Smashed and deep fried pieces of plantain served with pico gallo or hogao. What is PLANTAIN? Plantains are Musa or green, cooking bananas. Cooking bananas are a major food staple and source of starch across the Equatorial zones of the world including West and Central Africa, the Caribbean islands, Central America, and northern, coastal parts of South America. In Colombia, fresh green plantains are peeled, cut, squashed and fried into patacones, and when mature, they are baked into a common dessert called platano maduro. The leaves are also used as the wrapping for tamales.