Alloco is a very popular dish from Ivory Coast and many of the Ivorian narrative centers around a plate of Alloco. It is a dish of fried ripe plantains and it is typically eaten in the afternoon usually with fried Tilapia and, or with Atieke (Ivorian dish of granulated cassava that resembles couscous). Alloco is also made in surrounding African countries like Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, etc., although with slight variations like the sauce or accompaniments, however for the most part it retains its essence. In some Latin countries that also prepare it, they are called plantanos maduro which translates to sweet plantains.
Alloco is our version of fast food, as you would perhaps opt for fries or nuggets; the Ivorian would get some Alloco. Since it is a fairly simple dish to make, there is no shortage of places that make it, called Allocodrome. They are typically small makeshift roadside restaurants; however some tend to be fairly structured with a kitchen, sitting areas and a wait staff. The atmosphere and crowds usually define the popularity of an Allocodrome, not necessarily a fancy set-up or location and off course a well-prepared meal doesn’t hurt either.
I love Alloco and I try to make it often, normally in the summer when ripe plantains are readily available. If you live near NYC I would recommend getting your plantains either from Bodegas or West Indian Supermarkets.
Below is my recipe for Alloco, try it out.
You’ll need: – 4 Ripe plantains (to serve 2) -Vegetable oil -Salt -Strainer ladle -Deep frying pan (I prefer to use a wok) -Paper towels (To absorb the excess oil) -Deep bowl -Large flat serving plate (optional) Prep work: -Peel the plantains and either dice them or make small round cuts. (*shown below left)
-Place them into a bowl and salt them. -Place a few paper towels on a large serving plate. Cooking: -Pour a generous amount of vegetable oil in a deep frying pan or wok and preheat. – When hot, carefully place your plantains into the oil; use your strainer ladle to gently stir to ensure that all sides fry evenly to a nice golden brown. -Slowly remove your cooked plantains from the oil with your ladle and place them onto your serving plate. -Leave it to cool and they are ready to eat. Enjoy!