Are these cute or what? Can you see the little banana shapes in the middles? You know how I often say in my posts that I could never have invented this or that? How it's so odd/genius/out of the box that it would never have occurred to me? But I could have invented tostones, had I lived in a country where there were green bananas and I was hungry. But I don't, and I didn't, so I tried plantains for the first time today.
Plantains are, apparently, much like bananas, only harder.
Here's what mine looked like prior to being experimented on. They were pretty hard:
And cut into pieces:
As you can see, these plantains are green, and a taste test proved they tasted like regular green bananas: starchy and bitter, and not sweet at all. But, my sources say, that's perfect for tostones.
What you do is peel these pieces and chuck them into some oil heated to medium (You know how I say, "I never deep fry..."?) and deep fry them for a few minutes, until they look something like this:
They still seemed dishearteningly hard, but I did as instructed, and placed a piece between two sheets of waxed paper, pressed the bottom of a glass on top, and squished. Hey, they squished pretty easily. Friends, you do not need a tostone press. The squished ones looked like this:
Then you put them back into the hot oil and fry them a little more, until they've had enough, and turned golden. I had thought tostones would be soft and sweet, but they aren't at all. They're crispy and starchy. Some recipes come with an additional little sauce you can serve them with, very garlicky and spicy. I didn't make that this time, but now that I know what to expect, I will in the future. These things are delicious.
I had them with the Cuban-style black beans from Robin Robertson's Vegan Planet, as well as some jasmine rice and mini-squashes steamed on top of it. Yummmm....
A perfect Thursday meal, and it didn't take long to put together, either.