Recipe: Tostones (Fried Plantains)

Mark Stewart Recipe 20 Comments

Here’s a quick tip: If you’re ever a hungover culinary student roaming the school walk-in cooler for a quick recovery snack: Make sure that banana you grab isn’t a plantain, or you’re going to have a really bad time. Fry them up and make Tostones on the other hand, and you’re good to go.

Plantains are a very close relative to the common banana and are a staple in Latin and Caribbean cuisine. While physically larger, the biggest difference is in the flesh of the fruit itself. Slightly less sweet and considerably higher in starch, plantains are rarely eaten raw.

There are two main ways that they’re typically prepared. The first, and most common, is using a ripened plantain that is slowly roasted which softens the flesh and brings the sweetness forward. This version is usually found alongside Gallo pinto throughout Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

The second method uses slightly less ripened fruit that is flattened and fried into a delicious snack – and a great alternative to French fries! Tostones are found on street corners all over Latin America and much like fries, they’re typically served alongside several dipping sauces.

Below is the traditional double-fried method for cooking tostones, as well as recipes for an avocado crema and a spicy garlic-tomato sauce.

Tostones

Ingredients:

3 green plantains

1 cup vegetable oil

Salt and Pepper
 

Peeling Plantains

Peeling the Plantains

Procedure:

If you have a deep fryer at home, it’ll be the easiest way to cook these. If not, no problem, just heat oil in saucepan on medium high until a meat thermometer reads 350F. Adjust heat accordingly to maintain temperature.*

Unlike a banana, a plantain is a little trickier to peel. Cut ends off and slice the skin lengthwise from end to end. Peel the skin off.

Cut plantain into approx. 1 inch thick pieces.

Slowly add pieces into the hot oil. Fry the plantains in small batches of 5 or 6 at a time. Overfilling will drop the temperature of the oil too quickly and the plantains will absorb oil.

Cook for around 3 minutes per side.

Remove from oil with a slotted spoon onto paper towel, wait for temperature to return to 350F before adding more.

Using a can or jar to flatten each piece into roughly a 1/3” disc.

Return to oil and fry for another 2 minutes each batch. Remove from oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serve warm with dipping sauces of your choice. These are the two we decided to make for the recipe, as we already had the ingredients on hand.

Avocado Crema

Ingredients:

1 Avocado

1/4 cup sour cream

1 clove garlic, minced

1 lime juiced

1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Procedure:

Mash avocado, mix in sour cream and lime juice until smooth.

Stir in garlic and cilantro, season to taste.

Make at least 1 hour ahead of time to allow flavours to meld.

Store in refrigerator for up to a week.

Mediterranean Tomato-Garlic Salsa

Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tomato, diced small

1/4 cup oilive oil

1 lime juiced

1 small red chile, finely chopped (adjust for heat)

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp oregano

Salt and Pepper to taste

Procedure

Mix together all ingredients and season to taste.

Refrigerate for at least an hour prior to serving.

Store in refrigerator for up to a week.

Tomato Relish

Mediterranean Tomato – Garlic Relish

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Comments 20

  1. The avocado crema sounds fantastic! I love anything with avocado. I also like the idea of bringing plantains into my kitchen since that’s not something I would normally cook. This was very detailed and thank you for sharing.

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      Author

      Thanks! The crema is pretty awesome; the nice things about those dips is that they can be used with all kinds of food!

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  2. I LOVE these recipes! I’ve never known how to cook plantains myself but I always order them. Now I can’t wait to try to make them! I enjoy cooking things that remind me of travel I’ve been on. Thanks for sharing!

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      Author

      Thanks! We’ve got a ton to put up in the future, we just need time to actually make them!

      We’ve always loved taking recipes we’ve picked up on our travels and cooking them at home. Like you said, it’s a great way to be taken back to the place you first enjoyed it!

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      Author

      Hahaha! I’m willing to bet that while the chemist may be able to treat the hangover properly, the culinary student will get more creative!

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      Author

      Thanks! We’re hoping to do just that, encourage people to step out of their comfort zone and try new things, especially when it comes to food!

      We’ve got another recipe coming out shortly that also involves plantains. That one using an entirely different cooking method.

  3. The tomato-garlic relish looks so yum, although the fried plantains remind me a bit of pisang goreng, a traditional Indonesian snack. So even I’ve never tried the plantains, I feel like the way how it’s made and maybe how it tastes will be no different with the one that I always have every morning. 😛

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      Author

      Thanks for reading! The relish is great because it can be used with many different dishes. As for the plantains, I may be wrong, but aren’t the fried bananas of pisang goreng sweet? These plantains are the unripe kind with very little sugar. They’re more like french fries!

      But now that you’ve mentioned pisang goreng, I’m craving them!

  4. I love plantains. It seems that every time we have traveled in the Caribbean or Central America that we have had a dish with plantains. I think the Mediterranean Tomato-Garlic Relish sounds fantastic — something I could eat every day.

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      Author

      Yeah, they’re definitely a staple in these parts! The relish is awesome and can be used with almost anything. Even dipping warm bread into!

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