All you needed to know about Tostones (Dominican Twice-Fried Plantains), one of our favorite side dishes. Enjoy these crispy delights!
There are many dishes that several Latin American countries share, but few that get our heart pumping like a plateful of crispy, thinly-flattened, salt-sprinkled, freshly-fried Tostones.
They are so popular amongst Dominicans that tostones are one of the first things the fledging Dominican home cook will learn how to make.
What are tostones?
Tostones are slices of unripe plantains, fried, flattened, then fried again. It is Dominicans' side dish of choice, and just as welcome at street food stands as they are on the dining tables.
In Puerto Rico and Cuba, they are known by the same name and are equally popular. In Haiti, they may be fried in large slices that are known as Fri Bannann or Banann peze. In South America, they're also known as tostones in some parts and patacones (plural of patacón) in others. They are also known as fritos verdes (fried green plantains) in the Dominican Republic.
Where does the word come from?
Did you ever want to know why tostones are called that way? This is where our investigation led us:
Tostones is the plural of tostón, which is what we still call a single one. Tostón was a Spanish coin used during the colonial period, and later in post-colonial Mexico. The name itself comes from teston (or testoni [heads]) another coin used earlier in France and Italy.
The word tostón is used in Spain as slang for money, but also in the culinary sense to describe other types of fried or toasted foods (like bread tostones).
Which one (the word tostar [to toast], or the coin) gave us the word for the fried plantain? I am not sure. Maybe both? A tostón does, after all, look like a giant ancient coin.
About our recipe
While these twice-fried plantains are usually served as a side dish, I have added a quick, flavorful garlic sauce for tostones to the recipe, in case you want to serve them as finger food. It is bowl-licking good.
There isn't much you need to learn to make these golden, crispy smashed plantain delights, and there isn't any variation of importance amongst cooks and homes. But if you have any tricks to make yours even more awesome, we'd love to hear it.
[Recipe + Video] Tostones (Flattened Fried Plantains)
- 2 unripe plantains
- ½ cup oil
- 1 tbsp salt, (or more, to taste)
- 1 ripe tomato, chopped
- 4 sprigs parsley
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Peeling: Peel the plantains (see how to) and cut into 1 inch [2.5 cm] thick slices.
- Fry: In a deep frying pan heat the oil over medium heat and fry the plantains till light golden (about 5 mins). Flatten the plantains using a tostonera (Amazon affiliate link) to about ¼" [0.5 cm]. Fry the plantains again until a golden yellow on both sides (about 5 minutes).
- Serve: Sprinkle with salt to taste and serve immediately. Best served freshly-fried as a side dish, but if you want to try it as an appetizer, we give the choice of serving with a dip (see below).
How to make tostones garlic dip (optional)
- Make the dip: Pulse all the ingredients until they are thoroughly blended but not liquefied.