Recipe: Tostones (Fried Plantains)
December 10, 2009
One of the many things I learned from living in Nicaragua for over a year, was how to cook Nicaraguan style. Many people (especially us North Americans) get confused between Mexican food, and that of Central America. The more south you go in Mexico and into Central America, the less spicy the food becomes. Nicaragua borders the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic, and to the north is Honduras, and to the South is Costa Rica. The classification of flavors of the food of Nicaragua, is Caribbean.
Plantains, in fact, are one of the staples of Nicaragua, as they are inexpensive and plentiful. There are several ways to cook plantains, but two variations; mature or “maduro” – with browner skin, and green or “verde”- with very green skin. Plantains differ from bananas in that they contain more starch, like potatoes.
Today we are talking about green plantains. You can sometimes find these in the supermarkets, and the mexican markets almost always have them in stock. A Tostone is basically a fried green plantain, smashed and refried. This will serve as an appetizer or meal for 3-4 people. Here is what you need:
2 green plantains
2-3 cups vegetable oil
First you want to clean and peel your plantains. Cut the tips off of the top and bottom. Peel the plantain just as you would a banana. This process can sometimes be difficult, and sometimes requires you to cut off the peel with a sharp knife. After you get them peeled, wash off all peel remnants. Cut your plantains into 1″ round slices. In a non-stick fry pan, on high heat, heat up your oil until it is hot enough to fry. Place your rounds into the hot oil, one level only. Fry these for about 3-5 minutes until they are golden, then flip each one. Wait another 3 -4 minutes. When you can stick your fork into a round and feel that it is soft, take them all out and place them on a cutting board.
Smashing: Now you are going to take a clear glass coffee mug or cup, and smash each slice so that the sides gush out. Do not smash so much that you flatten the plantain. Do this to all pieces. Now you want to salt the plantains. Then place these back in the hot oil and fry them again on both sides (1-2 minutes per side). They should look golden brown and have a crispy outside. When they are finished place them on a plate with paper towels to sop up the excess oil. Then place them on a plate, and serve with a side of salsa, or queso fresco (mexican cheese). Enjoy.
Stay tuned my recipe for mature plantains.
by Nicolette Patton