A savory side dish, twice fried plantains, Tostones with Pink Sauce, is a Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican staple and I love them! Though they may look like bananas, plantains are a different fruit entirely. They have a thicker skin and are less sweet than bananas, making them better suited for cooking. Fried plantain chips are typically served as a side dish, but they can also be enjoyed as a snack or even a meal.
How to Purchase and Store Plantains
Plantains look like green bananas and can be found at most grocery stores. At the market, they can be found in the produce section near the bananas. As plantains ripen, their peel changes from green to yellow to dark brown or black so you might have a lot of choices.
To make tostones, get green plantains. Store the plantains at room temperature. After a few days on the countertop, the plantains will turn yellow. After a few more days, they start to brown. There’s a considerable amount of sugar in ripe plantains, but they’re very delicious.
What You Need to Make Tostones
Three ingredients are needed to make tostones:
- Green plantains
How to Peel Plantains
The hardest part of making fried plantains is peeling the plantains. Plantains are peeled differently than bananas. While bananas are peeled from top to bottom, plantains are peeled by removing a vertical strip of the fruit and then pulling the skin off across the plantain.
- First, slice the tips off each plantain off with a small knife.
- Make two shallow slits down the length of the plantain (as shown above) without scoring the flesh. Slide the tip of the knife under the skin between the cuts and carefully lift it off enough so you can peel the skin off.
- Next, grab the peel in the middle of the skin and pull horizontally, unlike a banana that you peel from top to bottom. Once the plantain has the first slit in it, peel the skin across the fruit.
- If you are having trouble getting the whole peel off, make another set of slits on the opposite side of the plantain and repeat.
How to Prepare Tostones
- Slice the peeled plantains crosswise into disks, about 1-inch thick.
- In a large skillet, heat your oil of your choice until shimmering, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully add the plantains to the heated oil. Cook for about 1 ½ minutes or until they are golden and firm. Turn heat down to low.
- Next, remove the plantains to a plate lined with paper towels.
- Flatten each disk using a tostonera (see below), a sturdy drinking glass, or the flat side of a meat mallet.
- Raise the heat and return the plantains to the hot oil and fry for an additional 2 minutes per side, or until crispy and golden brown. You will likely need to work in batches to fry the flattened disks, adding additional oil if needed.
- To top them, add a sprinkling of coarse salt and serve immediately.
How to Smash the Plantains
This wooden utensil is a tostonera. A tostonera is a simple gadget that you can buy at Cuban markets in South Miami such as Sedano's. It consists of two pieces of wood held together with tiny hinges. You can line it with waxed paper to prevent sticking. You can also use a drinking glass with a flat bottom or the side a large chef's knife to flatten the disks.
Traditional Pink Mayo Sauce
To make tostones sauce, combine a half cup of mayonnaise with 3 tablespoons of ketchup and two peeled and pressed or finely minced garlic cloves in a small dish. Serve alongside the tostones.
How To Make Pink Sauce Without Ketchup
Some people (like me) try to avoid sugar and vinegar. Ketchup, America's favorite condiment, is loaded with sugar and vinegar, which gives ketchup the tangy taste we all love.
You can try this sugar free and pink sauce instead:
Mix one-half cup of homemade mayonnaise with 1-½ tablespoons of tomato paste, ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, 2 minced garlic cloves, and 2 teaspoons pure monk fruit sweetener or xylitol.
Try Cento brand tomato paste. It's manufactured in Italy has not preservatives.
Nutrition Information about Plantains
Plantains are a significant source of fiber, vitamins A, C, and B-6, magnesium, potassium and fiber and resistant starch. Resistant starch acts as a prebiotic, providing food for the probiotics in your gut.
There are good and bad bacteria in your gut. Sugars, grains, and yeasts feed the bad gut bacteria and aid the growth of fungi. For more information about the ill effects of fungi, read the Kaufmann Phase One Diet.
What to Do with Black Plantains
Let's say you buy some green plantains and don't get around to using them. They are still good! The starch slowly turns to sugar, and they are delicious.
When the plantains soften, you can no longer make tostones. The fruit will be too soft to hold up to smashing, However, you can make an outstanding desert with them. Heat a pan over medium-high heat with a few tablespoons of unsalted butter. When the butter is hot, add the plantains and big pinch of salt. You can add a teaspoon of cinnamon too for extra flavor. Cook for a minute until the sugar caramelizes. Have a bowl of vanilla ice cream waiting and pour the hot buttery plantains over the ice cream. Wow, I just made that up, but it sounds delectable!
What are Platanos Maduros?
Deep fried ripe plantains are called Platanos Maduros in Spanish.
Cuban restaurants deep fry black plantains for a few minutes until they are almost black. In the Florida Keys, you can get them at many restaurants.
Serve your Tostones with Pink Sauce as an appetizer, alongside guacamole, pico de gallo or a squeeze of fresh lime juice. They also make a great side dish with pan seared chicken breasts and seared duck breast.
Tostones with Pink Sauce
FOR THE PINK SAUCE
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoon ketchup
- 2-3 large garlic cloves pressed in garlic press or minced
FOR THE PLANTAINS
- 3 green plantains
- ½ cup oil (you can use light olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil)
- 1-2 tablespoon coarse sea salt
FOR THE PINK SAUCE
- Combine mayonnaise, ketchup, and garlic in a small bowl; mix well. Refrigerate in a covered jar until ready to serve.
FOR THE PLANTAINS
- Make two shallow slits down the length of the plantain without scoring the flesh. Slide the tip of the knife under the skin between the cuts and carefully lift it off.
- Grab the peel in the middle of the fruit and pull horizontally, unlike a banana that you peel from top to bottom. Once the plantain has the first slit in it, the peel is pulled off across the fruit.
- Slice the peeled plantains crosswise into disks, about ½-inch thick.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil of your choice (coconut oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil) over medium-high heat until shimmering, 3 minutes. Carefully add the plantains to the hot oil, cooking on each side for about 1 ½ minutes or until they are golden. but not brown. When they are all cooked, turn heat to lowest setting.
- As they come out of the pan, place the plantain disks on a plate lined with paper towels. When cool enough to handle, flatten each disk using a tostonera or a sturdy drinking glass or flat meat mallet.
- Raise the heat to medium-high and return the flattened plantain disks to the hot oil and fry for an additional 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until crispy and golden brown. You will likely need to work in batches to fry the flattened disks, adding additional oil if needed.
- Top with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt and serve immediately.
HOW TO SERVE TOSTONES
- Place tostones on a serving platter with a bowl of pink sauce. Enjoy!