Monday, June 22, 2015

Failing at Plantains

Often on a trip, there is a food that recurs throughout becomes emblematic to that trip. In Costa Rica, the stand-out food was plantains—both as chips, and as an ooey-gooey, sweet treat. 

Plantains are not hard to come by in the US. But as a I learned in the last few weeks, they are quite hard to cook. Here's how that journey went. 

Recreating the chips...
These come in bags, like regular chips in Costa, but I used my Top Chip trays to replicate plantain chips at home. It worked remarkably well. Sliced with a mandolin and microwaved 2 minutes, a little salt and they were good to go.
I also found these pre-packaged at a few stores, but the only place they were any good was Kingma's. Not surprising, Kingma's excels at drying fruit and covering things in chocolate...

Frying plantains....
Attempt #1.
I guess it worked.

But it really wasn't very good. There was no ooey-gooey sweetness here, and clearly my smoke detector needs new batteries. Just rather bland, next time I shall try frying them in butter.

Attempt #2.
A messier version of #1

I tried frying them in butter this time. And while they got softer, I added the sugar while it was frying and it turned into a sticky, smokey, sometimes flaming mess (i learned on this day that my smoke detector does not, in fact, need new batteries). Had I been paying more attention, I may have been able to salvage these, but still, not quite right. 

Attempt #3
I decided to follow the advice of the waiter at San Chez, which was to fry the plaintains (like above, then mash into patties and fry again, so they are twice fried. I don't think i did it right— these look nothing like San Chez plantains. They didn't taste like them either. These tasted like gooey, banana pancakes (not all together horrible) and nothing like the tostones effect I was going for. 
So all in all, I give up. Fried Plantains don't even sound appealing anymore! They shall remain a traveling and tapas treat for me. 

For the record, THIS is the appearance and consistency I was looking for, unos platano maduros: 


  1. I remember coming home and trying to replicate something that I had had abroad. It hardly ever works. What I have had to do several times is actually bring a raw ingredient back with me because you just can not find it in the states. That is such a funny concept because I feel the same way about other countries.

    Neville @ Electrical Experts

    1. It's like that food becomes a part of that trips memory. And no replication will ever be as good as the original! Glad I'm not the only one that associates food with travel and places. Thanks for the comment Neville!