With history and a people so diverse, Panamanian cuisine is often fused with that of its neighbors – Costa Rica and Colombia. Located between North and South America, Panama (the Republic of Panama) is a Central American country, where meals often include a starchy banana-like fruit known as plantains. Plantains may be baked, fried, used as a side dish or as an ingredient in things like stew. I’ve even heard of plantains being called the “potato of the Caribbean.”
If you have a potluck party to attend and want to take along something unique, a Panamanian Stew, studded with plantains, might appeal to you, as well as to those who may not have met a plantain before. Fried plantains, either homemade or store-bought, make fun party food, too. In addition, a sweet Mango Pudding, offered for dessert after the savory stew, would add interest to the menu, as well. The recipe here uses canned mango pulp, easier to find than you might think.
The variety of foods offered in the ethnic food department of our neighborhood markets are getting better all the time. Some of us are even lucky enough to live in places where Asian and Latino markets thrive and are supported the community. Seek them out, and if you don’t find what you are looking for, just ask.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.