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Crispy Plantains with Garlic Sauce
What I’m about to say is not an exaggeration: I’ve been eating these plantains for dinner almost every night for months. Every. night.
I’ve also been having a super fun summer… enjoying tons of energy during my workouts… losing body fat and building muscle. Coincidence? I don’t think so! I think these plantains are magic. So abracadabra to you!
This recipe is part of my Paleo Latin American Dinner Party menu!
Crispy Plantains with Garlic Sauce
Serves 2-4 | Prep 20 minutes | Cook 30 minutes | Whole30 compliant
2 green plantains (very green!)
1 tablespoon salt
1-2 tablespoons cooking fat (duck, lard, coconut oil, ghee)
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup light-tasting olive oil or avocado oil
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
Peel the plantains and cut them into 1-inch thick coins. Place in a saucepan, cover them with cold water, add salt, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until a fork easily slides in and out when you poke a piece of plantain, about 10-15 minutes.
While the plantains are simmering, make the Garlic Sauce. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and purée, or place in a ball jar and whirl with a stick blender. Set aside.
Drain the plantains and let them cool until you can handle them without burning your fingers. Place the chunks between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap and lightly smash them with a meat hammer or the bottom of a saucepan/jar/measuring cup. You want to smush ’em up just enough to make some rough edges; they don’t need to be particularly thin.
Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and warm the cooking fat. Add the smashed plantains and brown them on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per side. Sprinkle with a little salt and devour. (I can barely keep myself from eating them straight out of the pan.)
The plantains can be boiled and smashed in advance, then stored in the fridge until you’re ready to crisp them in the pan. I usually make a batch of boiled plantains during my weekly cookup, then when it’s dinner time, they’re ready in about 5 minutes.
Irressistible in so many ways:
sprinkled with a little ground cumin and spritzed with lime juice
dunked into Lizard Sauce
served alongside/under the taco meat from my Plantain Nachos recipe
Also, that garlic sauce?! You can put that on ANYTHING. The Sunday Times would be delicious dipped in that stuff, I’m just sayin’…
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Yes yes yes yes yes!
Ate these with dinner last night and again with breakfast this morning and had to come to comment and say THANK YOU! Plantains are definitely my favorite carb and specifically tostones (don’t really care for maduros). I also love plantain chips but I’m trying not to eat them too often because I could easily eat a whole bag without even noticing. But tostones take forever to make, so they’re not a great “need. food. now.” thing. I’ve been making “tostones” recently by twice baking them (baking until soft, smashing, flipping, baking again) – way easier than frying since it’s tidier and you can actually cook them through before they start to burn on the bottom – and they’re OK, but kind of dry. And I tried to do the first two steps (bake, smash) as prep for a weekly cookup but the starch turns to chalk in the fridge and it didn’t work at all.
So I made these last night and they were incredible – so moist but crispy. But I was dubious that the ones I hadn’t fried would still be good after sitting in the fridge. Fried some up in the bacon grease left in the pan this morning and oh my god they’re still just as good! This is absolutely going in my weekly cookup from now on! Now I just have to figure out how many minutes to pressure cook these in the Instant Pot. And I wonder if you can steam them in the peel, maybe with just the ends lopped off? Going to have to Google it. And I’ll be using my cast iron tortilla press (which actually says “pataconera” right on it and patacones = tostones) for more even smooshing, because my silicone spatula trick left me with lots of little bits.
That is AWESOME! I’m so glad you like them and that my tips were helpful. I’ve been boiling/smashing a batch every week, and it makes me so happy.
Greetings from the northwest coast of Ireland and thank you for 2 things: the plantain recipe and using a ball jar and stick blender in lieu of a food processor. Kitchen space is limited in my small cottage and I was in 2 minds about purchasing a processor so will now wait until I try the jar and blender method.
Again, as we say in Gaelic, Go Raibh Mile Maith Agat ( many many thanks)!!
I’m madly in love with my stick blender and find I use it much more than my food processor. So easy and fast! Enjoy!
Because I got caught up in a book, my batch cooled completely before I could smash them – they all crumbled to bits. Was cooling off what made them crumble? They still tasted good fried up and salted.
Yep — as you learned with your accidental experiment, they crumble if they’re too cold when you smash them. Glad they still tasted good!
