Have you ever tried tostones? If you’ve ever sampled this twice-fried plantain recipe that’s popular in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, then you already know that they’re addictively delicious. If not, it’s time to fry — er, try — something new.
This easy recipe for tostones comes together in less than 20 minutes from start to finish, and yields tropical-tasting, rich, starchy discs that are a perfect side dish or appetizer to pair with Caribbean or Mexican fare.
Classic Tostones Recipe
Makes 14-16 pieces, depending on the size of your plantains.
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 green (unripe) plantains
- Enough oil to fill a pan about ½” deep
- Salt, for sprinkling on the finished tostones
Set up your mise en place: Have several paper towels set up in one area, and then have a wire rack set atop paper towels in another area. Have a few extra paper towels handy just in case.
Pour the water and vinegar into a bowl. Set aside.
Prep the plantains. Cut off either end, then score the skin. Peel it off (it may be a little tough to remove) and then remove the fruit. Cut into approximately 1″coins.
Place the plantain coins the vinegar-water mixture briefly, then remove and pat dry. This will keep the to stones from becoming too dark. (If pressed for time, you can omit the water and vinegar step.)
Pour your oil in the pan, and heat over medium-high heat. Test the heat by flicking a tiny piece of plantain (I just pick off a tiny edge) in the pan — if immediately begins bubbling, you’re ready to go.
Place the plantain slices in the hot oil and fry on the first side until lightly golden — about 30-40 seconds, but go more by visual than by time.
Flip and repeat on the second side. The idea here isn’t to cook them through, but to soften them so that you can easily smash them in the next step.
You can fry several at once, but don’t crowd the pan. Remove the plantain slices from the pan and place on paper towels. Blot dry. I also like to turn off the heat for the moment, just to keep things safe.
Once cool enough to handle, place between two sheets of parchment paper and use a heavy object (like a drinking glass or a plate) to smash the plantains. They’ll look something like this.
Note: This step can take practice! If any bits of plantain break off, I like to save them and then fry all of the tiny bits at the end.
Turn the heat back on the oil, bringing it back to medium-high heat (it shouldn’t take too long, as it is probably still warm). Fry again on both sides, until they reach your desired point of golden brown — usually this takes 1-2 more minutes, but once again, go more by the visual than by time cues.
Remove from the oil with tongs, letting the excess oil drip off. This time, place them on the wire rack set atop paper towels; this will keep them from getting soggy.
Sprinkle with salt; once slightly cooled, serve immediately.
To make tostones, be sure to use a cooking oil with a relatively high smoke point (you can read more about smoke points here). Canola oil, vegetable oil, light olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil all work well for this recipe.
Tostones are frequently served with a garlicky sauce that’s sometimes called “mojo sauce.”
To make a simple mojo sauce, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 1 cup olive oil, 1 head of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, a splash of lemon or lime juice, and salt to tasted. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the garlic from sticking. Remove from heat, strain if desired (not necessary), and add more salt if desired. Serve immediately along with your tostones.