Green plantains, or in other words tostones are a popular plant originating from the Caribbean but enjoyed worldwide. They are cooked through being fried, crushed, and then fried in hot oil all over again till the crispy strips of fresh, green plantains are ready to eat.
They’re quite widespread in Latin American as well as Caribbean culture. in both places they are served as either a side course like mashed potatoes at dinner time in most houses or they can be consumed as a late-night street snack.
Whilst the way the plantains are shaped in a curved manner oftentimes leads towards an assumption that they would have a sugary or sweet flavor as that of bananas, green plantains are in fact a savory meal.
Young green plantains which have not fully developed yet and can unripe, unlike bananas, can be extremely starchy somewhat like an uncooked beetroot. In order for them to be eaten and relished by all and leave a long-lasting good impression, they should first be prepared.
Just like a wide variety of other vegetables, they’re delicious when cooked, seasoned with salt, and given with some sauce to further enhance the flavor and make it suitable for everyone’s different tastebuds.
How Do I Know If the Plantain Is Ripe
Plantains may be prepared or cooked while they are green or yellow, they are however ideal to be fried once they are predominantly black with only a hint of yellow.
If you attempt to cook plantains while they still remain primarily yellow with a few little black spots, they will be a touch bland and flavorless. The high carbohydrate and starch components of plantain change to sugar because it reaches maturity and becomes increasingly black, making it a great choice to be used to cook fried plantains.
It will take some waiting though because most supermarket shops are selling fried plantains before they have become fully ripe. Creating the ideal fried plantains necessitates preparing ahead of time and allowing them to mature.
This can be done by either leaving them on the countertop over the course of a few days or you could even leave them out for up to a week, based on their appearance when they had been bought originally.
How Am I Supposed to Cut Plantains
In all honesty and good faith, we admit that cutting green plantains, is not even nearly as simple as stripping a banana, for those you just have to pick it up and take the peel off with no issues.
Green plantains, on the other hand, are no joke, however, practice makes perfect, and if you keep trying eventually you will get the hang of it after which, you will not find it that tough to do so!
You should start off by taking a knife and cutting off the two ends of said plantain firstly once you have done so you can then use the blade side of your knife to carefully slice all along the full span of the green plantain.
you have to remember to be careful to avoid slicing the plantain too far as we only need to remove the skin and nothing else. Then you must repeat all along the seams a few times. once you can do so you can then peel off the remaining skin.
If the plantain seems to be too mature, peeling it might not be easy in fact it might even be difficult. If this is the scenario, then you will have to put in a bit more effort, however, that does not indicate that the plantain isn’t good.
Please bear in mind that whenever the plantains are exposed to the air in the atmosphere for too long, they will start to oxidize, so you must work swiftly.
How Do I Slice the Green Plantains
Once you have peeled the plantains you need to slice them. Plantains should be cut up into approximately one-inch thick and chunky slices. You may make these slices a little bit larger or maybe a little tinier.
You do not however have to be too worried about getting extremely precise here; cooking green plantains is something that is done according to individualistic preferences so don’t worry even if it’s not how we tell you to do it you will not have ruined your dish it’s all about personal liking.
However please keep in mind the fact that the broader you slice it before smashing them during the first and second fry, the broader they will end up becoming.
How Do I Cook Them
You can start cooking the green plantains once they have been peeled and sliced. After this you turn up the heat on your stove and put a frying pan with lots of oil, ready to deep fry to your heart’s content.
You need to fry the green plantains, till they change color and gradually start to become golden everywhere, in hot oil. If the oil is hot but not too hot and while it is just enough to begin sizzling upon putting the plantain slices into it, yet it is not hot enough for a quick and proper bubble fry, then what you need to do is add the plantains while the heat is still in the process of building up.
This prevents the plantain’s skin from browning too soon as if that happens then you might be under the impression that you have in fact cooked them when they might just be cooked on the outside but on the inside, they might just be uncooked and starchy and that would definitely not make for an appetizing meal now, would it?
Smashing After Frying
Once you are done frying your green plantains, it is time to move on to the next step. After making sure that you have allowed whatever oil that had been left behind to drop off into a paper towel you need to flatten the green plantains.
This can be done with a simple process. You have to simply grab a cooked plantain piece. then you have to lay it across a wrapped piece of baking parchment and lightly squash it. You can do so with either the bottom of a glass, a plate, or a pan, a few at a time, this must be done while your fried green plantains are still hot as that is when it will end up working the best.
Why Is Dipping in Garlic-Lime Water Important
Once you have done so it’s recommended to transfer the smashed plantain into a homemade mix of salted water, garlic, and fresh lime juice. You should then let it sit for around ten seconds, and afterward remove it from the water and use tissues to dry but why is this step so important.
It helps to keep them from oxidizing. Several chefs skin, fry, and crush the plantains beforehand so that they have prepared it most of the way in advance to reduce workload and, then wait till just before the last step which is the last fry.
Not only that but soaking in the lime water also prevents it from getting brown. It adds a layer of taste. Water penetrates into the pores in the plantain that appear when it is smashed, allowing garlic, lime, and salt to saturate the exterior.
Another reason for doing so is because it gives the inside a softer appearance. Even during the second fry in heated oil, the water forms vapor, that expands with more than enough power to split the starch granules. The green plantains will be fattier and much more sensitive than those baked minus the soaking stage.
Several chefs also claim that doing so leaves the green plantains with a crispy exterior, but this is something that you should see for yourself as in most people’s experiences it turned out to be nothing short of a myth.
What Do I Do After Soaking Them
After you are done with the soaking part you need to gather them up and get ready for a second trip to oilville. That’s right you need to fry them a second time too in order to get that perfect crispy exterior that you have been dreaming it would have.
Once that is done you must remember to sprinkle all of the fried green plantains with salt and you need to do it while it is still hot if you do so then, the salt will stick to the plantains making them flavourful and zesty.
How Do I Serve Them
You can serve them with anything, from potatoes to as a side course to the main meal or with several sauces as in some areas it is customary to dip them in mojo or aji, but the important rule is to enjoy them while they are still piping hot.
Well, there you have it, folks, a complete guide on how you can cook some delicious green plantains, we hope you enjoy it.