Whoa…glad I was reading this thread as the plantains were cooling…I think I got to them just on the brink of being too cool to not crumble. A few edges crumbled but otherwise…these are so good. My first time with fried plantains and I can say they will be happening again…and again…and again. Like you said, I couldn’t help but eat them right out of the pan. Hot finger tips 🙂
I bought four green plantains, used two of them… the other two got ripe. I made your Pan-Fried Plantains from WF2 for lunch today with roast chicken – amazing! Totally different taste and texture once they’re ripe – this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but I’ve never eaten plantains before, so it’s all new to me.
Not to sound too fan-girly, but you’re not just giving people a way to eat delicious paleo food, you’re broadening people’s culinary horizons, period. I’ve never been wild about zucchini, because there were only so many ways to cook it, and I don’t like it raw. Well, now I’m emptying the shelves of it at the market, because zoodles are my jam. You may not have invented them, but you’ve given me loads of ideas for what to put ON them. I’ve seen plantains in markets for decades, but never knew what to do with them – I do now!
Now, food isn’t just healthier, it’s a lot more interesting, so there’s no craving to graze on junk. Truly, Melissa, thank you. Can’t wait for your third cookbook!
Isn’t it fun to see how plantains change as they ripen?! They’re so versatile — like magic. I’m really glad you enjoyed the recipes and are having fun trying new foods. That’s my favorite part of playing in the kitchen; you can find new things to love.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write; I really appreciate it. And I’m SUPER excited about the new cookbook. The recipes are coming out very well — lots of delicious, easy, weeknight, get-the-food-on-the-table ideas.
Thank you for the support and enthusiasm!
Oh…just made the Cuban meatballs (had to make a few small substitutions but the essence is still there) and am getting ready to make the plantains…the garlic sauce with the cuban meatballs is AMAZING!
Your food is really my favorite among the Paleo choices, the flavor profiles are just so in your face. Wish my husband was more of an adventurous eater.
I almost forgot about those Cuban meatballs! I love the idea of pairing the Garlic Sauce with them. You’re a smarty-pants!
I have a serious plantain problem. I’m eating them almost every day. SO GOOD! Luckily, the potassium is good for my blood pressure and the resistant starch is good for my gut bugs 🙂
I finally made these last night and they are so good. I mean, beyond the beyond, good. I’m in the midst of a W30 right now and have been trying to up my carb intake because of some fatigue during runs. I think these could become a regular indulgence! I love that recipe boils them first instead of frying. So clever. Love your books and recipes. Can’t wait for the new website.
I’m not exaggerating when I say I eat them every night for dinner. I might have a little bit of a problem 🙂
I am currently on a Whole 30 plan. I have had a life style/nutrition coach since January, and have lost nearly 20 pounds. We are trying to shed the last five pounds which will get me to my goal weight. I discovered your blog by accident this afternoon and have been reading it ever since. I can’t wait to try your recipes. They all sound so delicious! And I love the comments/suggestions shared by your other readers. You are doing a wonderful service for all of us trying to improve our health. Thank you!!
I’m really glad you found me! Congratulations on your weight loss and tackling the Whole30 — it’s awesome to wrangle control of nutrition, right?! Feels so good!
Happy cooking! Keep me posted on how you’re doing 🙂
Any sense of how long the garlic sauce will keep? Doesn’t sound like there’s much of it when following the recipe, but I imagine I’d like to store it for a few days (since there’s only one of me).
This sounds superb! I’m putting plantains on my shopping list. I’ve not experimented with them much and this sounds like a gateway recipe (or a gateway drug, maybe, given the rave reviews!)
Store it in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!
I love, love, love this recipe, but I am curious as to why you smash the plaintains. Do they not cook if they’re smooth? Just curious. 🙂
Glad you like it!
Smashing the plantains gives them nooks and crannies — aka, more surface area — which helps with the crisping process. I just read an article recently about roughing up the surface of meat before grilling it for the same reason.
Here in Florida we call those tostones and my husband goes through stages when we eat them daily for a while! I will have to share the garlic sauce recipe with him! (He’s the cook in the house..I just make subtle suggestions!) P.S. the new website looks great!!
How fun that your husband is the cook! I miss having someone cook for me because since I became a cookbook author, everyone refuses to cook for me 🙂 Enjoy!
Thanks so much, Melissa, for this fantastic recipe! I’ve tried lots of other fried plantain recipes and this one is definitely my favorite. Plantains have become a staple for me since, after a bit of sleuthing, I realized I’m histamine intolerance and had to give up bananas. I find that my body tolerates plantains well. Again, thanks! I especially love your tip about cooking and smashing ahead of time.
