from: Western Africa | cooking method: pan frying


A very popular dish found in the small roadside restaurants of the Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire), Aloco (Alloco, Aloko, or Bananes plantains à l'huile de palme) is plantains, fried in palm oil, plus tomatoes, onions, and chile peppers, usually served with grilled fish.
Note: as in the case with other African dishes made with red palm oil, other oil (e.g., peanut oil) can be substituted; but using red palm oil results in an authentic flavor and color which cannot be duplicated with other oil.

dioula man and wives, ivory coast

What you need

  • red palm oil
  • several ripe plantain bananas, peeled and cut into discs or cubes
  • salt
  • one onion, chopped
  • two tomatoes, peeled (if desired), and chopped
  • one chile pepper, cleaned and chopped (optional)

What you do

  • Heat a cup or two of palm oil in a skillet. Sprinkle the raw plantains with salt. Fry the plantains until they are golden brown. Remove the plantains from the oil and drain on absorbent paper (paper towel). It may be best to fry the plantains in a few batches.

  • In the same skillet and oil in which the plantains were fried, fry the onion, tomato, and chile pepper for a few minutes, stirring often. Add a few spoonfuls of water, reduce heat, and simmer for a several minutes until a thick, chunky sauce is obtained. Some cooks add a splash of vinegar.

  • Place the plantains on a plate, cover them with a grilled fish (see below), and pour the onion-tomato mixture over them.

Many people feel it isn't really aloco unless the fried plantains and onion-tomato sauce is accompanied by a grilled fish. To follow the custom: rub a whole, cleaned fish inside and out with a marinade made from minced garlic, minced fresh ginger, and a bit of oil. Let the fish marinate for fifteen minutes before grilling over hot coals (or, if need be, broiling in a hot oven).

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