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Tostones, Maduros, Platano Y Other Things…

I am way behind schedule on this post, so I apologize to all those I told to come back sometime on Monday to check out today’s post on PLANTAINS! I decided to DRIVE home to DC for a much needed break and lots of cookin’ in mi madre’s kitchen.

Oh yeah, and a week long photo shoot for the book! Man, talk about work. After 10 hours stuck in my car, Geisha and I just wanted to plop down on what ever was soft as soon as we arrived. Instead, I made a bee line for the cocina and had carne ripiada or ropa vieja with black beans and rice. I had called my mom 40 minutes before I arrived and asked her to please, please have some food ready. Burger King’s crispy and spicy chicken sandwich at 9 am did really mean things to me 10 minutes later. I will spare you.

After I took all of 5 minutes to eat, I was exhausted and would have preferred to pack the calories and carbs on my Beyoncè thick thighs by taking a nap, but I promised to do this…so here I am. Midnight, hungry again, tired and really wanting some chocolate.

Many of you left comments wanting recipes for either tostones and maduros, both which are eaten ALL the time in my parents’ home, my apartment and every other Latino family in the world. Growing up and till this day I always try to make plantain with any Cuban or Latin dinner I cook. The problem lies in not always being able to find ripe ones, last minute. I typically have to wait a few days for them to get black enough.

When I lived in Va, I used to shop for super ripe and right at point plantains at this African market right across the street from my rinky-dink (in size) apartment. If I was really pressed, I’d run instead of drive. I figured with all the deep frying I was getting ready to do, running to and fro would probably be a good idea. Anyway, the Ghanaian owned bootleg shop was the only one near me that always had plantains I could cook that night. Of course, if I was looking for green plantains (which wasn’t as often), I could always find that.

So for those of you that love eating plantain and for those of you that never have, I’m about to share with you three different ways you can quickly serve this fave fruit of mine and millions of others. I have made it about 5 other different ways, including plantain cheese balls–YUM!!, but I’ll save those for some other time.

Damn, this vanilla chai tea is NOT doing it for me right now…(now 2 am)

Thanks to Wikipedia, I get to cheat a bit tonight (please do forgive me) with some brief history on plantain:

Plantains tend to be firmer and lower in sugar content than dessert bananas and are used either when green or under-ripe (and therefore starchy) or overripe (and therefore sweet). Plantains are a staple food in the tropical regions of the world, treated in much the same way as potatoes and with a similar neutral flavour and texture when unripe. They are grown as far north as Florida, the Caribbean and Central America, the Canary Islands, Madeira, Egypt, and southern Japan or Taiwan and as far south as KwaZulu-Natal and southern Brazil. The largest exporter of plantains to the United States is Colombia.


This is my favorite way to eat plantain. Really ripe, sweet, and the fastest way of preparing. Though you will want to get a really dark looking plantain, with little to not yellow and definitely NO green, you may hit or miss depending on the internal ripening. An example are the ones I cooked a few hours ago. They were very black and soft on the outside but they didn’t taste as sweet as I was hoping. Peeled and sliced diagonally into 1″pieces, they are deep fried until golden brown. You can sprinkle sugar or nutmeg on them. And all Latin nationalities may even differ in how they eat them. For instance, El Salvadorans cut them thicker and pour a gallop of sour cream on top. Not my cup of tea at all, but clearly it works for them.

Anyway, my dad was okay with the end result, but I like them a bit sweeter. You can eat plátanito frito with anything! Really. It’s not a fancy way of cooking plátanos or anything like that…they’re just good!

(These are waaaay too ugly but they were pretty good. Again, they don’t have to be this ripened, but it’s what I had around tonight).

and then you have…


This other way of deep fried plantain is very popular. A completely different taste and a bit more labor intensive, I think you’ll love these more, especially if you don’t a have a sweet tooth.

You want to make sure you pick a very green plantain that is hard. If you fry one that is starting to ripen, you’ll quickly see that it won’t keep that perfect little flat patty shape. It might not form all that great and start to break apart.  But you can go forward with it anyway. Again, b/c these require a bit more work, give yourself a about 10 additional minutes. Cut into 2″pieces and fry on each side for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and with a brown paper bag, flatten them using the pressure of your palm (yeah the old traditional and practical way of doing it before “plantaneras” became available, if at all). Deep fry for about 2-3 minutes, or until golden. Sprinkle sea salt on the tostones, instead of sugar, and you can even do a really good garlic mojo to dip in or pour over.

