Edited by 1love4ever - 3/29/14 at 12:25am
I don't know that I would consider them based on what is better than the other. They are both coconut but very different products with different applications. I can cook with coconut oil but coconut butter is a "butter" in the same sense as peanut butter. I have read you can replace about 50% of your the fat in baking with coconut butter. Not sure this is helpful....They are just different products.
Well, they are related, obviously. But a plantain is eaten in a variety of manners, typically where you might find a potato on a US table, although it has a different flavor. The greener the plantain, the starchier it is, the blacker the plantain, the sweeter it is... a yellow plantain is fairly balanced between sweet and starch. Plantains need to be cooked - you can peel a green/yellow plantain, cut it into chunks, boil it and treat it just like a potato. Mash it, put it in soups, whatever. A more yellow/black plantain is softer and sweeter. Not usually good for soups, but I do still like them mashed (with garlic and bacon for mofongo). Or you can slice them and pan/shallow fry them for a sweeter side dish (served with sour cream). Because of it's natural sweetness, you can use a black plantain much like you would a banana in baked dishes. But because of the starchiness they hold their structure better than a banana. So you can slice a plantain in half longwise, drizzle it with honey and nuts, add a bit of butter and roast it until it's soft, and it will still have some texture to it. Do the same thing to a banana, and it's liable to be so much mush that you're just going to need a spoon. When I have too many plantains, I either make a big batch of mofongo or I make a dessert out of them - plantain, honey, heavy cream, nuts, cover with foil and bake until tender. It's not super sweet, but it's very satisfying.
Yes to everything Cristeen said. We don't do sugar at all, so I like to have plantains around if I'm desperate for something dessert-y. I thinly slice yellow-turning-black plantain and pan-fry it in coconut oil, then sprinkle with cinnamon. Like a less sweet version of bananas foster. But I'm now inspired to make mofongo!