I can remember the first time I had fried plantains (Patacones or Tostones depending on where you are from). You have to remember that I grew up on casseroles. Having chicken, rice, and salad to me seemed pretty amazing to me. My mother in law told me we were going to make some fried plantains and I honestly thought she was crazy. Who eats bananas with dinner? Well, now I do 😉 Our family LOVES them! Plantains are a great alternative to eating other starchy foods, and in many places plantains are eaten in place of a potato, being baked or fried. Plantains are a great source of potassium and fiber, and have even more vitamin A and C than regular bananas. Not only are these babies good for you, they are delicious!
I asked my husband to pick up a few plantains at the store. I told him two (usually each person will eat about one plantain with a plate of food), and he came home with two bunches of bananas 🙂 Not to be confused with a regular banana, plantains are a bit larger and are very green. I have never seen them in a bunch at the store, always separate. I usually find them near the mangos.
Here I have a green plantain, one that is a bit more mature, has yellow AND green, and one that is VERY yellow. The greener the plantain, the harder it will be – the closest thing it is compared to would be a potato. The more the yellow, the softer and the sweeter it will be.
When opening a plantain the peel is super hard, so you have to slice it along each of the lines. You want it to go through the peel, but you don’t want it to slice up the banana.
Once you have sliced along each line you will then be able to peel it easily.
You will slice them to the thickness that you would like. We like them to be kinda chunky -you will notice that the greener the plantain, the lighter in color it is. The riper the plantain, the more yellow it will be.
With green plantains you can make the Patacones or Tostones. Both words basically mean “twice fried”. You will first put the plantain chunks in about 1 inch of hot oil (on medium heat) and allow them to cook for about 5 minutes or until they turn a nice golden yellow as pictured below.
Allow to drain on a plate with paper towels or napkins. Then comes the fun! Smashing!
I just love kind people! I was part of a dinner group on Facebook (which is what gave me the idea that I like photographing food more than people) and I shared this meal. One of the ladies that was also part of the group is from Ecuador. I posted the recipe and told the ladies to smash the plantains with the bottom of a cup, plate, or a meat cleaver. This sweet lady was visiting her family in Ecuador that summer and brought me back some of the kitchen tools they use there – one of which was this awesome tool! I was having a bit of a hard day when I got a text saying she had left me this gift on my porch. She was so kind and thoughtful. When we go out of our way for others, we never really know how much it can mean to them. This is something I will never forget.
If you don’t have one of these you can get one similar from Amazon called a Bamboo Tostonera. Some people love the meat tenderizer method – get some of your frustrations out and eat something yummy! OXO Meat Tenderizer also on Amazon is the one that my mother in law has. Or you can do it with the bottom of a glass cup. Totally up to you 🙂
Once you have them smashed you will then add them in a frying pan of hot oil – about 1/4 of an inch. Fry them on med-high for about one to one and a half minutes on each side. Remove from the frying pan and place on a plate with paper towel for them to drain. I always immediately sprinkle them with coarse kosher salt, the salt is a must in my opinion!
Yum! Patacones are so delicious! I have tried doing them in coconut oil as well, and my family liked them just as much as canola oil. It does give it a coconutty taste, so if you like that then you are sure to like them cooked in coconut oil 🙂
Now for riper and sweeter plantains. You will basically skip the first and second step and go straight to frying them in the 1/4 inch of hot oil. Fry about 3 minutes or until they are slightly golden brown. This is the picture of the semi-green plantains fried once only. Golden and semi sweet.
This is a picture of the very yellow and very sweet plantain fried once only.
In my opinion a plantain is the perfect addition to any plate! What is your favorite way to enjoy a plantain?
I will share other ways to prepare plantains in the future – with cheese and baked in the oven, topped with different veggies as an appetizer, and even as a sandwich! All so delicious!
See the Happy!