Tostones are my new obsession. I make them for breakfast at least a couple times a week, since discovering they were a great source of paleo and AIP-friendly starch. What are they? Tostones are fried green plantains and are also called patacones, fritos verdes, or banan peze – depending on which country is doing the naming. They are a staple of Latin American and Caribbean diets; I first encountered them in Ecuador (where they are called patacones and typically served with a garlic mojo sauce) and then again in Puerto Rico where I gobbled them up every time I saw them on the menu.
That was several years ago and it wasn’t until recently that I discovered how easy they are to make. My inspiration comes from world traveler Russ Crandall, also known as The Domestic Man, and his recipe for tostones published in his cookbook The Ancestral Table was my first introduction to making them at home. [Side note: If you have even an ounce of adventurous eater in you and don’t have this cookbook in your collection, you must get it now! The recipes are delicious, easy to follow, and all accompanied by beautiful photos.]
Making tostones at home
Step 1 – Gather your ingredients and supplies.
You need some green plantains and coconut oil, a medium skillet (I prefer cast iron, but use whatever you have), a sharp knife, and a coffee cup. In a nod to my first experience with green plantains in Ecuador, I’m using a mug from the Galapagos Islands!
Step 2 – Cut and peel your plantains
There are a lot of ways to do this, but I’ve found that slicing them first and then peeling them works for me. I use the knife to cut a little slit in the peel and then remove with my fingers. Riper plantains are easier to peel so if yours are really green, you might decide that you just want to cut all the way around each slice to remove the peel.
Step 3 – Partially fry the plantains
Scoop some coconut oil into your skillet and heat over medium. I’m pretty loosy goosy on the amount here because I’ve found that how much you need really varies. This might also have to do with the ripeness of the plantains but for as much as I know it could be anything (maybe the lunar phase – who knows?). I usually start with about a quarter cup and leave the jar out in case the pan gets dry and I need to add more.
Add the plantains and let them cook until they turn bright yellow, but don’t start browning. This is more art than science. You need to turn them a few times and just watch. No worries if they do start browning… they will still work and be delicious! This step usually takes maybe 3-4 minutes. Remove and allow to cool a bit.
Step 4 – Mash the plantain slices
This is where that coffee mug comes in. A standard mug has a slightly concave base, which allows just the right space for a perfectly smashed tostone! If you want to get really fancy, you could get a special “tostonera” device, but I’ve been happy with the mug.
Step 5 – Fry to desired crispness
Heat the oil in your skillet again over medium (add more if you need to) and return the now smashed plantain slices to the oil. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until they have reached the crispiness level you want.
Step 6 – Enjoy!
Remove from oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and let cool for a few minutes (trust me – I’ve been unable to resist more than once and burned my tongue).
Notes for healing diets
- This recipe is appropriate for people on the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) or following the recommendations outlined in Sarah Ballantyne’s The Paleo Approach.
- Green plantains appear to be low-FODMAP, though the Monash University has not evaluated them (likely because plantains are not widely available in Australia).
- Green plantains are very high in the type of starch that is forbidden on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), so this recipe is not SCD legal.