How to Make Tostones: Fried Plantains Recipe
Plantains are very different from the kind of banana that we enjoy eating raw. These are bananas that are best cooked because of their starchier consistency. They are great for baking, frying, boiling, grilling, and steaming. The best way to enjoy plantains is by making tostones. Here’s how:
The Secret to Making Tostones
There is only one ingredient in tostones and that is plantain. Unfortunately, you cannot use just any other plantain. You have to use the green ones.
Plantains have a very thick peel compared to bananas. Their peel can have different colors that reflect their degree of ripeness. Green ones are unripe and they contain the most starch. They are also sweet. However, the level of sweetness intensifies as the plantain ripens.
Once it starts to ripen, the green peel turns into a yellow hue. Now, the fruit has a sweeter flavor. You will also notice specks of black beginning to form on the peel of the fruit. Overripe plantains will have a black-colored peel. They are very sweet. This occurs because the plantain has already converted most of its starch into sugar.
So, what are tostones? These are twice-fried green plantains. It is crucial to understand that the plantain should be green. There should never be a hint of yellow in its peel. It should also not have specks of black. This is the secret to making authentic tostones.
However, there are those who prefer to use green plantains with a yellowish tinge or minimal specks of black. These will give the tostones recipe a sweeter-than-usual flavor.
The other secret to making delicious tostones is achieving and maintaining the correct temperature of the frying oil. There are those who shallow fry the tostones. The classic way, however, calls for deep-frying the plantain slices. If the cooking oil is not hot enough, there is the chance of the plantain absorbing the oil. This will make it very soggy, not crispy. If the oil is too hot, the plantain can have a burned exterior and an uncooked interior. That is why having a thermometer to check and maintain the temperature of the cooking oil is a must when making tostones.
There is another version of fried plantains that utilizes the black-peeled variety. These are the maduros. They have a much sweeter flavor than tostones, owing to the fact that they have more sugar than starch. The other difference is that you fry them only once.
How to Make Tostones
Learning how to make tostones is quite easy. The ingredients are very simple. You only need to pick the right green plantains to double fry. This Puerto Rican tostones recipe is not only very easy to make. The dipping sauce we included should also make eating tostones a lot more enjoyable.
- 2 pieces of green plantains
- Enough cooking oil to fill about 3 to 4 inches of a fryer
- Salt to taste
- Pour the cooking oil into a deep fryer or a ‘caldero’ and heat it to about 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While waiting for the oil to reach the desired temperature, remove the thick skin of the plantains.
- Slice the plantains into 1 and ½ inch thick pieces. You can place them in a bowl of water while waiting for the oil to reach 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure it reaches this temperature before you begin frying. You can use a digital thermometer to determine the oil temperature.
- Drain the sliced plantains and clot dry them using a paper towel. Make sure to dry the plantain slices very well.
- Add a few slices of the plantain into the hot oil. Do not crown the fryer. Doing so can reduce the temperature of the oil. Fry the plantain slices for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the plantain slices from the hot oil using a strainer or a slotted spoon. Transfer the slices onto a paper towel-lined flattened paper bag. Fry the rest of the plantain slices.
- Get ready to flatten the fried plantains. You can use a tostonera, which looks like a press. You can also flatten the plantains using the back of a spoon or a mallet. An alternative will be to place the fried plantain in between two sheets of paper bag. Press down on the slices using the heel of your hands. Make sure to flatten the slices to at least 1/2 –inch thick.
- Crank up the heat to raise the temperature of the oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Refry the flattened plantain slices for 3 minutes. Fry in small batches.
- Remove the slices from the hot oil and transfer to a bed of paper towels. Sprinkle the slices with salt.
- Serve with a mojito dipping sauce.
How to Make a Mojito for Dipping Tostones
You can enjoy tostones right after frying it twice. However, if you are like the Latinos, you would also want to dip it in a mojito sauce. Not only is this garlic choice the best for dipping tostones, it is also a great companion for aranitas. As a matter of fact, it is an indispensable condiment for plantain fritters and chips. You can also use it as a marinade for pork as well as to add flavor to boiled or fried yucca.
- ½ cup of olive oil (use extra virgin olive oil)
- 3 to 4 whole cloves of garlic
- 3 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Place the garlic cloves in a mortar. Add a pinch of salt and crush into a rough paste using a pestle.
- Add the chopped cilantro and keep on pounding. This will help release the aroma of the cilantro and blend it with the garlic.
- Add the olive oil while grinding the garlic-cilantro mixture using circular movements.
- Add freshly-ground pepper and adjust the taste.
- Pour the dipping sauce in a bowl.
- Serve with the tostones.
Making tostones is easy. Pick the right plantain to fry twice. Green ones are the best. Maintaining the correct temperature of the cooking oil can give you crispy and juicy tostones that are perfect for dipping in a mojito sauce.