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Fun with Plantains

I recently returned from a trip to Central America and am now obsessed with cooking plantains. I'd love to hear recipe suggestions -- both savory and sweet. I have made patacones, plantain chips, and sauteed plantains with booze and caramel, and the boyfriend is experimenting with salty-sweet fried plantain "baskets" for desserts.


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  1. Sounds a bit odd, but they are good diced up and microwaved with morning oatmeal.

    1. Of course the standard platanos maduro of pan fried ripe plantains are wonderful. I have used yellow unripe plantains in a vegetable soup. They work like potatoes in that application. Forgot to add tostones to the list

      1. I posted an easy recipe for plantain empananda dough on a recent thread:

        Here is an amazing and simple recipe for plantain empanadas - the result is just slightly sweet.

        3 large yellow ripe plantains (about 2 lbs.)
        1 cup flour
        3/4 teaspoon salt

        cut the ends off the unpeeled plantains. make a shallow incision down their length, then cut crosswise in half. bake on a sheet for about 40 minutes at 350. remove, peel and release steam and cool. place in food processor and puree. add flour and salt.

        1. Search for recipes for sancocho, a Colombian stew, usually with chicken as the main ingredient. Plantain is included with, or in place of, potatoes. As a variation you can pan or deep fry the plantains before adding to the stew to keep them crispy (add just before serving if you do it this way).

          You can also make a plantain version of Bananas Foster. Saute whole or split, very ripe plantains in butter and a generous amount of brown sugar. Top with ice cream, with or without the flaming rum.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Zeldog

            I believe Sancocho is native to the Dominican Republic. My family eats it often out there. It is delicious!

            1. re: libgirl2

              My husband is Dominican and just told me, when I asked him if it was native to the DR, that it is also a Colombian dish. And that the Cubans have something called Ajiaco that is the same thing.

              1. re: MMRuth

                In Colombia we have both sancocho and ajiaco--collectively the national dish. Plantains, cassava, potato, ...chicken...topped with sour cream and capers is best.

          2. Arroz a la Cubana is rice in a sofrito with the addition of a picadillo of pork and beef, topped with a fried egg and fried plantains. Sweet plantains can be dipped in batter and deep fried then topped off with cinnamon sugar. They're also lovely wrapped in an eggroll wrapper, fried and then drizzled with caramel and sesame seeds.

            1. Have you made tostones yet? They are my favorite plaintain item out there. I don't have a recipe per say, but you peel the plaintain and slice relatively thickly on the bias. Then shallow fry on each side till lightly golden and softened. Then dry the plaintain slighlty and mash into a disk. Be careful not to utterly destroy it just flatten till maybe 1/4" thick. Then raise the temp of the oil and fry on each side till golden brown. Serve with a garlic mojo type sauce.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ESNY

                I think in Panama they call tostones patacones. It sounds like we're talking about the same thing, anyway. Another interesting preparation I had, in a Cuban restaurant (the empanadas reminded me of it), were stuffed plantain empanadas with mariscos -- in this case camarones and succulent tender pulpo. On a related note, the wikipedia entry for "empanada" is absolutely mouthwatering. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empanada
                But interestingly, no references to empanadas made with plantain dough.

                1. re: ESNY

                  Okay now my mouth is watering..... my favorite!

                  1. re: ESNY

                    tostones with guacamole are really yummy - something about the sweet, salty, smooth, creamy......

                    1. re: ESNY

                      In the same vein...you can make up tostones OR fry them up nice and thin and use them as you would nacho chips for a beef nacho platter.
                      I've brought this to pot lucks and it's impressive when you make a mound of them...they soak up all the beefy goodness... gets a smidge messy, but it's the price you pay for being the rock star who brought the plantains to the party.

                    2. My favorite plantain recipe is a dish called "pastelon". It's a casserole made with mashed ripe plantains and ground beef ( I call it Dominican shepherd's pie). Here is a link for the recipe. It's from a website dedicated to Dominican cooking. Plantains are a staple of the Dominican diet. Actaully in my little avatar I am eating a late nite/post clubbing snack of a spam-like food sandwiched between two tostones...delish!!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: HungryRubia

                        Oh that reminds me of Chicago's very own plantain contribution: the Jibarrito.Two slices of green plantain are fried until crisp, then covered with a garlicky aioli, roasted pork and trimmings and eaten like a sandwich. There should be a bounty of recipes online as it's very popular in the Puerto Rican community.

                        1. re: JungMann

                          Oooh I found a recipe for the Jibarito on Recipezaar! We don't eat that in the DR but it still sounds delish.
                          Oh and I can't believe I forgot to mention Mofongo as a way to have "fun with plantains". You fry green plantains after slicing them up into rounds (like the first frying when making tostones).
                          After you fry the rounds all the way through, you dump some of the plantains with a garlic mojo and some pork cracklins (chicharron) into a large wooden mortar and pestle (pilon). You mash it up and serve it with a tomatoe-y gravy. It is heaven! For those of you in the NY Metro area, El Malecon on 175th St and Broadway in Manhattan has an excellent version. There are other places in the Heights, like Casa del Mofongo, but Malecon is open 24 hrs.

                      2. In west Africa, they make plantain cakes out of ripe planations, with egg and a little flour. they add crisp fried chopped onions and cayenne pepper(a lot!) and fry them in hot oil, in thin cakes, about like a johhny cake until they are nearly black. These are done on pans, made from barrels with charcoal fires under them on the street and they are just wonderful but then you need to buy a beer to put out the fire in your mouth. they are downright addictive, though.