I've tried making plantains numerous times.. I found a recipe where you fry them first, smash them and then fry again. Except my plantains were unripe, I guess?? I assumed they were ripe because they were a tiny bit soft. But they did not taste as such after I had cooked them.
So I asked around and was told you need to wait until the plantains are black before you cook them. I bought more plantains and waited for them to turn black. Now they're moldy.
I don't understand. Can someone shed some light on this plantain mystery?
Another thing you can do with the unripe ones is make mangu--mashed plantains. Peel them (carefully with a knife!!) and boil under fork tender (maybe 15 minutes?), drain the water then mash them, adding salt, pepper and some water. While they're cooking sautee lots of onions in a pan and add some white vinegar to them, and serve the onions over the mashed plantains. A dominican friend taught me to make them, so good. They mostly eat it for breakfast but it's also good as a side dish at dinner.
I know it's been a year and a half since your post, Italia84, but I'm wondering if you find that the mashed plantains are very heavy? I made some, using a Cuban mojo (sour orange, garlic, salt and olive oil) while mashing the plantains. They were tasty, but the mash was so dense and heavy. My husband and I agreed that the mash would be fluffier if blended with something else to lighten it. Any thoughts on a 50/50 blend of plantain and russet potato?
There are many ways to cook plaintains.
You seem to be talking about two of the Caribbean approaches.
Tostones - When they are green and rock hard, if they are at all soft, yuck:
Cut into 1.5 inch chunks.
Soak in salt water
Smash flat, give another dunk or to into salt water
Deep fry again
These yield yummy crunchy way better than french fry goodness.
Maduros (from Black/ripe plantains)
The secret to them not getting moldy is to not let them touch each other even better is to hang them in the air individually as they ripen. If they touch anything they often get that nasty pink/grey mold.
Once they are very ripe, cut into two inch chunks and deep fry, sweet yummy goodness.
I keep plantain in a large bowl to ripen but if left alone they get mold. To stop them from molding I rotate them frequently in their bowl and try to allow as much air as possible to the surfaces. The bowl and the skins must be dry.
A bowl is not the best idea, an open shelf or counter would be better, but I think I would still need to pay attention, and I love my bowl of ripening fruit. More fun then a chia pet (though the idea is not to grow anything)
Definitive answer for Puerto Rican, Cuban, or Dominican style plantains:
If you want them sweet, i.e. Maduros:
you must let the plantains get totally black. Don't wimp out if there are still spots of yellow, they won't be sweet enough. You have to be careful them don't get moldy. I keep mine well separated in a straw basket, but I imagine a wire rack would also be good. If there is a spot of mold, often the whole plantains is ruined.
Peel the black plantains carefully, it is tricky cause the skin may stick. Slice on a bias, nice thick slabs, but not so thick that when you fry it will be hard to cook them through.
Fill a pan, I like cast iron, with 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of oil. Heck, you can deep fry the darn things if you want. Get the oil nice and hot, but not so hot that the oil or the plantains burn. Cook the plantains on a lowish flame such that they bubble nicely, but don't burn, or get too dark on the outside too quickly. The trick is you want the inside to cook without scorching the outside. It will take 10-15 minute. They are yummy when they are done.
Proper Tostones are a serious art, not for someone in a hurry.
Start with GREEN plantains. Not yellow.
Peel, slice into chunks between 3/4" and 1" thick, and soak in very salty water for 30 minutes.
Dry off the plantains and deep fry for about 8 minutes, careful not to scorch or burn them.
Remove from the oil. Again soak in salty water for10-15 minutes.
Smash the plantains nearly flat.
Deep fry for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
Allow to drip dry for a minute or two on a rack.
Serve with a nice olive oil, garlic jalapeno mojo.
My favorite way to eat plantains is to let them get very black then peel and slice lengthwise and fry them on low heat till they get nice and caramelized. I eat them with fried eggs and rice and tomatoes. I have a plantain in my kitchen right now that I bought over a week ago and is still not quite ripe enough. Sometime they do get a little white mold on them but you just peel them so the mold gets tossed with the peels.
I've found that storing them in the fridge is *not* a good way to go, since they end up getting dried out instead of soft and sweet. I still haven't been able to get them to go ripe sitting out for me, though... I guess I should give them a squeeze every day to see how they're doing. I've also found that cooking on high heat leaves them with a hard outer shell, so low slow heat seems to be the way to go.
I've been on a quest to cook a decent set of maduros since having some with great chicken at a dominican restaurant, and so far I've only come close. Someone also recommended microwaving them under wet paper towels to cut down on frying time.
Or you can try it the Filipino way: slice in flat lengthwise pieces, wrap in a spring roll wrap, and fry in oil. Drain well. The sweet plaintains caramelize and it makes for a tasty treat. Sometimes, my mother would drizzle a little sugar on the plantain before she wraps it up in the spring roll wrap.
definitely want them to be black and soft. I've never had mine go moldy yet but like Jung said the plantain wont be 100% black
I just fry them once in oil high till they get kinda browned (sort of carmelized on the edges). drain on paper towel and lightly salt
also find works best if you slice diagonally