Fry and fry again? Seriously? These famously twice-fried green plantain discs are crunchy crisp on the outside with a softer inside. All you need is a sprinkling of sea salt on top and stack a heap of them along with some dipping sauce for unlimited snacking. Great party appetizer contender!! But then again, these tostones are your starchy side when you go all out for a Latin meal night. Read on how to make these golden plantain nuggets people in Latin and Caribbean countries swoon over every single time.
Plantains are such an integral part of African, Caribbean, South American, Latin American and Indian cuisines. These green or yellow fruits are loved wholeheartedly, depending on how ripe or unripe they are. They look like larger bananas, but bananas are more sugary, while plantains are on the starchier side. That is why they are mostly eaten after cooking, and there are hundreds of ways to prepare this wholesome fruit. The easiest and quickest is to fry them. No Batter, no dredging, no coating, just plain plantain pieces. FRY… SMASH… FRY AGAIN… EAT!! SOUND EASY? THAT’S TOSTONES FOR YOU!!
What are tostones?
Pronounced as Tos’tonees, they are slices of unripe plantain fried, flattened and then fried again. If you go around the streets of many Latin countries, they are the most popular snack you will come across. They are known as tostones in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Venezuela. They are called patacones in Cuba, Costa Rica , Columbia, Peru. And in Haiti they are bananes pe’sees. Whatever the name for these crispy round discs, they are an integral part of their food culture. The origin is unclear, but most believe they originated in Puerto Rico. Usually tostones are salted and eaten much like potato chips or fries, and are accompanied by some kind of guacamole or salsa. They also go great as a side dish for a Latin meal.
We decided to try our tostones with a creamy green avo-cilantro sauce, and it was perfect!
All you need …
- Green unripe plantains
- Sea salt
For quick & easy green avo-cilantro sauce
- Sour cream
- Salt and pepper
Tips to help you fry these nuggets like a local
The first tip is finding the right plantains. This depends on your preference. Completely unripe, bright green plantains are starchier and less sweet. Once they start to ripen and have little black spots on the skin they will be sweeter. Both varieties are popular, depending on the country, but keep this in mind when selecting your plantains.
The second tip is having your frying oil at the correct temperature. It’s more of a shallow fry, with 1 inch of oil. If it’s not hot enough, you will get soggy tostones, as they will just soak up the oil. Too much heat can burn the outside without cooking them through. 325°F is perfect. If you don’t have a way to measure it, you can test it with a piece of plantain. It should happily start bubbling right away.
Let’s cook this quick !
Peel your plantains and slice them into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces.
In your preheated oil, cook your little plantain nuggets on both sides till light brown about, 4-5 minutes, flipping halfway through. Take them out and drain on a paper towel. Now they are soft and ready to be smashed.
While they are still hot, smash them flat to about ½ inch with the back of a large spoon or mallet. In many Latin households you will find a special wooden gadget called “tostonera” to smash them into little discs.
Now they can go back in the hot oil for the second fry, where they finish cooking. This will only take about 3 minutes. You just need to get them crispy and golden brown. Take them out, drain on a paper towel, sprinkle with some sea salt and serve!!
Whip up a quick avo-cilantro green sauce
Just cut your avocado scoop out the pulp. along with all other ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until nice and smooth.
How to serve these golden discs?
Every country serves them differently, from street food to finger foods to party foods to sides for their main dishes.
- You can stack them together and serve with our creamy avo-cilantro green sauce. That’s all you need when the tostone craving hits hard.
- For a smoky kick, whip up our chipotle mayo.
- Dip them in yummy guacomole, guasacaca or any type of salsa, like our mango salsa.
- Serve them with a fresh and garlicky mojo marinade, which makes a great dipping sauce.
- They are a perfect starchy side dish for many Latin dishes like barbacoa pork, pollo guisado or picadillo. It’s very common to get a heap of tostones along with your mains in many Latin restaurants.
- For more ideas, check out my roundup of best Caribbean Recipes.
Can I bake them instead of frying?
Yes you can. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper and arrange. Nicely coat the plaintain pieces with oil and arrange on baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt then bake 10 minutes, or until slightly browned on the bottom. Remove from the oven and slightly mash each of the planitain slices. Place them back on the baking sheet with the brown side up. Lightly brush with oil and bake another 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
How long you can store leftovers?
Boy, they will barely last long enough to be served with the meal. Usually they get finished right out of pan, eaten standing at the stove! They are best eaten piping hot. We won’t recommend storing them, as they might turn soggy and stale.
Can I make them ahead of time?
One good thing about these is you can do the first fry ahead of time and set them aside till your guests come. The flavor and texture is best immediately after they’re pulled out after final fry.
You can also make them in bulk. Do the first fry, smash them and cool to room temperature. Freeze them in a single layer on a pan, and once they are frozen transfer them to a ziploc bag or airtight container. You can also store them in a refrigerator if you are re-frying them in a day or two. Whenever you want to make tostones, just take them out and fry on both sides for 3-4 minutes till crispy and brown.
Why go with regular chips when you can make these tasty Latin flavors in less than 30 minutes? Tostones… tasty… tempting… tantalizing!
Tostones, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 4-5 unripe plantains
- 1 cup oil
- Sea salt
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp
- black pepper
- Peel plantains and cut into 1 - 1½ inch slices.
- Heat oil in skillet to 325°F.
- Fry plantains 4-5 minutes, flipping half way through.
- Remove from skillet and smash to about 1/2 inch thick. Return to pan a fry and additional 3 minutes.
- Place tostones on paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Cut avocado in half and remove skin and seed.
- Place avocado pulp and all other ingredients in blender and food processor and blend until smooth.
For a lighter version, try my baking method!
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 477Total Fat 33gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 28gCholesterol 4mgSodium 119mgCarbohydrates 49gFiber 5gSugar 21gProtein 2g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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