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 CookingAll 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!
Tostones with a Garlic Dipping Sauce
- 3 green plantains
- oil for frying (canola or vegetable)
- black pepper
- garlic powder (optional)
Garlic Dipping Sauce
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp dried or fresh thyme/cilantro/parsley
- black pepper to taste
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ 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.