July 13, 2006
Patacones or Unhealthy (but tasty) Colombian vegetarian cuisine: Part 2 in a series

IMG_2434.jpgNot long ago, Barrett pointed out that you can do something with plantains to make them taste delicious. It's called double frying. This is all based on a theory that if fried food is tasty, frying your fried food makes it tasty times two (or maybe tasty squared, we're still calculating the autoregressive conditional hereroskedasticity of sequential fryings). Anyhow, I took it upon myself to try the double fry at home as part of my continuing series on unhealthy (but tasty) Colombian vegetarian food.

I think it goes without saying, but be sure you are buying firm green plantains. Estimate about one per person for a side or appetizer.

These get served up as a side to just about anything: grilled meat, soup, and in some places probably sopa de patacones. That's how much they love them.

Patacones
Some plantains (each will make about 5 patacones)
Vegetable oil
Salt

As Barrett pointed out, you really ought to score the skin instead of trying to peel from the top like a banana. Score it top to bottom 4 times and use the side of your thumb to peel away the outer skin (as opposed to the top of your thumb). Don't be discouraged if the first one doesn't come off so cleanly. You'll be an expert in no time.

Prepare a bowl of salt water and set aside.

Cut each plantain into 5 (or so) pieces and lay them into a pan of hot oil (cover the bottom, but not much more--it's not a deep fry). Fry for a few minutes on a side, until they turn yellow and then just a spattering of brown. Rotate with tongs or a fork to get all sides evenly fried. Remove from the oil to a strainer.

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Next, use a plastic or paper bag folded over several times, a plate, your tostonera (if you've got it, flaunt it), even the plantain skins themselves to smash the plantains. Take caution (if using a method that causes your palms to be very close to the plantain) because they are fresh out of the fryer, after all. Then dip each into the bowl of salt water (or you can, of course, salt them at the very end) and back into the fryer until they are done (usually determined by the color, a nice light brown all around).

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Remove to paper towel or strainer and salt (if you didn't do the salt water step above). Eat them just as is, or with a salsa of tomato, onion, cilantro, and a little jalapeño. If this seems too healthy for you and you really want to meet your maker sooner, top the hot patacones with a grated cheese of your choosing. Something bland like Mozzarella or Monterey Jack is typical. Save that expensive block of Casu Marzu for another use. Then take that whole thing and fry it one last time. I'm just kidding. Although...

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Posted by Justin in Bogotá at July 13, 2006 8:36 AM Print-friendly version
Comments

Tostones! I love those things. My favorite part is when you smack the buggers flat.

The salt water trick is a nice touch. I haven't seen that before.

Posted by barrett on July 13, 2006 at 10:12 AM

I hadn't seen the salt water trick either I but I like it. You get a more even salting compared to sprinkling them with salt at the end.

Posted by Justin on July 13, 2006 at 10:21 AM

Interesting! I've never tried plantains, though I'd like to...even this unhealthy. What's amazing to me, Justin, is how the finished product looks like it has been floured or dipped in batter before frying.

It's very kind of you and the Ambassatrix to run the risk of heart failure just for our voyeuristic enjoyment!

Posted by Meg on July 13, 2006 at 10:34 AM

If you want to up the heart attack potential, serve with a mayonnaise-based sauce. I've seen that used for tostones and for yucca fries.

Posted by barrett on July 13, 2006 at 10:49 AM

My gramma does this (double fries) with her plantain - also with the very ripe ones - double goodness. And, even though they're fried, plaintains are very nutritious - full of vitamin a and c there's some fibre in there to boot! So, don't feel so bad about having a few extra....

Posted by Ariadne on July 13, 2006 at 11:13 AM

From my experience in Latin America, Patacones are usually served with black bean dip. YUM!

Posted by ben on July 13, 2006 at 1:49 PM

How interesting; I've never seen them with black bean dip or anything mayo-based. Guess it depends if you're eating them in Mexico or thousands of miles south.

Posted by Justin on July 13, 2006 at 5:17 PM

Last August I attended the wedding of Meg's cousin, Beth, to a gentleman from Cameroon. His mother cooked plantains as part of the rehearsal dinner. YUM So they are evidently common in Africa also.

Posted by Meg's MOM on July 13, 2006 at 8:14 PM

This look really very yummy. If you could send across some more good stuff I am sure I can ask my mom to cook that for me!

Posted by Jaison Davis on July 14, 2006 at 2:03 AM

Everythings look simply yuuuuuuuuumy!!! And i really feel pleasure to be associated to your blogs since i m a pure vegetarian and got to a learn soooooo many veg recipes from here. Others mostly talk non-veg. Thanx once again. :-)

Posted by francis Hearn on July 19, 2006 at 7:21 AM

They are not unhealthy food! We all eat patacones in Latin America and have not died from it. The problem is sometimes the kind of oil they use to prepare them, I avoid eating street food...so that way we can watch the ingredients, etc.

Melissa (from Panama)

Posted by melissa on March 30, 2007 at 3:27 PM

They are not unhealthy food! We all eat patacones in Latin America and have not died from it. The problem is sometimes the kind of oil they use to prepare them, I avoid eating street food...so that way we can watch the ingredients, etc.

Melissa (from Panama)

Posted by melissa on March 30, 2007 at 3:28 PM

They are not unhealthy food! We all eat patacones in Latin America and have not died from it. The problem is sometimes the kind of oil they use to prepare them, I avoid eating street food...so that way we can watch the ingredients, etc.

Melissa (from Panama)

Posted by melissa on March 30, 2007 at 3:29 PM

They can be even more tasty by making some water with smash garlic and salt, after they are smash and right before friying them again you sumerge them in the garlic water and then fried them again

Posted by Yeimy Gomez on September 3, 2008 at 8:49 PM
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