In my house, tostones are a favorite with any meal or as a snack. The word toston (singular) comes from the the verb tostar in Spanish, which literally means to toast. So we are “toasting”, well really frying, the green plantain twice.
Although technically a fruit, plantains are eaten like a vegetable and it must be cooked. When making tostones, make sure your plantain is green, and I mean the greener the better. However, they can be hard to peel (see instruction at the bottom). In the early 1900’s, if you did not know how to peel a plantain, you weren’t ready for marriage or so the story goes.
Plantains were merged into Caribbean and Latin America cuisine with the introduction of slaves. Tostones are one of the oldest dishes that still remains in its true form from those influences. It is still eaten much the same way in Western and Central Africa.
Tostones are a common meal accompaniment, most likely because the plantain plant gives fruit all year long therefore they are abundant. Depending on where you come from, they may be known as patacones, chatinos, bananas paseés or simply platanos verdes fritos. Whatever the name, tostones are super good!
- 3 Green Plantains
- ½ Frying Oil (enough to submerge the pieces)
- Salt to Taste
- 3 Cups of Cold Water (if willing to try water method-see below)
- Peel plantain and cut on the bias about 1 inch think.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan or caldero (aluminum pan)
- Place plantain chunks in the oil and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
- Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
- Once cool to the touch, flatten to about 1/8 thick with a tostonera (plantain press), a plate, a heavy bottom bottle, you can even use a tortilla press.
- Dip the each toston in water and place back in the hot oil to fry for 1 minute per side. If you are not comfortable with placing a wet object into hot water, you can skip this step. Simply let the tostones cool for about 10 minutes.
- Salt to taste as soon as you remove from the oil.
Serving: 1 ½ person per plantain
Peeling Green Plantains:
Do to their thick and tough skin, green plantains can be deceivingly hard to peel. Cut the ends off, then cut 4 to 5 slits longwise the plantain, and use your fingers to pull away the skin. To make it easier, you can also run the plantain under hot water or place in a bowl of hot water for a couple of minute before peeling. Make sure to remove any and all parts of the peel. Your fingers might turn purple but it will go away in about 30 minutes. The Noshery has a great set of step by step photos.