Platano – Plantain

Plantains – Plátanos are one of the main stables of the Dominican Republic where they are eaten almost daily, cooked in many ways. Plantain flour is used in babies formula for diarrhea. Green, boiled plantains are a great remedy for hangovers. Plantains can be prepared in a thousand and one ways. I haven’t found one I don’t like, although, I am not crazy about super ripe fried plantains (maduros).

Ripe plantains can be peeled as easily as bananas. But the green ones require special handling, since the thick skin clings to the fruit and tends to break off in little pieces. There are a few techniques for achieving this. One is to score the plantain along the seams lengthwise.

Platanos - Plantains

Green Boiled Plantains

Make sure plantains are very green for this since otherwise they will be sweet.

Cut plantains in half and then in half lengthwise once more, to get four pieces. (Some people prefer peeling the plantains for this. However, I find that if the peel is left on the plantains while boiling, they keep more nutrients and taste better. When the plantains are cooked the skin falls off and can easily be removed).

In a pot large enough for the amount you are preparing, fill with enough water to cover plantains, add the plantains and about 1 teaspoon salt, cover the pot and boil for about 20 – 25 minutes or until the peel comes off easily. Then add about one cup of tap cold water and boil for another 10 minutes.

Here is a peeling technique for green plantains. I don’t know where I found this, but I have had it for many years. If I “borrowed” it from you, I am sorry.

How to peel green plantain

Mangú – Mashed green plantains

When the boiled plantains are ready…remove from water and mash with a potato masher or a fork, adding little bits of the water they were cooked in to reach a desired consistency. Test just as you would with a boiled potato. Add olive oil to taste.

(I recommend not using a food processor since it will cause the plantain to become pasty.)

Serve mangú with eggs, sausage, bacon; or saute some onion slices in olive oil and top mangú; or with escabeche; or serve plain as a side dish to dinner instead of potatoes. Be brave and  experiment.  If it sits to long, it will start drying. Simply stir in more water from the cooking pot.

Mangú de plátanos, mashed plantains

Tostones – Green Fried Plantain

Plantains can be fried at any stage of ripeness: green, medium ripe, very ripe. The taste is very different according to the ripeness.

For tostones choose very green plantains.

Peel and cut in about 1 inch thick  slices. Place in salted water for an hour before frying. Dry with paper towels.

In a deep enough frying pan, heat enough oil to cover. Drop plantains in the oil and cook until golden. Don’t over cook.

With the help of two plantain peels, or a special gadget that is sold at Latin markets made from two pieces of wood hinged together, or very thick paper, squash and shape nicely.

Now for the second fry. The oil should not be too cool nor too hot. If you have a cooking thermometer, the temperature should be around 350°F.  

Drop in salt water right before you re-fry them. Drop in the oil and cook until very golden but don’t allow them to get too hard.

Remove them from the oil, place on paper towels, and sprinkle with salt. Serve hot.

Note: A lot of Hispanic supermarkets now carry frozen tostones. They are not as good as the fresh ones, but come in handy when you are in a hurry.

Preparing tostones

Tostoncitos – Plantain Chips

Use very green plantains.

Peel and cut in very thin slices. (The thinner the better since you want the thickness of a potato chip).

Wash under the faucet and dry with paper towels. Don’t cut more than you will be frying right away or they will turn black.

In a deep frying pan, heat enough oil to cover. Drop in the hot oil, moving them around, and cook until golden yellow on both sides.

Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt and serve.


Fried Ripe Plantains – Fritos Maduros

The ripeness of the plantain will determine the sweetness of the frito.

Peel plantains and cut in slices (either lengthwise, or diagonal) about 1/4 inch thick.

Drop in oil and cook until tender. The oil should not be too hot to avoid them getting burned edges. 

These can be eaten this way dredged with salt, or cinnamon sugar, or my favorite, with a dusting of creole seasoning, or can be used in many recipes.


Sweet fried plantains

Baked Ripe Plantains – Platanos Maduros Asados

Again ripeness depends on preference.

After peeling, remove any fiber or dark area. Brush plantains with melted butter and wrap in aluminum foil.

Cook for about an hour at 350°F. Remove from foil and serve.

Slice lengthwise and butter. You may want to sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and Cajun seasoning.



Ripe Baked Plantains - Platanos maduros asados