I love it with the mojo when I add a bit of orange zest.

And lastly (for now)…


This is also very simple and takes the longest of the three. To make plátanos sancochados (the way Cubans say it) you want to get an “in between” plantain that is more ripe than green. It can’t be black though. It can show some black speckles but it should be more yellow than anything. Cut into 2.5″ pieces, boil (with peel on) and then peel… You can sprinkle nutmeg on this mildly sweet plátano or just eat as is.

This process is the same way we make a number of other plantain dishes, including fufu or those cheese balls I mentioned earlier. I’ll touch on that later. As I mentioned earlier, there are about 10 or so different ways of cooking plantain that I know of and have had. These 3 are just really easy and basic. I will get into the fancy way of having plantain, though you just might have to wait for the book! 🙂

Okay, sike.


If you have any questions on how to prepare any one of these, please don’t hesitate to ask or email me!

Okay I’m out friends. I’ve had a tremendously long day and I need some sleep before I forget all the groceries I still need to buy first thing in the morning. Doing off site cooking—ugh.

Oh yeah and I have a really exciting non-food related post for next time. Think great music, Grammy nominee, etc… 🙂

Stay tuned!

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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Don't forget to check out my debut cookbook!




  • Ripe plantain
  • 1 cup cooking oil, vegetable or canola


With a paring knife, cut off ends of plantain, about 1/2″. Cut skin vertically, deep enough to see the yellowish meat. Pull apart and peel. Using same knife, slice into the plantain diagonally, making your pieces about 1″ thick. In medium skillet, heat oil on high and fry on each side until golden brown. If you like them crispier on the edges, cook just a tad bit longer.

Serves 3; use more plantain to double



  • Green (very green) plantain
  • 2 cups cooking oil, vegetable or canola
  • sea salt to taste


With a paring knife, cut off ends of plantain, about 1/2″. Cut skin vertically, deep enough to see the yellowish/pinkish meat. Pull apart and peel. Cut plantain into 2-3″ chunks. In medium skillet heat oil on high. Fry plantain for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and place on cutting board. If you have brown paper bag, place the plantain in between paper. Using the palm of your hand, mash the plantain until it’s flattened out into a nice patty size. Fry again for about 3 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle salt over top and serve.

If you them to have a garlicky taste, chop 1 clove and saute until garlic is browned. Cook tostones per steps above.

Serves 3; use more plantain to double



  • Ripe plantain
  • 4 cups water
  • nutmeg, sugar (optional)


In medium sauce pan, boil water. With a paring knife, cut off ends of plantain, about 1/2″. Leaving skin on, cut into 2-3″ chunks. Boil for about 20 minutes or until plantain gets bright yellow in center. Remove from boiling water. With the same knife, peel plantain and sprinkle nutmeg or sugar on top.

Serves 3; use more plantain to double.

34 thoughts on “Tostones, Maduros, Platano Y Other Things…

  1. I love platano macho (that’s how we call it in Mexico) One of the ways we eat the really ripe ones is fried then cut lengthwise and topped with strawberry jelly, cream, condensed milk and chocolate syrup.
    I love tostones with my rice and sour cream, that is the best!
    I am hungry now

  2. I adore platanos! Why don’t I think of them more often? Today I bought those baby bananas from the Vietnamese grocery store. When I’m done with them, I’m heading for the platanos! Gracias, chica!

  3. Man I wish I could find some decent plantains in SE Michigan/NW Ohio. They’re all pretty nasty around these parts this time of year. Heck, I can’t even find a good-looking tomatillo!

  4. LunaPier Cook:That sucks!! I’d be better off not finding something like bread! But not plantain! I’ll send you some if you want! let me know!

    Donald: Encyclopedia? Not hardly but I will take the compliment!

    Toni: Ooh baby platanos are sooo good. My mom buys those often and in fact, has some at home now…this is why I love coming home!

    Slimply Gluten-free: Uhm….not enough sleep yet. I hate that drive more than anything else… You gotta do what you gotta do!

    Robin: Girl, it’s a beast trying to find a grocery store that even knows what ripe plantain looks like! I keep telling the people at my Publix that I eat them all the time and could they PLEASE leave some darker ones for me! UGH!

    Lys: Let me know how it goes for you. Ask me anything!

    Ben: Sour cream is a no-no for me, but I could see why it works. I have a really GOURMET of preparing them which I’ll share in a few weeks! Esperate…. what about helado de platano! Oh yum!

