Patacones,also known as tostones , are fried green plantain slices, and unlike chifles – very thin green bananas or green plantain chips- patacones are thicker and are always made with green plantains (unlike chifles which can be made with green bananas), the most typical way to make patacones is to fry them once, remove them from the hot oil, smash them with a wood mortar and pestle to flatten them a little – the bottom of glass jar or glass also works-and fry them again until crispy.Patacones are very easy to make and probably way past due to be posted here since I’ve mentioned them already as suggested side dishes for quite a few different recipes. My brother Ramon makes some of the best patacones and he finally showed me his secret method: instead of frying them twice, he boils the green bananas first, then he gently smashes them and next he fries them, they are perfectly crispy on the outside but soft on the inside, and unlike the twice-fried patacones they stay this way even when they get cold, the twice-fried ones are great when they’re warm abut can get rock hard if they get cold.
The plantains should be green, a few touches of yellow green is okay, in fact Ramon prefers the ones that are barely starting to get a few hints of yellow green because they are less likely to break or crack too much when smashing them, you have to be careful though because if the plantains are getting ripe you could end up with sweet patacones. Patacones are one of those perfect snacks, especially on a sunny day, they can be eaten alone, with dipping sauces and also as sides for ceviches, seafood dishes, pretty much anything. As a standalone snack or appetizer, I love to serve them with pickled red onions and aji criollo hot sauce.
2 green plantains, use about 1 plantain per person for an appetizer and 1 plantain per 2 people for a side dish – you can get about 5 patacones per plantain
Canola oil for frying
Salt to taste
Optional – crushed garlic, hot pepper powder, other seasonings if desired
- Peel the plantains, the easiest way to peel a green plantain is to make the lengthwise cut on one of the angles, the cut should be skin deep without touching the actual flesh of the plantain, then use the knife to raise the skin and peel it off.
- Cut the plantains into thick slices, you can make straight cuts or slightly diagonal cuts.
- Heat the canola oil over medium high heat in a frying pan – use enough oil to almost cover the plantain slices – or a deep fryer, temperature should be about 350 F, fry the plantains until they start to get yellow, but not golden.
- Remove the plantains and place on paper towels to drain the oil.
- Use the bottom of a glass (or small bowl or a wood pestle) to smash and flatten the plantains, do this gently to keep the slices frombreaking, a few cracks is ok as long as the whole slice remains in one piece. It is best to do this when they are still warm.
- Sprinkle the plantain slices with salt and other seasonings (if using the raw garlic rub it on the slices).
- Reheat the oil, temperature should be about 375 F and fry the plantains until golden on each side, about 1-2 minutes per side.
- Remove from the oil, drain again on paper towels, and add additional seasoning if needed.
- Serve warm as a side dish or as an appetizer with dipping sauces.
Boiled and fried
- Peel the green plantains, cut in half and place in pot with sufficient water to cover them.
- Bring the water to a boil and boil for about 25 minutes or until tender.
- Remove from the heat but the leave the plantains in the water.
- Cut the plantains in thick slices and gently flatten – as much as possible without cracking – with a wood mortar and pestle or the bottom of a glass.
- Sprinkle the flattened plantain slices with salt and seasonings.
- Heat the oil in large frying pan over high heat and cook the plantains until golden, about 2 minutes on each side.
- Transfer to a paper towel to drain the oil.
- Add additional salt and seasonings if needed and serve warm with dipping sauces or as a side dish.