Plátanos al Caldero (Caramelized Ripe Plantains) is not a dessert. You heard right. It's a side dish that pleases our taste for mixing sweet and savory.
Do you remember the saying "we're all unique"? You need to know other cultures to understand and appreciate your own. Try these Plátanos al Caldero (Dominican Sweet Plantains) and you'll find something that is both unique to the Dominican Republic and shared with a lot of countries.
We are not the only country with a penchant for mixing sweet and savory in our meals. In fact, Danes serve a similar dish to this one, made with summer potatoes, which are served caramelized. It adds a touch of sweet to the Danish meal, although more discreet as potatoes are not as sweet as ripe plantains.
Several Asian countries add sugar or fruits to their foods in an attempt to tame the fiercely spicy flavors in their cooking. And, of course, we must mention that both Puerto Rico and Cuba also serve ripe plantains with their meals.
Is Plátanos Maduros al Caldero a dessert?
No, they aren't. But if you didn't read all of the above you would suspect we misplaced this recipe and put it with the side dishes instead of the desserts.
It wasn't a mistake. As a matter of fact, this is a favorite Dominican side dish (and there are other similar ones). Sure, Dominicans might have overdone it a bit on the sweet side with this one, but this really is a crowd-pleaser and for a reason.
About this Dominican sweet plantains recipe
The twist to my recipe for plátanos maduros al caldero (caramelized plantains) is rum. It's not a traditional touch, but not unheard of either.
These are grown-up plantains, but if you want to serve them to children or anyone who would object to the rum, feel free to leave it out.
Try it, I assure you that you'll like it. 10 million people can't be wrong.
Plátanos al Caldero - Recipe & Video (Dominican Caramelized Ripe Plantains)
- 2 very ripe plantains (see notes)
- 4 cinnamon sticks cut into 1" pieces
- 4 tablespoons of oil
- 1 cup of water
- 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons of rum (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- Peel the plantains and cut into halves.
- Stick the cinnamon into the plantains.
- In a skillet heat the oil over medium heat, add the plantains and fry and rotate until golden brown all around.
- In a separate container mix water, sugar, rum, and salt.
- Pour this mix into the frying pan (careful with splatters!).
- Lower the heat and cook and rotate until the liquid turn into syrup left and 2/3 has evaporated.
- Serve immediately.