College Kitchen: Plantains

It’s just a weird looking banana, right?

Fried plantain chips with sea salt and a chipotle aioli dipping sauce.

Liam James Doyle

Fried plantain chips with sea salt and a chipotle aioli dipping sauce.

Yena Lee

Plantains are everywhere, yet few people know what to do with the banana imposter.

Flavor wise, the plantain — a close sibling to the banana — is much starchier. Plus, you don’t eat raw plantains.

There are many other ways to prepare them though. From frying to mashing them into pancakes, the possibilities are almost endless.

Next time you are at a grocery store and see some plantains, grab a couple and try them out. They just might become your new favorite fruit.

 

Tostones (aka plantain chips)

Plantains can either be sweet or savory, depending on their ripeness. The green ones are savory, while the yellow ones with spots yield sweeter chips.

Double-frying the plantains gives the chips a crisp exterior and a chewy soft interior.

 

2 plantains

2 cups canola oil

Sprinkle of sea salt

 

1. Peel the plantains, and cut them into 1-inch chunks.

2. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan (if you have a thermometer, let the oil get to 300 degrees Fahrenheit).

3. Carefully place in a few chunks at a time. If you overcrowd the pan, the oil temperature will drop too much.

4. Flip them over to get a nice golden fry on each side.

5. Take the chunks out once they’re brown throughout.

6. Let the chunks drain on a few paper towels.

7. Smash each chunk between two plates so that they turn into discs.

8. Fry them up again. Make sure you fry both sides until they’re golden brown.

9. Drain the excess oil again, and sprinkle with sea salt to taste

 

Optional: Cook up ground beef, and make guacamole to assemble tostones nachos.

 

Chipotle aioli

Another great way to enjoy tostones is to dip them in a tasty sauce. A simple aioli is great, but a chipotle aioli gives tostones a phenomenal zing.

 

Adapted from Epicurious

 

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh chives (finely chopped)

1 garlic clove (minced)

2-3 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

2 adobo chipotle peppers (minced)

Salt and pepper

 

1. Mix all of the ingredients listed, and season them with salt and pepper.