  5. congrats on the excellent blog award. I actually have had the pleasure of Chef Bren’s Maduros and Tostones. They were both great and worked well with the accompanying dishes. I preferred the sweeter Maduros because I have a raging sweet tooth but the Tostones worked well with the recipe from the previous post as well.

  6. i’m from kerala in the southernmost tip of india, where we are crazy as the latinos are about plantains. plantain chips are the signature food of kerala. this is food porn, for sure.

  7. Yummy! Great info on how to pick out the perfect plantain according to your culinary intentions! Almost wanna make me start cooking……not really! I sure hope plantains are on the menu for tomorrow = )

  8. Platanos are such a key component fo Cuban meals!! Great blog! Thanks for all the info, really helpful. Like one of your other commentees, I too have a difficult time even finding WHERE to get them. I’ll keep a look out though. Hopefully I can try some of these dishes out soon enough!! Thanks! Oh, and congrats on the award! Your blog is excellent!!! Love it!

  9. Hi,

    Hope you had wonderful weekend! 🙂
    My favourite way to eat plantains is either fried ripe plantain slices or pieces of very green plantain in salt fish stew! And mofongo of course! 😉

  10. Oh how I love plantains…It reminds me of my trips to the Dominican. You see the local making tostones on the side of the street with big wooden paddles. Then theres the platanos fritos that are just about the best dessert ever. Don’t know if I’ve had the boiled variety though, I’ll have to try! Thanks.

    The Peanut Butter Boy

  11. Me encanta tu manera incorporar la comida en tus anecdotas cotidianas! Y Digame, donde se encuentra esa tienda africana en VA? Nunca puedo conseguir platanos en DC! (Bueno, tal vez por que estamos en Marzo…)

  12. Now you know me being from barbados i need some plantains in my life. traditionally i like mine fryed and diagonally sliced but your tostones look wayyy good i think i’m going to have to try them. or even better go over to mamma halls house and eat some.

  13. Thank you Bren for dropping by my page…..this was a very good detailed article, and as Bee wrote, we re crazy about this …….we make savory dishes with the green plaintains and use ripe ones for sweet snacks & desserts and sometimes in savory preps too….I am happy to come across this article 🙂

  14. When will you be back in the area?  I’m gonna find you and get some of these!  I love tostones.  They are so sweet and tasty. 

  15. Maybe you can help me.  There are 2 dips that I’ve had w/ tostones that I really loved.  One was like a garlicky mayonnaise and the other was very much like a mojo (maybe it was mojo).  Do you have any insight as to these sauces that can be served with tostones?

    I made some really flavorful plaintain fritters here: http://lifechef.blogspot.com/2008/09/plantain-fritters.html
    It was a bit of work, and trial and error, but damn they were good.

    By the way love your blog.  Just subscribed.

  16. The pic of those first platanos almost made me jizz! Wow they look so perfect!! I used to live in the same boarding house with this cuban guy that always made tostones i wish i wouldve tryed them with sum dip. If anyone want to know a good way to eat platano chips i went to this place that served a bowl of chips with a black bean dip!!yum!! it looked like the frijoles estaban molidos  so they could be dip-like u should try it. thanks for the PICS B!!

  17. La felicito por tan lindo trabajo y material pero no da las recetas, la del Mojo y naranja agria. pues al ver las fotos tan bien tomadas, se antoja uno y le provoca pues tan delicioso plato pero no tenemos la receta, deberia poner las receta asi tendra gente satisfecha y contenta y mucho mas seguidores en su blog. Bueno gracias por compartir y que dios la bendiga.

  18. Thank you so much! You have no idea how I went to town on some tostones back in day. I used to love to go to my God moms house and get those nice perfectly fried green plantains. But after my Godfather passed , she moved back to Dominican Republic because besides my late great Cuban God dad and they’re children, she had no other family in the Bronx; none in the U.S. Even more so a reason. That was a big loss altogether and it also took some of my favorite foods to eat with her with recipes going to D.R. along with her. I’ve since tried to imitate the style and grace it took her to make them so on point, and I failed at being able to replace or replicate her technique. I believe my moms Jamaican influence in my way of cooking is big part of why my results would differ from hers. But I have to try your way they look almost just like the tostones I fell in love with once, hopefully we could reunite lol. Gracias Chef for the lovely recipe share with your fine self:)

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