How do you make the sweet fried plantains (and not ones that taste like potato chips)?
- Sunshine Girl Jan 20, 2005 02:41 PM
Ever been to a Cuban, Latin-American, or other kind of place and ordered plantains, and what has come out has been something more along the lines of a dessert...super sweet, dark or golden brown, so tender, where it almost melts in your mouth?
Well, I want to know how to make those.
I had one ripe plantain at home, and decided to experiment, but what I ended up with were hard, potato-chip like plantains, that seemed almost chalky. Maybe the secret is in the plantain, and I need to find a specific kind that will give me the sweet effect I am looking for? I've had plantains at a restaurant where they were more along the lines of chips or something similar, and that's just not for me. I like them sweet.
Any recipes, tips or suggestions are MOST welcome.
You have to start with a beyond ripe plantain (the blacker the better).
If you start with a green plantain, you will get the chip-like plantain you described.
As the plantain ripens, the sugars start to break down and when you cook it, the sugars will caramelize. That gives you the texture and flavor you are after.
By the way, the fried green plantains are called tostones, the fried ripe ones are called maduros.
Yup! That is what we call plantains in 'Mexican' Spanish... Maduros...
I always go for one that has lots of black spots... but is not completely black. Then add a little neutral oil in a non stick pan. I fry them slowly... so they don't end up crisp and they caramelize completely... One side, then the other... They are of course best served when hot and the Mexican way is to eat them with Mexican table cream... YUMM!!!
This is the way my mother-in-law cooks them (having picked up the method when she'd lived in El Salvador for 25 years before moving back to Northern Italy) -- frying slowly in oil. As they fry, the color changes into a nice yellow. My husband puts sugar on his at the table.
Put 'em in a paper bag, in the oven ('off' of course) and allow them to become REALLY ripe! (as black and soft as they can get) Peel, slice at 45 degrees and fry in BUTTER. The stickier, the better. Even the 'dark' ones will taste great.
When I lived in Panama, people used to boil them before frying them in butter, with cinnamon sticks and sugar.
I agree the plantains should be pretty completely black to avoid the woodiness problem, and that they should be sauteed slowly. My other suggestion is to slice them lengthwise, or in the case of a large one cut it in half then lengthwise. I find they soften up better that way as they cook.
Allow them to get really ripe. Slice on the bias, 3/8th inch thick. Flatten slighty. Regular breading procedure, except finish with crushed Capain Crunch cereal, and deep fry. You will be suprised.
I like to add either a little brown sugar or maple syrup at the last minute of frying. Thank you.
Maduros need to be very very ripe (maduro) before frying. Way past black spots; you want almost uniformly black, possibly even with a little white bloom on the skin. These are not regular guineos (bananas), so the close cousin's skin color is not relevant in determining whether the starch inside has turned to sugar. They should be a little soft to the touch, but not squishy. Same as, for example, a ripe avocado. Look for smooth, glistening, yellowish flesh inside. Discard anyparts that are black or slimy (too ripe) or white or powdery (too green). For maduros, picking the plantain is the hard part. Cooking is easy. If you find some good ones, simply slice on an angle and fry in butter (or lard).
You will need to look for maduros that are already quite dark. The likelihood of maturing a yellow platano at home to an acceptable state is not high.
The problem is, the unripe platanos often become "basmado" as they say in Oriente de Cuba -- i.e., they go from unripe to rotten without ever becoming ripe. Check Carribean grocers for good ripe plantains.
As for tostones, picking the plantains is the easy part, and cooking is the tough part. To make acceptable tostones, the firm strachy plantain slices must be soaked in salt water, fried, smashed, then fried again before seasoning. Otherwise, they pretty much suck.
First buy plantains from colombia they are long and dark yellow with black spots! Then cut them in 3/4 " thick. Then fry them back and front until they turn a brown color, They will be sweet and soft! Have Fun
I used to work in the Bahamas and we had fried sweet plantains all the time- except they came frozen, perfectly ripe for tossing in the deep fryer or pan... if you have a really good Latin market nearby they may sell them frozen by Goya. No peeling, no ripening, always perfect!
Otherwise wait until they are black with the fresh ones. Good luck!