Production of plantain chips is the frying of perfectly sliced ripe or unripe plantain in hot oil until it’s dry, crispy and crunchy. Plantain chips is a form of snacks, desserts or appetizer. The market size is large and wide. Just like plantain, it is a widely acceptable snacks if well prepared. In Nigeria for instance, plantain chips production is big business. People readily substitute flour base snacks for it because, they see it as natural snacks.

This increases market demand which now make it a sort after business. The setting up of plantain chips factory is really simple depending on the size and output envisaged. The process involve in production is so simple that a novice in food technology can produce and start a business on it with little amount. The profit margin is good in relation to other manufacturing businesses. The only precaution to watch out for is the seasonality of plantain in Nigeria.plantain chips production

From April-July, their is always scarcity of plantain and the price is very high. Barely do plantain chips producers break even. To overcome this problem, you can diversify into related products with almost the same production line e.g. potato chips, coco-yam chips, chin-chin.

Production process of plantain chips

However, the production of plantain chips follow definite process line irrespective of how it’s been done. The production line basically follow this Fryer pattern -Peeling, Slicing, Blanching (optional), Frying, Application of Ingredient (Spec), Cooling and Packaging. The way each of these stages is handled depend on the machine installed and the size of the business. There are three methods of producing plantain chips.

a, manual method. b, semi automated method. c, automated method

Manual Method

For a small scale business of plantain chips, manual method will suffice. The process line may go as follows:
Peeling: The anterior and posterior side of plantain are cut with knife and aPeeling deep line is drawn across it length slightly touching the inner fleshy part. Open up the line with the knife and aid it with the thumb. Ripe plantain is easier to peel this way than unripe plantain. Collect peeled plantain in a bowl. Click here to watch a video on how to peel plantain.

Slicing Plantain: There is a mini machine that does this manually. It has a Slicingstationary blade on a solid platform with little opening just under the tip of the cutting edge through which sliced plantain are collected. The peeled plantain is move back and forth on the blade with relative force. The blade is set to cut at predetermined thickness usually from 3mm-6mm.

Blanching: Sliced plantain is collected in a perforated bowl and immersed in water. Stir gently and remove to drain water a little before fry. This reduces the starch content and aid separation and even fry.

Ingredient I: Prepared Salt is applied at this point. (SPEC 1)

Frying: Frying can be done with deep fryer at 250oC to 270oC for 5 to 8mins for unripe plantain and 10 to 15mins for ripe plantain. The color output for unripe plantain is golden yellow while ripe plantain should be light brown depending on the extent of ripening before fry. After frying, drain oil and add the second spec.

Ingredient II:Another spec is added at this stage(pepper, ginger, salt) SPEC 2

Cooling: Spread fried plantain chips on a stainless steel table to cool to ambient temperature before packing. Burnt or damaged chips should be removed at this stage.

Packaging: This depends on your gram size and packaging machine. Just ensure plantain chips are enclosed in airtight container, POP nylon or pouch.

The machine and tools needed for this type of setup are: knife, slicer, dip fryer, stainless steel table, sealer.
RECIPE (Fried Plantain Chips).

Recipe formulations depend greatly on market demands. In Nigeria, spicy plantain chips is really making wave. Customers prefer ripe spicy plantain chips.
1.               Recipe I
Unripe Plantain Chips
(Salt: flavor enhance) (Pepper, ginger) optional (onions) (optional)
Ratio      5       :      1                      5        :     2                        2 bulbs to 30ltres of oil
2.               Recipe II
Ripe plantain chips
(Salt: flavor enhance)  (Pepper: ginger)   (Optional)
Ratio       3   :   0.5                          5       :      2
3.      Vegetable Oil: If a dip fryer is used for frying, the level of oil must immerse the frying basket slightly touching the upper edges of the basket. An average of 20-30 liters of vegetable oil should be enough depending on the size of dip fryer tank.
The specs (recipe) in bracket are to be mixed together in the ratio stated and applied separately. Sprinkling is preferred for even spread. These specs should be collected into a dispenser.

Precautions for Plantain chips Production

1.   Always ensure you buy Honduras species of plantain or low starch plantain. The plantain must be matured and big. If ripe, it should still be firm
2.   Slicing must not be too thick so as to get crispy or too thin to avoid breakage.
3.  Frying temperature must not be too high to avoid burning. Temperature range must be maintained.
4.   Let the chips cool to ambient temperature before packing.
5.   Make sure the sliced plantain is completely immersed in water and stir gently.
Contact us  should you need help or plan to setup plantain chips factory. We shall be on ground to assist you in every area possible from training your staffs to fabrication of machines and installation. Dare to start your own plantain chips production business and build a website to promote it online.

Image credit: chefandsteward