Ndizi Kaanga (Fried Plantains)

Ndizi Kaanga (Fried Plantains)

As Ma Vicky taught us, plantains are a huge part of Tanzanian cooking, and there are tons of varietals and different ways of preparing each. These simple fried plantains are best made with bright yellow plantains that are somewhere in between the firm, starchy-green under- ripe plantains and the super-soft, super-sweet, almost-black overripe plantains. Fried in a little butter (or ghee) and finished with a splash of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of both salt and nutmeg, these plantains ride the line between sweet and savory. Serve on their own for a snack or alongside Zanzibar Pilau, cooked vegetables, and grilled meat or fish for a complete meal. You could even sprinkle them with a bit of brown sugar as they cook, finish them with a splash of rum, and serve with vanilla ice cream for a Tanzanian version of bananas foster.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or ghee)
  • 2 large yellow plantains, peeled and cut into 1-inch-thick pieces on the diagonal
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Place the butter in a large nonstick skillet set over medium- high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the plantain pieces and cook until dark brown on the undersides, about 2 minutes. Carefully turn each plantain and cook just until the second sides are lightly browned, about another minute.
  2. Transfer the plantains, cut sides up, to a serving platter and drizzle with the lemon juice and sprinkle with the salt and nutmeg. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored in a container in the refrigerator for up to a few days and warmed in a skillet before serving.

Reprinted with permission from In Bibi’s Kitchen by Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen, copyright © 2020. Photographs by Khadija M. Farah & Jennifer May. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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