Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Common Plantain in Peanut Sauce

Plantain was one of the first wild edibles that I learned.  There are two types that grow in this area, Common and English.  Common plantain is the type with the wide leaves while the English variety has narrow leaves.  Once you connect the picture to the name, you will see these everywhere.  English plantain tends to linger all winter, though the color turns a bit muddy green.  You can actually dig through snow and still find it, if you were desperate.  Common plantain disappears and does not return until spring. It is more tender.

This is a great plant to know for relief from skin irritations.  You can chew the leaves and place the wad of green pulp on a bug bite to take away the sting or itch.  However, making a salve out of it is much preferred.  I use the salve on everything and am always amazed about how well it works.  I prefer to use the English plantain for salve and the common plantain for eating. 

Both types have lines or veins that run the length of the leaves.  Within each vein is a string, which makes eating a whole leaf unpleasant.  However, if you cut against the grain of these veins so that you have strips of green leaf to cook, you will not even notice a string.  You want to choose the youngest leaf available as they are the most tender.

Common Plantain in Peanut Sauce


1 gallon baggie of plantain leaves
salt for boiling water

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons of rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t dried ginger

handful peanuts for garnish (optional)


Bring a pot of water to boil.  Wash plantain.  Stack leaves to slice against the grain of the leaves into strips.  Repeat until all leaves are cut.  Boil in salted water for 10 minutes.

In a sauce pan, add remaining ingredients (except peanut garnish) and mix until smooth.  Heat until warm.

Drain plantain and mix in peanut sauce.  Place into serving dish and top with loose peanuts for garnish.

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