Cooking is an essential part of every human life. This instructable will teach you how to prepare and cook fried green plantains or Puerto Rican Tostones. The tostones are part of the culture in Puerto Rico and represents its local cuisine. Tostones are served with many of the local dishes, including fried pork chops, steaks, poultry, or sea food. Some people use them as appetizers, as a side plate, or as the main entry. It is up to each person how they prefer them. In almost every home and restaurant in Puerto Rico, you will find tostones in the menu. To prepare tostones you do not need to be a professional cook. You just need to have average physical skills and be able of reading and following simple instructions. In addition, you should not be afraid of frying in oil, or handling hot materials. Cooking tostones will take between 12 to 15 minutes. If is your first time doing it, it might take a little bit longer. Making tostones might sound or look complicated, but is really easy and at the end you will be satisfied and rewarded with its taste.
• Cooking Oil
• Cutting board
• Tongs or Fork
• Green plantain
• Plate/ Bowl
• Paper towel
• Aluminum foil (optional see note)
Note: If you don’t have a tostonera, I will teach you how to make your own with a paper towel and aluminum foil. If you have tostonera you don’t need the aluminum foil.
Step 1: Getting Started
1. Wash the green plantain with water
2. Cut each end of the plantain
3. Make a cut in line though out the plantain, make sure you only cut the outer layer
4. Pill off the skin, or outer layer of the green plantain. Now that you have removed the green part, you should see a creamy color and the green plantain looks now more like a naked banana.
5. Prepare the pan with the oil, you should pour enough oil to cover 1 inch up to 1 ½ inch.
Note: To reduce the stain caused by the plantain, you can cut and remove the outer layer in water. This step is optional.
Step 2: Let's Start Frying
1. Start warming up the oil in the pan and set the temperature in high for 3 minutes.
2. Place the plantain in the cutting board.
3. Cut the plantain in slices of about 1”, this slices cannot be thin they need to look more like small cubic. Cut the plantain from up to down like in the figure number 6
4. Check if the oil is hot, you can check this by checking if bubbles are being formed.
Warning: Ensure that you don’t get burned with the hot oil.
5. Lower the temperature setting medium-high.
6. Place the cubic pieces of plantain in the oil, using either the fork or the tongs.
Warning: Once again, be careful placing the cubic in the oil. Oil might jump; you can use the lid to protect your body.
7. Let them fry for about 2 minutes, first fry one side and then turn them around for 2 minutes. They should look light brown gold.
8. Once they look light brown gold in both sides, they should be crispy in the outside.
9. Place them in a plate with paper towel to absorb the extra oil.
10. Turn of the stove.
Note: Note: Don’t let the oil get too hot because it will burn the plantain as soon as you put them in the oil.
Step 3: Start Making Tostones
1. Get the “tostonera” and one by one crush them like in figure number 10.
2. Make sure that you put the tostones with the flat side up, if you put them facing the round side, these will not get crushed correctly.
If you don’t have the “tostonera” you can make your own.
• Take a piece of paper towel on top of it place aluminum.
• Fold them together by the middle, making sure you have enough space to place the cubic on the button, and still have space to crush with the top part.
• Your “tostonera should look like the one in the picture number 11.
Preparing salt with water
1. Use a bowl deep enough to dip the tostones
2. Fill it with water, again enough water to cover the tostones. It could be like 1 cup of water
3. Put in the water like 2 teaspoons of salt
4. Mix the water and the salt.
This salt with water will be used in the next step to deepen the tostones, before frying them again.
If after you crush the tostones, they stick to the tostonera, you can use a fork to remove them, like in figure 15.
Step 4: Final Step, Fry Again
1. Set the temperature in high to warm-up the oil again..
2. Wait until it is hot.
3. Once the oil is hot, set the temperature in medium-high
4. Dip the tostones one by one in the water with salt.
5. Put them in the frying pan, and let them fry for about 2 minutes; turn them with the fork or the tong, and let them fry for 2 minutes, until they turn light brown gold.
Warning: When putting the tostones in the frying pan, make sure to protect your body and hands from the hot oil. This time the tostones have water, and there will be a reaction between the water and hot oil causing it to splash.
6. Get them out when both sides are light brown gold, like in figure number 19.
7. Place them in a dish with a paper towel to remove the extra oil.
Note: If you want to remove more oil from the tostones you can crush them with a paper towel.
Optional: if you want to give the tostones a more salty flavor, you can sprinkle additional salt on top of the tostones.
Congratulations, you have finished your tostones! Now you can say that you know how to cook a Puerto Rican dish. As you can see in the picture number 21, the tostones have a light gold color with some parts that have a brown color. The tostones should be crispy in the outside and soft in the inside. They taste lightly salty but that depends on the person that cooks them and how much salt they add at the end.
Hope that you have enjoyed making this dish, and that it tastes good.
Optional: Tostones can be served with a sauce of ½ mayonnaise and ½ ketchup, called “Mayo-ketchup”, on the side.