The history of Arañitas and Pollo Frito is quite the mystery. Many believe that Arañitas is a Spanish variation on a dish introduced to Puerto Rico by African immigrants. Pollo Frito seems to be the Spanish take on chicken, similar in ways to the many other variations found throughout the world.
Arañitas is a traditional variation of the salty side: Puerto Rico's "French Fry." They can be served with meat, rice, or as simple snacks. Pollo frito is a common dish found at family gatherings or community events served as a main dish. Pairing these two together gives you a complete meal with a taste very different from American cuisine, and even from typical "Mexican food" eaten in America.
This dish will take 15 minutes of prep time, and 20 minutes of cooking, giving you a complete meal in just over half an hour.
When you finish cooking, you will enjoy a wonderful traditional dish from the island of Puerto Rico!
Step 1: Gather Ingredients & Tools
• 6 cups Vegetable Oil
• Adobo Seasoning (You may substitute Garlic Powder, Salt, and Pepper. Mix to taste)
• 9 Garlic Cloves
• 2-3 Medium Jalapeños
• 4 Chicken Breasts
• Pinch of Salt
• Pinch of Pepper
• 3 Plantains
• Measuring cup
Step 2: Cut Plantain Ends
Step 3: Slice the Back of the Plantain
Step 4: Remove Plantain From Skin
Step 5: Grate Plantain
It may be easier to cut each plantain in half to shorten the length.
Caution: When the plantain gets small or grating brings your fingers too close to the sharp edges, discard the plantain to avoid injury.
Step 6: Separate Plantain Gratings
Optional: You can mix minced garlic into the plantain gratings at this point if you wish.
Step 7: Heat Oil on Stove
2. Turn the stove onto medium.
3. Heat the oil until you begin to see bubbles rising the middle of the pan.
Warning: Be careful as you heat the oil. Hot oil may splash and burn skin.
Step 8: Fry the Plantain Gratings
Warning: When you first place the arañita into the oil the oil will begin to bubble more violently (see photo). Be careful not to let is splash on you.
Step 9: Flip the Aranitas
Step 10: Remove From Oil
Step 11: Season
Note: If you do not have Adobo, you can use Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Powder.
Step 12: Set Aranitas Aside
Step 13: Separate Garlic Cloves
Step 14: Mince the Garlic
1. Slice each clove into fine strips along its length.
2. Turn the cloves and make slices again.
3. Continue to chop the garlic until it is in fine pieces.
The bowl in the picture is approximately 2.5 inches across, so the contents are not as large as they appear.
Note: Garlic juices can bond to your skin and make fingers smell like garlic for days. You may want to use gloves if you complete this step without a food processor.
Step 15: Chop the Jalapenos
Note: You can slice a jalapeño length-wise and remove the seeds from it first if you do not care for spicy foods.
Caution: Pepper juices can irritate your skin or eyes. As the juices can bond to your skin, you may want to use gloves while chopping. Otherwise, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap after handling the jalapeños.
Step 16: Season Chicken With Adobo
Note: If you do not have Adobo, just use Salt and Pepper.
Step 17: Mix Jalapeno, Garlic, and Chicken
Optional: Let this marinate for half an hour.
Step 18: Fry the Chicken
2. Place the chicken breasts into the heated oil.
Note: You can use 6 fresh cups of oil if you wish.
Step 19: Flip the Chicken
After about 5 additional minutes the chicken will be done. It will appear white to lightly brown. Cut into the center of one of the breasts (you may remove it from the oil to do this). As long as the center is white and not pink, the chicken is done.
Warning: When you flip the chicken, use extreme caution not to splash the hot oil. Flip the chicken slowly to reduce the risk, or use tongs for more control.
Step 20: Serve
Note: Sprinkle chopped jalapeños onto the chicken if desired.
You have now completed a traditional Puerto Rican dish! You will find the chicken to have a slight kick of jalapeño and be incredibly easy to cut. The Arañitas will be crunchy and golden-brown. Some variations on the preparation include adding chopped onions to the chicken preparation. Also, you can reduce the amount of oil used for the chicken if you wish. This will result in healthier chicken, though possibly less juicy. Do not reduce the amount of oil for the arañitas, as they should float while they cook.
Enjoy your rich, juicy chicken with the crispy "Spiders!"