Plantains are as ubiquitous to West Africa, as potatoes are to America. They belong to the same family as bananas Although they are fruits, they are often cooked and treated as vegetables. In West Africa, the green unripened version is typically boiled and served with a side of savory tomato-based stew. The yellow ripened version is typically deep fried, boiled, or grilled. On the other hand, the black over-ripened version is turned into a batter and made into plantain pancakes, beignets or cakes.
The sweetness intensity of plantain increases as it ripens from the green version to the black version, as the starch component is converted into sugar during the ripening process. An unripened green plantain weighing 270g, will have ~85g of starch and ~6g of sugar. On the other hand, once ripened, the starch content decreases to ~32g, while the sugar content increases to ~47g (Data: USDA FoodData Central).