Sunday, November 14, 2010

Going Bananas - Tostones with Mojo Sauce for Weekend Herb Blogging #259

Tostones and Mojo Sauce


My mind is so full these days, it feels as cluttered as an Escher drawing. I need simple food which I can cook and eat with minimal fuss that leaves me recharged and not feeling the least bit deprived. Carbs and fried food, preferably together, are always the answer for me. Not healthy, you say? I hear you. But this classic Latin combo of twice-fried green plantain rounds with a side of shrieking garlic and lime dipping sauce is far less damning than indiscriminate and desperate fingers in the candy dish.

Plantains (Musa paradisiacal), like other fruit of the banana family, are loaded with fiber, potassium, and other nutrients. In their unripe green state, they are far less naturally sugared up than when yellowing and covered in black bruises (although this metamorphosis creates its own culinary delights; see maduros link below).

Despite the indulgence, this dense, savory snack fills you up fast on just a few pieces. Now, if only I could empty my mind just as quickly. ~

Tostones - A generic, historic recipe which I learned from Latin women in my neighborhood when I was growing up.

If you are being careful about your fat intake, my take on the recipe uses a fraction of the oil of the deep-frying method. If you want to avoid it entirely, this recipe from Pioneer Thinking looks very promising.

Serves 2 - 3.

Ingredients

1 large very green unripe plantain
Olive oil
Sea or flaked salt, if not pairing with mojo sauce

Method

Cut stem ends from plantain. Slice fruit through its skin into rounds 3/4-inch thick. Make a few even, tiny cuts around each piece without cutting into the flesh. Peel the skin off and discard. (The traditional method for peeling the skin in one piece is here.)

Pour just enough oil into a large skillet to easily cover the bottom by gentle swirling. Heat the oil on a medium-low burner for a few seconds until it thins. Add plantain pieces, leaving space between them. Shallow fry the pieces for approximately 2 minutes on each side; they will be pale golden. Do not let them brown. Turn off burner. Transfer pieces to a cutting board lined with 2 sheets of paper towels. Place another 2 sheets of paper towels on top of the pieces. With the flat bottom of a heavy glass or jar, press evenly on each piece until it flattens to half its height. Peel off paper towels. If the pieces stick to the bottom paper towels, gently lift them off with a fork. Reheat oil in skillet to medium. Arrange pieces in hot oil and fry them to a golden brown (about 2 minutes each side). Since the pieces will be larger than the originals, you will have to fry two batches. If you find the second batch is a little dry, drizzle in a minimal amount of additional oil. Serve immediately while still hot, either salted or with mojo sauce for dipping.


Mojo Sauce - Adapted from the Whats4Eats recipe

Ingredients

4 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

Method

Whir all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Pour into small bowl to serve.
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This is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging #259, which I am hosting. I will have the round-up online tomorrow evening, Monday, November 15, New York time. Thanks to all who have participated. There are a number of posts which I received today; I will acknowledge them tonight before I turn in. Thanks are always in order, too, for Haalo of Cook Almost Anything at Least Once for continuing to champion the WHB cause started by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, the creator of the event.

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Been There, Done That ~

Green Plantain Soup
Batata Chips with Ají Amarillo Crema
Congris

Other People's Eats ~

Tostones - Mobile Test Kitchen
Maduros - Apartment Therapy - The Kitchn
Chifles - Laylita's Recipes

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9 comments:

  1. I've tasted tostones but the sauce, I'll have to try that out, it has all my favourite ingredients!

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  2. That looks scrumptious! I love plantains.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. I can't wait to try my first plantain. You have given me an idea for a recipe I can make for a party where we have to try something we have never tried before.

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  4. You had me at 'shrieking garlic'. Nice one! No idea where I might get hold of plantains though...

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  5. delicious dip for the plantain
    looks yummy

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  6. wow that recipe looks just bizarre in an exciting way - would love a taste because it just is making my mind spin - sounds like you grew up in a colourful neighbourhood

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  7. I understand you when you talk about a cluttered mind. I hope things get better soon. I have only had plantains in a casserole and never attempted to cook them. I am also intrigued by the sauce.

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  8. I love that you have surfaced nutritional reasons to eat tostones. Sometimes The mojo sauce looks great and I need to perfect mine as the last version I made had too much cumin.

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  9. Sra – As good as tostones are, the sauce is kick-rump amazing.

    Thanks, Rosa.

    Val – Your party sounds like fun. This recipe is easy enough to fit in with the theme without going nuts.

    Robyn – Thanks. There was a time here when plantains were not easy to come by, too. Now I see them in my general supermarkets – the demographics have changed a lot.

    Akheela – Thank you. : )

    Johanna - It is exciting, even now after all these years. Oh, yes, colorful is a good way to describe my diverse teenage neighborhood.

    Simona – Thanks. There's just so much going on now that it's hard to keep up. The sauce is so simple yet robust, I wonder how three ingredients can be so powerfully good.

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