Hi there! I am so soooo excited to write this post. I can’t even explain it. As I write it, I imagine that you are probably reading this post because you are a plantain lover like me or are curious enough to give it a try and to me that is really awesome.
Another reason why this post is so important is because is one of the first steps I am taking to bring you more authentic content. I mean, everything shared here always comes from myself, my true feelings and opinions but for a while I have been experiencing a shift in who I am, my role in life and what I want to share with you.
It’s crazy how having one baby changes your life and how having a second one changes it even more. I started this blog when my daughter (now 5 1/2) was 5 months old. Then came my son and life got a bit more complicated. I love him in ways words can’t express but having a second child really got things much more busy for me and this is when I started to write less about the things I wish I could write more about. Now that my boy is a toddler and much more independent, I have more time for the blog. Thus my plan is to share more often about my feelings like I am doing now to connect with you in different ways besides food and so that you can get to know my true self. Sounds like a plan?
So let’s start with this Plantains 101 series. There’s a phrase in the Dominican Republic that says: “Yo soy ma’ Dominicana que el plátano” which translates to: “I am more Dominican than the plantain” …. and that’s why I feel this post is simply perfect. I will be honoring my pride of being Dominican, and a Latina mom in the United States trying to inject that passion for culture and love for food to you and my children.
In another post I will give you an overall summary of what is a plantain, the ins and outs, as well as the many ways of cooking it. For now I am assuming you know at least what is it and/or are interested in cooking it at home. If that is your case, it will be important for you to know how to peel the plantain and to have at least one recipe to work with. Lucky you, this is exactly what I will be sharing in this post.
To start let me be completely honest in saying that peeling a green plantain is hard. Not difficult in a way that you should be discouraged of doing so, but it does need practice. I don’t even cook it enough myself to master the art of peeling perfectly every time yet but there are certain tried and true tips that will make it much more simple for you on those first tries. Keep reading to get my tips.
The real trick is getting in the right spot between the plantain flesh and the skin in a way that you can pull it all off. Once you get there you are golden. You can get into this spot with the use of a knife and fingers (like on the images shown above) or you could use a knife and a spoon (This is my secret hack!) like I did in the video below. You got to watch this video to get the idea and see how I do it.
Once the plantain is peeled you’ve conquered the first goal of this post. Go you! Now let’s move into our recipe for how to fry them.
Step 1. cut them into about 1 inch thick round slices
Step 2. Fry them in a preheated oil, making sure they get slightly golden on both sides but not cooked through all the way, nor overly golden in color at this point.
After frying them for a minute or two, take them out and move onto step 3 while they are still hot/warm. They should look similar to the ones shown below.
Step 3. Mash them with a flat surfaced item.
They sell a gadget called a tostonera just for this but I find that a flat surface small item like a ramekin or a mug works wonders. Here is another hack: I place the plantain slices in between a folded piece of wax paper as shown above. This helps with avoiding getting the plantain stuck to the surface you use to mash it.
Your mashed plantain should look like this one below. But no worries, the size and shape does not have to be perfect and they will all look a bit different.
Step 4. Fry the plantains again, this last time you want them crispy and golden. So fry them until your desired look and consistency.
Note: some people like to soak the plantains in salt water before this step. The idea is to shake the excess water and fry them for extra crispy plantains. I have tried this and agree they come out a bit more airy, light and crispy BUT it can be dangerous because of all the oil splashing so I would not recommend it as they are good without the water anyways.
Serve them with a sprinkle of salt and enjoy them as is, with a dip, or as a side.
- 2 plantains
- Oil for frying
- Salt to taste
- Peel the plantains as explained in the post aboce.
- Cut plantain into 1 inch round pieces.
- Fry the plantain rounds on each side in hot oil covered about half way deep. Do not over fry them, just about 1 minute or less in each side.
- Mash each pre-cooked plantain round to form a flat plantain disc.
- Once all slices have been mashed down, fry each disc on hot oil for a minute more on each side or until golden brown and crispy.