1) Plantains are a stable in most Latin American countries.
2) Plantains are considered fruit but treated like a vegetable.
3) Green plantains are not easy to peel, just takes patience to master the technique and
4) I will never tire of saying: if your supermarket does not carry plantains, just ask.
OK, on with the show!
Yummy to say the least, plantains can be prepared as tostones when they are green, and as maduros when they start turning yellow. Maduro is actually the Spanish word for ripe. I guess the easiest way to explain: Green plantains equals savory; Yellow plantains equals sweet.
Another big difference: Green plantains are fried twice, and in between the first and second fry they need to be smashed for chips--tostones, or molded for cups--tostones rellenos. The kitchen gadget that does the molding is called a tostonera. I use: Tostobueno, the Ultimate Tostonera. I'd be lost without mine, and it's a green product.
Yellow plantains are fried only once, and no molding involved, just the initial cut, and fry.
There are dishes that can be prepared when they turn black; that we will not cover today.
Ah, one more toston insight. As toston chips "tostones" or "maduros", they are served along side just about every Latino dish imaginable. They make for great appetizers as toston cups or a complete meal, even. And let's not forget dessert. Some apple pie filling with ice cream on a bed of chocolate, and you are good to go!
Step 1: This Is a Green Plantain
When it is green, the plantain is at its least ripeness.
Step 2: Levels of Ripeness.
Today our Instructable is only about yellow plantains, and not the fully ripe black plantain you see here. Again, plantains start green and will turn fully black on their own.
I've included a video of the black plantain, so you can get an idea of it's texture. If I wasn't shooting the video, I would have poked the plantain just so that you can see how, well, how mushie it gets in its ripest stage.
Step 3: The Peel
Much much easier that the peel for the green plantain.
1) Like with the green, start by cutting the ends.
2) The plantain hold to start the peeling process.
3) Just run the knife from top to bottom.
4) Peel the skin away from the plantain with your thumb, from top to bottom.
5) And, finally, pull the skin off.
This is very easy.
I have included my video on how to peel a green plantain, so that you see the difference.
Step 4: The Cut
Like butter. The knife slices right through.
Step 5: The Thickness of Cut
I like them thin and crispy, but that's me.
Step 6: Difference in Texture Between Green and Ripe Plantain
I know we are talking texture, but take a close look at the slice between the two. The slice on the maduros is at an angle; green plantains are a straight cut.
Step 7: The Fry - Just Once. Not Twice Like the Green Plantains.
Step 8: To Crisp or Not to Crisp.
I like them a little crispy. They don't have to be. It's really your preferance. The night these were cooked, it was a large family gathering. At the dinner table, we had a non-Hispanic, who had never heard from plantains. Let's say she left wanting more. SHE LOVED THEM!