Darlings, you know La Diva, like most people, LOVES anything that is fried but what about twice fried? You got it, baby, it's twice as good and that's exactly how you make tostones, the green plantain staple of the Caribbean!
La Diva had her first tostone a few years back at the colorful Haitian cafe on Miami Beach, Tap Tap. Salty, crunchy and crisp, the tostone is like a starchier, thicker version of a potato chip. The tostone is served as a side dish or snack in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Haiti, of course! However, I've eaten them in a Peruvian restaurant as well. Living in Miami, there is really no way to avoid trying, tasting and craving the tempting tostone!
After imbibing in tostones recently, La Diva just couldn't get rid of her longing for them! Following a few conversations with local Latina friends, La Diva decided to do them at home.
Of course, the first thing is to get the proper plantains! You MUST buy the green plantain, NOT the yellow. If you buy the yellow, it will not work. Tostones require the firmness of an unripe fruit and the yellow plantain is really quite sweet when cooked, a different dish (and taste) entirely!
Let's get started, shall we? Take 2-3 green plantains and cut off the ends. Then, slice the skin lengthwise on both sides and carefully peel off. A plantain is much harder to peel than a banana, so please stick to the method! Cut plantains on an angle about an inch long. Meanwhile, add about an inch of vegetable oil to a fry pan and heat. When the oil is hot, add the plantain slices (being careful not to crowd) and turn once when colored. Cook for a total of about 3-4 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels and take the oil off the heat. Do not throw out oil and set pan aside.
Once cooled, you must now flatten the plantain to prepare for the next stage. Traditionally, one uses a tostonera (plantain press), however, La Diva uses the bottom of a coffee mug or a mallet to flatten each plantain piece. When you've finished flattening all the pieces, heat up the oil again. Once the oil is hot, fry the plantain in batches for another five minutes until golden. Remove, drain on paper towels and salt and serve immediately.
You can serve the tostones with a simple garlic or "mojo sauce" but La Diva definitely prefers hers with a spicy green hot sauce. I'm still trying to figure out how to make that sauce but I believe it has a large amount of cilantro and fresh chili in it! ( I think I'll have to bribe one of the local chefs to give me the recipe!) So, darlings, give it a whirl and savor the flavor that all the islanders love, the tostone!
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