Crispy, salty and addictive, chifles are easy to make but can be bought in every market and grocery store in Peru. They are so delicious that some producers are exporting them to other countries, and strangely enough, especially to Russia. Chifles are thinly sliced and deep fried plantains, sometimes served with cancha, and/or with shredded dried and salted beef, called charqui. And even though they are beloved in our country, (the northern part in particular), they are a favorite nibble in Central America and the Caribbean too.
To get the extremely thin plantain slices, you need a mandoline or a really sharp knife and a firm hand. A good vegetable peeler works too. Cut round slices, like coins, or long lengthwise slices that resemble swords. Have a pan with about three inches high of vegetable oil ready, and when hot submerge the slices to deep fry them. They will be ready in a few minutes; just stir them a few times without letting them become too golden. Drain on paper towels, salt lightly, and serve.
The greener the plantain, the better. Do not even think about ripe plantains for this because they will not work.We suggest you include not only green plantains, but yucca and sweet potatoes as well. Do not fry them together because they need different cooking times, yucca being the most delicate. It´s a good idea to put them in deep bowls and serve them as a snack or as an hors d’oeuvre before meals, to enjoy while waiting for the food to be served. They can be nibbled by themselves or with sauces to dip them in. Any chili pepper sauce will be fine, as will mayonnaise or guacamole.
Here you have the recipe for chifles.
- 1 green plantain
- 1 yucca
- 1 sweet potato
- Vegetable oil
- Cut the tips of the plantain and peel carefully. Cut thin slices lengthwise or widewise. Have a pan with hot oil ready and drop the slices gently without crowding the pan. When lightly golden, take them out with a slotted spoon and drain over paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
- Peel and slice the yucca. Do not boil it first, because for this it needs to be raw. Be very careful when submerging in the hot oil because it will burn in a few minutes. When very lightly golden, transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt.
- Peel and slice sweet potatoes and fry in the same ways. They will take a little longer, depending on the thickness of each slice. Drain on paper towels.
- Combine the three vegetables, and serve immediately.
*Thanks to chef Roberto Cuadra for the great pics.