Friday, January 25, 2008

Is a Case of "Plantain Envy" Driving You Bananas?

I used to have a serious case of "plantain envy." I'd be standing in the supermarket checkout line, and the person ahead of me would be placing their big, bunch of plantains on the belt. I would glance down sheepishly at the puny bananas in my basket, suddenly feeling inadequate. The plantain dwarfed my banana in both length and girth. But, I was too afraid to try - not knowing what to do with them, not knowing if I would enjoy them. If only I had known how easy to prepare, and delicious to eat, these tropical giants were!

Well, eventually I had these fried at a Cuban restaurant, and they were delicious! I was shown how to prepare them properly, and I've loved them ever since. Unlike bananas, plantains are not eaten raw. Unless they are extremely ripe, with black skin, the flesh is way too firm and starchy to eat uncooked. In this video recipe I did for About.com, I'll show you the traditional method for preparing the fried plantains, or "tostones," as they are called in Latin America. These would make for an interesting appetizer at your Super Bowl fiesta. I also show a quick dipping sauce that works great with these. Enjoy!
Click here for the transcript and ingredients.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cool! I've always wanted to try these. TY

lily said...

Lol.. very funny post (I was a Psych major). You are quite "creative."

fold my laundry please said...

I had a roommate from Ghana who used to cook up fried plantain quite often. It was quite a treat for us!

SM said...

This is so timely, seeing as how I have plantains in my fridge...(although I'm not going to fry them exactly the same way, the sauce suggestion is excellent.)

scallywag said...

Okay, now my supermarket only supplies green plantains, if I buy these, how long would I have to wait until they turn brownish/yellowish, and does the trick of putting them next to apples speed up their ripening process, thanx

Chef John said...

Green are fine! In fact that's the most common state to make these. The only ones that dont really work are the really dark, softer ones. The inside is the key. As long is its firm and you can slice it, its OK.

The green ones may take a bit longer to cook however. But, you can test a few. Good luck.

Wendell said...

Another great vid Chef John,

many thanks and keep up the good work!!!

Jairus said...

man these were so tasty!

milkshake said...

Two words: Plantain Enhancement

To give your friends even worse case of plantain-related envy, you best won't tell them about the double-frying + segment-squashing trick. Let them believe you actually cut those from your maxiplantainus gigantei that grows to be 4 feet long and has gith 4 inches across...

milkshake said...

Two words: Plantain Enhancement

To give your friends even worse case of plantain-related envy, you best won't tell them about the double-frying + segment-squashing trick. Let them believe you actually cut those from your maxiplantainus gigantei that grows to be 4 feet long and has gith 4 inches across...

Wendell said...

What kind of 'oil' are you using ??

Chef John said...

i used canaola, but almost any veg or peanut oil will work

CharGeorge said...

In my Dominican Neighborhood they call these "Tostones." I can't imagine a more perfect compliment to cuban sandwich personally :).

Alternatively most restaurants also serve Maduros, which is the REALLY ripe, nearly black plantains, then fried till they are all carmalized sugar and love.

http://icuban.com/food/platanos_maduros.html

Chuck said...

I feel the same way - I have no idea what to do with a plantain. But, always wanted to try something. I'll give your recipe a try.

Anonymous said...

you know you can use the almost black soft ones too...

but instead of tostones they are called "sweet plantains" or "amarillos" as we call them

just saying black ones aren't good is wrong ;)

Chef John said...

I only meant not to use the black ones in context of this demo. For someone doing it for the first time I wanted them to buy the firm plantians which are the type used in this dish. I have no problems with the ripe ones, but it is a different result and harder to work with if really soft. Thanks.