This is my recipe for Ecuadorian tortillas de platano verde, which are green plantain patties or savory cakes stuffed with cheese (or other fillings). Have I mentioned before how much I love the mix of green plantains and cheese? Probably thousands of times, but I don’t get tired of repeating it. These green plantain patties are made with a green plantain dough, that is basically the same dough as I use to make green plantain empanadas. I just add an additional cooked plantain, since the dough for the patties can have a higher ratio of cooked plantain to raw plantain. I included a list of tips for making the dough on the original empanada recipe, you can read them in more detail there, but the high level summary is that I simplify the recipe by using a food processor. I also find that at least here in the US, where the plantains aren’t always as super green as they are in Ecuador, it helps to add an egg to the dough. Again, that isn’t at all the traditional way, but rather just another one of my carishina (a Quechua term for someone who has no hope in the kitchen or anything domestic) cooking techniques or hacks. This variation of the dough is very simple, some other versions will also add some refrito or sofrito to the dough mix (similar to how you would make llapingachos) or ground peanuts (similar to a bolon).
The plantain patties are stuffed with cheese and then cooked on a griddle, or a frying pan, until golden and crispy. My favorite way to make these tortillas de verde is to stuff them with cheese, however you can make them with other fillings, from chorizo to pork belly, seafood or pretty much anything that you think would work as a filling. I love serving these green plantain patties with a variety of sauces or topping options. Some of my favorites include aji hot sauces, such as the traditional tree tomato aji or the aji criollo. I also really like serving them cebollas encurtidas or pickled red onions, or the close variant of onion and tomato curtido. Recently I also tried serving them with a creamy avocado sauce (or a chunky avocado salsa or regular guacamole) and have to say that it goes really well with the tortillas de verde. My friends from the coastal areas of Ecuador will probably consider it borderline food heresy, but hey, as a Serrana (person from the Highlands) I can get away with the “I put avocado on everything” excuse.
Ecuadorian green plantain patties stuffed with cheese, also known as tortillas de verde, made with a dough of green plantains, a cheese filling (or your choice of filling), and cooked on a griddle or frying pan.
- 5 green plantains
- 2 tablespoons of butter, plus more to rub on hands when making the dough
- 1 egg or a few tablespoons of water from cooking the plantains
- ~ 1 teaspoon of salt
- ~1 ½ cup of crumbled quesillo or queso fresco, can also use grated mozzarella cheese
- Other filling ideas include: chorizo, chicharrones or fried pork belly, shrimp, beef or pork picadillo, or any other filling you would like to try – just make sure the fillings are previously cooked (except for the cheese)
- Onion and tomato curtido salsa
- Avocado sauce
- Aji de tomate de árbol or tree tomato/tamarillo hot sauce
- Aji criollo
- Wash and peel the green plantains under running cold water, this helps prevents stain from the plantains.
- Cut four of the plantains in half. Keep the remaining peeled plantain in a bowl of cold water.
- Bring water to boil in a large saucepan and add the 4 plantains. Cook until tender, about 30-40 minutes. Exact time will vary based on the size and greenness of the plantains.
- Remove from heat and let the cooked plantains sit in the water they cooked in until they are cool enough to handle (but still warm), if you remove them from the warm water they will get too hard.
- In the meantime, grate the remaining raw plantain using a very fine grater.
- Place the cooked plantains in a food processor and pulse until you have a thick coarse mix. Add the egg and butter or oil, and pulse until the ingredients are well mixed and the dough is a little smoother. If you don’t have a food processor, you can mash or grate the cooked plantains and then mix them with the egg (lightly whisked) and the butter.
- If using the food processor, remove the plantain mix and place it into a large bowl. Rub your hands with a bit of butter or oil, and mix in the finely grated raw plantain and ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt (adjust based on how large the plantains are and your level of tolerance for salt). Use your hands to work the dough until you have a smooth mix. If the dough is very dry or too sticky, you can add a bit of the cooking water from the plantains – you will likely need to this if you didn’t use an egg.
- Shape the plantain dough into several small size balls.
- Make a hole in the middle of each plantain dough ball and fill it with the cheese or your choice of filling.
- Carefully shape the dough into thick patties with the cheese in the center. The plantain patties can be cooked immediately or you can keep them in the refrigerator until ready to cook them. They can be made 24 hours in advance. Just bring them to room temperature before cooking them.
- Cook the plantain stuffed patties on a lightly greased hot griddle or in a frying pan with a small amount of oil, until golden on each side.
- Serve the tortillas de verde or green plantain patties warm with your choice of toppings or sauces.