The first time I had tostones was about twelve years ago at a wildly popular Cuban restaurant called Cabana, located in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens, NY. I thought it was the most delicious way to have green plantains prepared. It was crunchy on the outside and mushy on the inside and the dipping sauce was to die for. As I reported to many of my Hispanic friends about this wonderful appetizer/snack I ate, I quickly came to understand that they are not specific to Cuban fare, but are as equally a part of, and recognized by many other Hispanic cuisines. I couldn't believe my mother or father had never made these growing up, they were after all, a unique alternative to plantain chips, which we made on a weekly basis. After making these for the first time many years ago, they have since become a regular appetizer at my house whenever I am entertaining.
Plantains are so popular because of how versatile they are. In Guyanese cuisine, we boil, fry, mash, and even bake them. I have seen them most popularly served in soup, fried as chips, and mashed to make plantain fufu. Plantains are great to keep in the house, there are various ways to cook them if they are green, but if they happen to turn ripe, they can also be boiled, fried, and baked.
If you'd like to learn more about tostones or plantains feel free to visit these sites:
Aunt Clara's Kitchen - Dominican Cooking
All about Plantains from about.com
My friend Nalini emailed me asking if I had ever eaten a "flat plantain fritter" and if I by chance had a recipe. I knew exactly what she was referring to and also wanted to share the recipe with you, enjoy!
Chops ends off of plantains
Make a faint slit down the back of the plantain, use your knife to gently peel the skin off
Chop plantains into one inch rounds
Heat oil to medium-high heat and fry rounds for 6-8 minutes until golden
This is a tostonera also known as a plantain smasher. I bought this in Florida 3 years ago for $4, you can find them online anywhere from $3-$5. If you don't have one, you can use any canned item in your pantry to do the smashing!
Remove from heat and smash each piece in the tostonera
After smashing all the one inch rounds, fry for a second time until golden brown. Remove from heat, sprinkle salt, black pepper, and garlic powder if you are using it, and set aside to cool
In the meantime, make the garlic dipping sauce
Peel garlic and chop finely
Pour 1/3 cup of olive oil into a mixing bowl, add fresh thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp salt (not pictured), lime juice, and garlic.
Whisk vigorously to incorporate all the flavors
Serve and enjoy!
Tostones with Garlic Dipping Sauce
Yield: 20 pieces
- 3 green plantains
- oil for frying (canola or vegetable)
- black pepper
- garlic powder (optional)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp dried or fresh thyme/cilantro/parsley
- black pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt (not pictured)
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 5 cloves finely minced garlic
- Heat oil to a medium-high heat. In the meantime, prepare the plantains.
- Peel plantains and chop into 1 inch rounds.
- Fry 1 inch rounds for 6 minutes, remove from oil. Drain on paper towels.
- Smash each piece until flattened. Fry for a second time until golden brown. Sprinkle salt, black pepper, and garlic powder if you are using it, and set aside to cool.
- For the garlic dipping sauce, finely chop garlic cloves.
- In a deep bowl, add olive oil, thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, lime juice, and garlic. Whisk vigorously and enjoy with hot tostones.
If you do not own a tostonera (plantain press), you can smash the plantains with any canned item you may have in your pantry.