Introduction: Tostones (Fried Plantains)

A garlicky Cuban snack of twice-fried plantains

Step 1: Acquire Plantains

Find some nice, hard, green plantains.

Yellow or brownish plantains are far too sweet for this application; I'll put up another recipe for those later, but they're handled completely differently. A green plantain has much more in common with a potato than a banana.

Step 2: Peel Plantains

Cut the head and tail off of the plantain, then score through the skin lengthwise. Make another cut about an inch away, then peel the strip off. This will be pretty stiff; you may need to use the knife to peel particularly obstinate bits.

Once you get the first strip off, the rest of the peel will be easier to handle. Peel and trim the rest of the skin off, leaving the starchy plantain.

Step 3: Slice

Cut your plantains on the diagonal, making slices ~1/2 inch thick. The steeper the diagonal the larger each piece will be.

You can play with the thickness a bit, but don't go too far off the 1/2" mark.

Step 4: Fry

Heat canola oil in a heavy flat-bottomed pan until it shimmers. Add plantains one-by-one; if they sizzle, the oil is hot enough. Shake the pan a bit to keep the plantains moving; they should float freely in the oil. If they stick, it likely wasn't hot enough.

Flip the plantains after a minute or two, just as they're starting to turn golden but before they begin to brown. We'll be giving them a second fry in a minute, so they'll turn golden-brown soon.

Remove and drain on paper towels.

Step 5: Smash

When your fried plantain slices have cooled enough to handle, it's time for some smashing.

Find a nice big flat item; it can be a big knife, a cutting board, a fry pan, or anything else with a nice flat surface. I'm using a cleaver.

Place your fried and cooled plantain slice on a clean flat surface (counter or cutting board), then place your cleaver (or equivalent) on top. No smashing death from above; just place it gently on top.

Now push or lean on your cleaver until you feel the plantain smush underneath. It should squish down to less than half its original thickness.

Peel it off the cleaver with a spatula, and make a pile as you work through the fried plantains.

Step 6: Fry Again

Drop the squashed plantains into the hot canola oil again, and fry for a minute or two until the edges just begin to turn golden brown.

Flip the plantains, and fry for another minute. The slice should be uniformly golden-brown, but not burnt.

Remove plantains to a paper towel covered plate to cool.

Step 7: Make Garlic Sauce

Tostones are properly served with a tasty sauce of garlic in olive oil. Since we usually end up fighting over the garlic, I've chosen to make more of a garlic/olive oil slurry. Modify your ratios accordingly.

First, grate the garlic into a bowl. Add olive oil and stir, checking your consistency to see what ratio you'd like. Add a bit of salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

The raw garlic will be quite spicy; if you want to mellow the garlic flavor cook it for a bit. Either pan-fry it in the olive oil, microwave the garlic, or use roasted garlic for an even more mellow flavor.

I use raw garlic because it bites back- this garlic sauce was strong enough to actually burn my mouth. There were no vampire attacks for days afterward.

Step 8: Serve

Sprinkle your plantain chips with salt, and serve with the garlic sauce.

You can serve the garlic sauce in individual ramekins or shallow communal dipping bowls, or just dot each individual piece with the garlic sauce.

They're best served hot or warm; you can keep the tostones warm in the oven until ready to serve.

Comments

author
moisture made it!(author)2009-01-01

I made these last night and my garlic-crazed friends enjoyed them. Thanks, canida!

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canida made it!(author)2010-09-24

Awesome, and thanks for sharing that fantastic picture!
It makes me hungry. :)

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mrbrian1969 made it!(author)2011-03-04

my dominican sister-in-law makes her tostones just like this but has never included garlic sauce(we always eat them with ketchup there-everyone does), but the mofongo place la romana, where they live now serves a really GREAT garlic sauce on the side

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adichisac made it!(author)2011-02-23

This is my batch...what's left of it anyway...Many thanks to the OP for a great recipe!

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krisma made it!(author)2010-09-27

Great instructable, especially on the garlic sauce. However, as a side note, the thinness to which you mash the plantain slices is not typical for the spanish culture from which these are derived, and that goes for the many countries that I have spent time in and being hispanic myself. A typical thickness would be about a 1/4 of an inch after you mash them.

Again I must say, I'm going to get started on that garlic sauce :)

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BeSomebody made it!(author)2010-09-27

They look really good. I will try to make them sometime for sure!

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jessyratfink made it!(author)2007-10-07

Seriously, that looks amazing. My boyfriend is half Cuban, and he's introduced me to the wonderfulness of plantains. Though I'm used to them being deep fried in large chunks and served sweet with something like vaca frita or ropa vieja. The sweet plantains plus the savory/spicy meat and veggies makes such a good combination. :D

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canida made it!(author)2010-09-24

So, have you had a chance to try making tostones yet?

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kuso made it!(author)2009-12-06

These guys are a staple on colombia's northern coast
we called them Patacon here. very delicious with shreded cheese  and chilli.

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canida made it!(author)2010-09-24

That sounds good - are they served in a big pile like nachos?

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ozz3michi made it!(author)2007-09-16

I've cooked these several times since reading this Instructable and they are great.

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canida made it!(author)2010-09-24

Awesome, I'm glad you liked them!

