Aruban Sweet Plantains (Banana na Bilga)

Sugar cane, native to Southeast Asia, first made its way to the New World with Christopher Columbus during his first voyage to the Dominican Republic, where it grew well in the tropical environment. Noting sugar cane’s potential as income for the new settlements in the Americas, Europeans’ quickly began growing it on the other Caribbean Islands.

When the tropical plantain fruits native to the islands were cooked with the newly arrived sugar on Aruba, a truly wonderful dessert emerged.

Banana na Bilga - Aruban Fried Plantains in Brown Sugar

Banana na Bilga – Aruban Fried Plantains in Brown Sugar

Plantains are typically starchy when unripe (or green) and sweet when ripe (yellow or turning black). In this famous Aruban recipe, sweet ripe plantains are bathed in brown sugar and wine, spiced with cinnamon, and then sautéed in butter to delicious perfection. This is a true taste of Aruba that may be served as a side dish or a dessert.
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Course: Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine: Aruba, Caribbean
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Heavy skillet or frying pan


  • 3 large Extra-ripe plantains
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 3 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp Water
  • 3 tbsp Port wine
  • tsp Cinnamon


  • Prep – Cut ends off plantains and make a slit lengthwise into the outer peel. Peel away the sides of the slit. Slice each peeled plantain in half lengthwise. In a bowl, mix together brown sugar, water, port wine and cinnamon.
  • Cook – Heat butter in skillet over medium heat. Add sliced plantains and sauté until golden brown on both sides. Pour brown sugar mixture over cooked plantain halves and simmer gently until the liquid becomes a thick syrup. Serve immediately as is, sprinkled with powdered sugar, or with a scoop of vanilla iced cream.


  • If ripe plantains are not available, semi-ripe bananas (yellow skins) can be used.


Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 90mg | Potassium: 682mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 1517IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg

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