been cultivated in South America as far back as the 15th century. Plantains are a staple crop in Venezuela, it stores well and produces year-round. It is one of the main crops grown for consumption today, the country produces over 500,000 tons every year.
Venezuelan Tajadas Recipe
- Ripe plantains - 2
- Vegetable oil - 1 to 2 cups
- Pour the vegetable oil into a large frying pan set to medium high. The oil should be deep enough that it will be at least an inch taller than the plantain pieces when you fry them.
- Slice a shallow cut lengthwise across the peel of the plantain. Peel off the skin.
- Cut the ripe plantains diagonally into slices about a 1/2-inch thick. Do this carefully as unpeeled ripe plantains are very slippery.
- Working in small batches and being careful not to crowd the pan, gently slide the plantains in the oil.
- Fry the first side until it turns golden brown. Turn each plantain over to brown the second side, about another minute.
- When both sides are golden, remove the pieces using a slotted spoon so that the oil dripping off the pieces can be drained back into the pan below.
- Put the fried plantains on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Best served while hot or still warm.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2206Total Fat: 218gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 6gUnsaturated Fat: 192gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 12mgCarbohydrates: 75gFiber: 6gSugar: 34gProtein: 2g