I’m madly in love with plantains right now, too! Glad they’re working for you and that this recipe is a hit. YAY!
Your Thursday e-mail was perfect timing. I just got my hands on some really green plantains (not always available in my neck of the woods) and I was looking for some recipes for them. Can’t decide between garlic sauce and lizard sauce – guess I’ll have to make both 🙂
Both is ALWAYS the right answer where sauces are involved. Enjoy!
Oooh. I love plantains. I make baked plantain chips to go with my husband’s homemade guac, and I also make plantain tortilla/tostada things. I love green plantains. I look forward to making your recipe. My tip, keep green plantains in the fridge to keep them greener longer.
That’s a great tip — thanks for sharing!
Where have these been all my life?? Thank you again Melissa!!!
Right?! Plantains are seriously my favorite food right now.
I don’t have any whole cumin seeds at the moment, could I use ground cumin? I have a big pile of plantains!
Sure! You can use a 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin instead.
I am having serious issues with making these. I’m puerto rican so I know how to make them with the double frying method, but I liked boiling these in order to keep them in the fridge for a quick fry- but I have tried this twice and it hasn’t worked when flattening them, they just crumble. The first time I let it cool too long, but the second time, they were still warm. What do you think could be the problem?
I was having that problem sometimes, too, then I realized I should boil them longer if they’re very, very, very green and hard. You want to cook them the first time until you can skip a tip of a knife into the plantain and it slips right off. Then gently smash them when they’re still warm. This should help!
Can you do this with non-green plantains? I can’t seem to find anyplace that sells them green.
As plantains ripen from green to yellow, the texture changes and they get sweeter. If you can’t find green ones, I recommend you use this recipe for yellow instead: http://meljoulwan.com/2012/04/18/casa-muy-grande-plantains/ You don’t need to boil yellow first because they’re quite soft; you can go straight to sautéeing.
I made these this morning with breakfast and they were really good! It’s a little bit of a process but if you have the time and patience they are totally worth it. I like them with and without the garlic sauce. I used coconut oil for frying them and it was really yummy. Mine didn’t even need salt. They taste like tangy, flavorful potatoes and the garlic sauce just puts them on a whole other level. Soo yummy! I will be making these many more times! They are very filling and you will have garlic breath after you eat these haha! So worth it though! Thank you for this recipe!
ALL they yes’ to these. I couldn’t find the green ones and went with the least ripe I could get my paws on and they were still smashing.
Thanks for another staple, Melissa!
I absolutely love these and they saved me on the W30…needed crispy/salty. However I have had the problem of them crumbling instead of smashing, even with boiling until soft. So I used the fried crumbled bits on taco salad instead of chips. 🙂 But I really love them when they stay whole…I keep trying. And the suggestion to use the tortilla press sounds great, I’m digging mine out.
Also I really like the garlic sauce with ground cumin and not blended, just whisked. For some reason after it was all emulsified I didn’t enjoy as much, even though it was tasty.
Thanks and keep up the good work!
I had this problem a few times, too. The solution seems to be to boil them until VERY soft, and then barely let them cool before flattening. Mine are usually still steaming when I smuch them. Maybe give that a try! (But be careful that you don’t burn yourself.)
I was wondering if I made several batches at a time if I could freeze them? Doing this means less cooking for me later?
The sauce can’t be frozen, but the plantains can! Boil and smash them, then place them flat between sheets of parchment paper and place in a freezer bag. When you’re ready to eat them, heat the oil in the skillet, add the plantains, and cook until crisp.
I finally saw plantains at a local Whole Foods and decided to try this recipe. SORRY BUT HOW DID YOU STAY FIT WITH THESE IN YOUR LIFE? I meant to share the dish with my boyfriend but I ate like 10 discs and left him 2. Also, I took the garlic sauce and blended in an avocado to give it a heftier consistency… that is also gone now. We love you!
Heh. Yeah, they can be a food with no brakes. I boil and smash them in advance, then put them immediately in the fridge. They do NOT taste good when they’re cold, and they get very hard. When it’s time to eat, I only cook as many as I know I need to get enough carbs — and 100grams by weight. I basically stop myself from overeating them by only cooking the exact right amount. Good luck!
That garlic sauce is great. I have been using your steaming method for my weekly cookup but have been unsure how to eat the veggies that i saute. I threw some leftover garlic sauce on sauteed kale and brussel sprouts, it was fantastic!
That’s great! I’m glad the garlic sauce is making your veggies more exciting!