Patacones or Tostones – It’s bananas!

I grew up eating green plantains almost every day. In Central America these fruits – sometimes considered vegetables – are widely consumed and adored. One can have them boiled and peeled for lunch; thinly sliced and deep fried (called tajadas); or smashed and deep fried (called tostones). They are eagerly devoured on their own, or with the usual cabbage and tomato salad, fried cheese, gallo pinto (stir fried rice and beans), or carne asada (grilled meat).

As much as I love all the ways to eat plantains, what I can´t resist is a bowl full of fried tostones. In some countries, including the northern parts of Peru, where plantains are abundant and part of the daily diet, these are called patacones, but the preparation remains the same. They are usually eaten as an accompaniment for typical meat and fish dishes, similar to the role of bread, French fries, or rice in many Western dishes.
Here are a few guidelines to prepare this delicious, crispy snack or side dish. Easy, quick, and oh so satisfying!
  • You will need very green plantains. Avoid any signs of ripeness because they will be too soft and too sweet.
  • To peel them, cut the tips, and cut every plantain in two or three parts. Make a slash on the skin, lengthwise, and peel. Cut in 2 inch round pieces.
  • In a saucepan with hot oil, pre-cook the plantains but do not let them color. They should be partially cooked. Remove from the pan and drain in paper towels.
  • With the bottom of a glass, a cup, a cleaver, or a stone, press every piece of plantain to make it almost flat. Be careful to not disintegrate them. Reserve. (You can have them ready up to this point, and fry them hours later.)
  • When ready to serve, heat the oil, and deep fry the smashed plantain slices until golden. Patacones should be crispy on the outside and soft inside.
  • Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt, and serve at once.
  • If you want to make fried cheese, the way we eat it in Nicaragua, choose a white cheese that does not melt such as queso fresco. Cut in 1 inch squares, roll them in all-purpose flour, and deep fry. Drain on paper towels, like you did with the tostones.
  • You can serve patacones as a side dish with any meal, but if you prefer you can eat them with cabbage salad, pickled onions, ribs, beans, and cheese, like I did growing up. It’s a simple yet wonderful combination!

Do you like plantains? How do you eat them in your country, and how do you call them?

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Comments

  1. En Colombia le llamamos patacones y son sin duda uno de mis platos favoritos! Me encantan con queso derretido o salsa de ajo!

  2. You had this Dominican at tostones! Lol. I can eat these every day. My mom eats platanos every day but I try to control myself.

  3. Yo conoci los patacones cuando vivi en Bogota y se volvieron mi perdicion! demasiado ricos! en Andres Carne de Res, un restaurante famosisimo en Chia te sirven un patacón gigante bañado en queso, que rico!! de verdad que los patacones son una delicis total y tan simplesde hacer!!!

    • Peru Delights says:

      Si, son demasiado ricos, me encantan no solo con queso frito y ensalada de col, sino tambien con frijolitos molidos… qué delicia!

  4. I like plantains very much. I’m in love with maduros, but have been know to have a fling with tostones.

  5. I was just asking my mother last night if she had some so I can make. One of my favorite Latin side dishes. So many different ways to make them delicious and so, so easy!

    • Peru Delights says:

      Bren, this patacones are so easy to make, and they are wonderful. I can´t stop eating them.

  6. My mom’s Puerto Rican and she calls these tostones. Puerto Ricans eat plantains in place of bread, crutons, potato chips, potato sticks, meatballs, and bananas (when it comes to desserts, though bananas are often used in their desserts too).

    • Peru Delights says:

      In Nicaragua we call them tostones as well. Maduro en gloria is a dessert made with fried sweet plantains, and then baked with queso fresco and cream. Delicious!!

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