Kelewele (Spicy Fried Plantains)

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 15 mins

Kelewele (Kele-wele) are flavorful fried plantain cubes. Simple to make, kelewele are plantain cubes, sprinkled with spices, and fried in hot oil. Kelewele are often sold by African street vendors. Originally from Ghana, kelewele have been popularized in America by several Kwanzaa books and websites. Fresh ginger, cayenne pepper, and salt seem to be the most typical combination of spices used to make kelewele. Some recipes get a little fancier and add ground cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, chili powder, or red pepper flakes. Some replace the water with lemon juice; others use no liquid at all and call for the plantains to be tossed in the dry spices. Letting the plantains marinate in the spice mixture for ten or twenty minutes is also recommended by some. **And if your oil is properly HOT, they won't absorb much oil & be low fat!! And plantains are good fiber. :)

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 4 -6 plantains, bananas, ripe, but not past ripe, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 12 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 12 teaspoon red pepper
  • 12 teaspoon peeled grated fresh gingerroot
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • palm oil (for frying) or vegetable oil (for frying)


  1. Grind together grated ginger root, pepper, and salt, then mix with water.
  2. In a glass bowl toss together the plantain cubes and spice mixture.
  3. In a deep skillet, heat oil (just deep enough to allow plantains to float) to 350 degrees F. Fry plantains, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. (Don't try to fry them all at once; they should not touch each other while frying.).
  4. Drain on absorbent paper, keep in warmed oven until all the plantains are fried. Serve kelewele immediately.
Most Helpful

5 5

I really enjoyed these. Very simple and made a nice snack. Thanks Bethie for another keeper. Made for ZWT7 by a fellow Emerald City Shaker.

5 5

I really enjoy plantains and these were no exception. I did add more spices after reading other reviews. What a treat this recipe was, quick and easy to make with great results. The plantains were crisp, soft, tender and had a nice heat. Thanks for sharing. Made for ZWT7

5 5

Wonderful! I made this over lunch break and it came out very well. It's a great recipe if you're in a hurry. They're not quite like the ones I used to have at school though. Those had more ginger and some other spices. But overall, these were great.