CJ’s mother’s side of the family is from Puerto Rico, and these Tostones, or twice fried green plantains, are a recipe from his childhood. His aunt showed me the technique she uses to get the lightest, crispiest tostones that are never heavy or greasy. They are a unique substitute for anytime you might serve french fries, or as a snack, and are incredible dipped in our mouthwatering Pio Pio sauce.
Just a word of caution, though…these tostones are seriously addictive!
Plantains are starchy and cannot be eaten raw. Think potato, not banana. Tostones are fried twice. The first time on medium heat so that the interior has a chance to cook through. The second fry, is over high heat so that the exterior gets super crispy.
The more ripe the plantains get, the sweeter they will be, but for tostones we don’t want to use sweet plantains.
The trickiest part of this recipe is to get the exact right ripeness. The plantains need to be green and unripe. However, if they are too green they will be almost impossible to peel, and will not smash into perfect little disks, but will crumble.
The plantains should be green with just the slightest hint of yellow creeping in.
Even when they are the right ripeness, the plantains are more difficult to peel than a banana because the skins are thick. To remove the peel, cut off both ends, and with the tip of a knife, slice vertically down the length of the plantain. If the peel is still to difficult to remove, use a potato peeler to make the job easier.
frying the plantains
Once peeled, cut the plantains into approximately one and a half inch chunks. The exact thickness is not very important. The thicker your chunks, the wider the smashed disks will be, so it’s a matter of preference.
Place the cut pieces in a bowl of cold water, so they don’t begin to oxidize and turn brown, while heating the oil for frying.
The tostones are fried the first time on medium heat until they begin to get lightly golden and a bit soft. They are then removed from the oil and placed back into a bowl of cold, salted water. The reason for placing the chunks back into the water a second time, is because the moisture from the water will create steam that will help expand the inside of the plantains making them fluffier with a super crisp exterior. I have tried it without the second soak, and there is a distinct difference in texture.
Taking one piece at a time, smash it with the bottom of a glass into disks roughly 1/2 inch thick. Heat the oil to high heat this time, and fry the flattened tostones until golden and crisp.
Tostones should be served immediately. If you want to prep ahead of time, do the first fry, and leave the chunks in the salted water until you are ready, then smash them and do the second fry just before you are ready to serve.
Tostones – Twice Fried Plantains
- 2 green plantains
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt + more for seasoning to taste
- canola or vegetable oil for frying
- Fill a bowl with cold water.
- Cut off both ends and with the tip of a knife, carefully slice down the length of the plantains and remove the peel. You can use a potato peeler if the peel is not cooperating.
- Cut the plantain into approximately 1½ inch chunks. Place them in the bowl of water so that don't oxidize and turn brown.
- Heat the oil over medium heat and add the plantain chunks. Fry until lightly golden and slightly soft, about 4 minutes per side.
- While the plantains are cooking add cold water and one tablespoon of salt to a bowl.
- With a slotted spoon remove the pieces and place them in the bowl of salted water.
- Take each piece and with the something flat, like the bottom of a glass, smash each one to about ½ inch thickness.
- Heat the oil over high heat this time, and add each flattened disk in the hot oil. Fry for 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown and crisp.
- Place on paper towels. Sprinkle with more kosher salt.
- Serve immediately while still hot.