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WoodWinds made it!(author)2008-01-17

Awesome instructable. Please check out one I just created:

Twice Fried Plantains ala "Sticky Buns"

https://www.instructables.com/id/Twice-Fried-Plantains-ala-Sticky-Buns/

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ichipoodle made it!(author)2007-09-15

MMMMM, just made some! They're delicious!!! Thanks canida!

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canida made it!(author)2007-09-16

You're welcome!

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CMPalmer made it!(author)2007-05-11

I've cooked these several times since reading this Instructable and they are great. If you start with really green plantains, then a pinch of salt and some raw garlic (either fresh crushed or the little jars of diced garlic) is wonderful. I let some of my plantains ripen a bit much (yellow, but not soft and black) so I tried the same technique. It's much tricker to mash them and scrape them off the spatula (try cooking them a little longer in the first step and then letting them cool a bit before mashing them). The garlic doesn't work if they are ripe enough to be sweet, but a good sprinkling of brown sugar in the second cooking step followed by a splash of dark rum (burn off the alcohol a bit) makes them a great desert, particularly if served with ice cream.

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canida made it!(author)2007-06-22

I'm glad you like it! You should post your recipe for sweet plantains- flambe is always good!

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kellyhogaboom made it!(author)2007-07-19

These ideas are both great. I hope someone posts a sweet version and we could have a square-off of some sort. I will keep my eye out for the unripe versions.

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whiteoakart made it!(author)2007-06-22

OOOOh, do these look good. I have been looking for this recipe since having them in Jamaica years ago. I see my problem...my plaintains were too ripe! Regarding garlic: The secret to success in marriage (12 years now) is liking garlic to the same degree as your spouse.

author
canida made it!(author)2007-06-22

I still need to put up that recipe for sweet ripe plantains! Maybe next week. I'd agree with the spouse/garlic comment- we're both huge fans of garlic (and curry, and spice of all types) and are edging up on your count.

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John+Smith made it!(author)2007-03-21

We made these yesterday, for the third or fourth time. They are one of my favorite snacks, but are only good when hot,and don't microwave too well. I put one SMALL piece of garlic in the mortar and pestle, and grind it to a pulp, and add extra sharp white cheddar cheese and extra virgin olive oil until I get a thick but soft cheese mix,then put a small amount on each chip along with kosher salt.

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canida made it!(author)2007-06-22

Ooh, that sounds good! If you wanted to reheat them, try sticking them in a toaster oven or under the broiler for a minute or two- the microwave just makes starch soggy.

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John+Smith made it!(author)2007-03-21

I forgot to say that we also deep fryed them in peanut oil, and they turned out identical to yours, and tasted fine.

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sam made it!(author)2007-01-26

could you make this with banana? I don't have any plantain on hand.. but they look good... I think I'll try it out anyway.

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canida made it!(author)2007-01-27

Even extremely green bananas won't cook and squish this way; they're just not starchy enough. Bananas will soften and sweeten, and should be handled more like ripe plantains. I'll be posting a recipe for those soon. Have you had banana pancakes? Those bananas caramelize and stick to the frying pan like nobody's business.

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Punkguyta made it!(author)2007-02-23

Heh? I've made banana pancakes many times and they don't stick at all. You're not using bisquick are you? In that case I would have to "dis-own" you. J/k, but all said and done, if you mash your bananas up into a sort of pulp before they go into the batter, it should be fine.

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canida made it!(author)2007-02-23

;) No Bisquick, thanks! But we usually add banana slices to the batter before flipping the pancakes- they like to caramelize and stick to the pan. Mashing them and stirring into the batter would probably fix this, but I like a mix of banana, blueberry, raspberry, and whatever other fruit we've got on hand, so tend to add it after they're in the pan. The caramelized bananas taste pretty good too...

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Punkguyta made it!(author)2007-02-23

Ohhhh, you mean you're using slices of banana? I thought you meant you were mixing it into the batter (mashing)

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sam made it!(author)2007-01-27

Well, I tried it out- they were really squishy.. and stuck to the paper.. it looked gross, but it tasted pretty good (but why wouldn't it.. butter+banana..) I think deep frying might work out better.. If it does work i think it would be nice with honey.

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ewilhelm made it!(author)2007-01-27

I've fried bananas with eggs and vegetables and been quite pleased with the results: https://www.instructables.com/id/ESWXJG2NY9EP2861JU/

The garlic sauce here is probably too strong for bananas, though.

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dapinoyba made it!(author)2007-01-26

i doubt it would taste good. try putting brown sugar on it maybe

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Nesagwa made it!(author)2007-01-26

Plantains are more like potatoes in their starch content. They cook up more like thick potato chips. I dont think bananas would work the same way at all. Love me some tostones though.

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CMPalmer made it!(author)2007-02-10

I just got through making and eating these and they were perfect. Thanks for the instructions. Now, is there an instructable for getting rid of garlic breath?

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canida made it!(author)2007-02-10

I recommend simply feeding garlic to your friends and family; you'll all be happily oblivious, and the vampires will stay well away.

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lola made it!(author)2007-02-04

These tostones look great-can't wait to make them!{{{

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circumlocution made it!(author)2007-01-28

Nice job -- a very professional instructable. Thanks!

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fungus+amungus made it!(author)2007-01-26

I think that these photos are the best you've had for any project.

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Phill made it!(author)2007-01-27

I agree, these photos look delicious! Canida, did you get any former culinary cooking by any chance?

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canida made it!(author)2007-01-27

Cool! Thank Mitch's SLR.

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