photo by kelly bone
My current assignment is to come up with creative and attractive African inspired appetizers for an event. The first thing that came to mind was kelewele (pronounced kelly-welly), a dish that I know and love from years living in Ghana, West Africa.
West African plantains are the best I’ve ever had. They’re spiked with ginger, garlic, hot pepper and salt. In Ghana they’re deep fried but I like to coat and roast. If you cut them into skinny little discs and stack them up on a toothpick they are transformed from humble nighttime street snack to high class cocktail party item.
- 3 lbs ripe sweet plantains (skin black if possible) sliced into 1/8″-1/4″ rounds
- 1/4 cup avocado oil (or other oil)
- 4 ounces fresh ginger
- 3 ounces fresh garlic
- 1-2 habanero peppers
- 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the plantains in a mixing bowl. In a blender, combine oil, ginger, garlic, peppers and salt. Blend until smooth, and then pour over the plantains, stirring to coat well. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Spread plantains on a parchment lined baking sheet (or two) in an even layer. Roast for about 20 minutes, until edges begin to caramelize. Using a spatula, flip them and continue to roast until they are golden brown and caramelized. Stir once or twice during the process to prevent the outer pieces from burning.
Once cooked, remove from oven. These are best hot but still taste good even as they cool down. If you are serving them as an appetizer, spike three to a toothpick and arrange on a plate with a dusting of sea salt, garlic chives and aleppo pepper.