Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Homemade plantain chips

Banana chips / plantain chips / vazhaikkai chips / valai kai chips / yethan kaai chips , however we call it, anyone who has tasted the freshly fried chips of Kerala and Tamilnadu will love it :)
During my mom's era, she would make a tin full of plantain chips and keep it handy to serve as snack for our whole big family for the summer vacation picnics :) Variety rices like lemon rice, tamarind rice prepared for picnics would get a facelift with this crunchy chips always. Whenever I make some plantain chips, I fondly remember those days when my mom's sister, my G chithi making these plantain chips in a large yellow container for us all , with the green plantain from our backyard. I know , we all love the foods that have created good memories and that is what encouraging us all to cook happily,

Nowadays getting an air filled pack of chips is easier than going to the kitchen. But still I try my best to make chips whenever we want to buy one. In USA, the deep frying oils come in sale many times a year and I love those sales very much (who wouldn't...hi ..hi ). One plantain will always cost about 19 cents and 1 liter of oil can be calculated to $ 1. In less than $2 + 30 minutes we can get a large quantity of fresh chips.
My version of plantain chips is very easy. Just peel, slice and fry them directly.

Golden yellow plantain chips , prepared at home.

Fry in small batches only. Do not rush and crowd the chips. Then only we can get crispy chips.

The success of homemade chips (plantain or potato), lies in the following:
1. the thickness of the chips
2. The quality of vegetable used. (fresh is the best). Yethan kaai (long variety of banana available in Kerala), is the best. Matured and little ripe is also good. We can see them at Aldi and many grocery stores in USA.
3. Use generous quantity of oil to fry. And also do not crowd the chips while frying. If there are a lot of chips getting fried, then they will become soggy by their own moisture instead of getting fried.
4. Lighter oils are best to fry . e.g., coconut oil, corn oil, Canola etc., . The best thing about coconut oil is , we can reuse that oil after frying.  I add some coconut oil in corn oil (as coconut is very expensive here), to bring out that real flavor :)

Unripe plantain (long variety) - 2 or as per need
oil - 3/4 liter (to deep fry)
turmeric powder - 1 /2 tsp (optional)
salt - 1 tsp
red chilly powder - little for garninshing

Peel the skin of plantain gently , leaving behind some thick skin on.  If using an adjustable type slicer, then set the screw to make medium thin to thick chips for plantain. Slice the plantains and keep handy.
In the mean time , heat oil in a broad wok. Put little turmeric powder and salt in the oil for color and flavor. This is optional only. Sometimes I add salt and pepper after frying only.
Add approximately 10-15 slices of chips and fry till bubbles settle. Using a slotted spatula, mix / flip the chips and fry evenly. Take out and keep on paper towels to drain oil.
Likewise repeat and fry all the chips.
Put the chips in a container and sprinkle little salt and chilly powder. Shake and mix well.
Keep open to cool completely before putting the lid.
Store at room temperature for more than a week.
Plantain chips is ready.

Serving suggestion:
Serve as snack or side dish with any rice.

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Earlier (before bringing my chips slicer from India), I had tried using this shredded shown below.  This type of slicers are available in walmart. They too come handy, but getting the same thickness as Kerala chips is a bit challenging without the wooden chips slicer. But vazhaikkai bajji cannot be sliced with this, as this makes very thin slices only. So I used to slice manually :)

My hubby dear completely helped me preparing this mega batch of plantain chips (2014)

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