Tostones (from the Spanish verb tostar which means “to toast”) are twice-fried plantain slices. They are most commonly known as tostones (in Puerto Rico, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela). They are also known as tachinos or chatinos (Cuba), fritos verdes (Dominican Republic), bananes pesées (Haiti), and patacones (Colombia, Panama, Peru, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Ecuador).
Green (unripe) plantains are peeled, sliced length-wise, diagonally, or width-wise, and then fried twice. The raw slices of plantains are fried for one to two minutes on each side until they are golden in color, and removed and patted to remove excess cooking oil. Afterwards, they are pounded flat with a hinged utensil made for the task, called a tostonera, or less conveniently with any kitchen utensil that has a large enough flat surface, for instance between two plates. The flattened plantain slices are then fried once again until they are crisp and golden brown.
Tostones are salted and eaten much like potato chips/crisps or French fries/chips. In some regions, it is customary to dip them in mojo (a garlic sauce) or ají, or in Colombia they are sometimes served with hogao sauce. In Costa Rica, they are often eaten with a paste-like dip made from black beans. In some countries, they are served topped with cheese as an appetizer, or with shrimp ceviche, pulled chicken, or avocado salad. They can also be bought prepared from supermarkets. This food is found in all varieties of Caribbean cuisine.
Tostones are also a staple of Latin American countries and the Caribbean, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, the north coast of Honduras, and in Haiti, where they are often served with the traditional griot (fried pork) or picklise (pikliz) – a pickled hot pepper mix.
They can also be found in West African cuisine, where they are referred to as plantain crisps.
- 3 green plantains
- 1-2 cups vegetable oil
- sea salt to taste
- Magic Green Sauce for dipping
- Peel the plantains by making a vertical cut through the skin and peeling it back with your hands or the edge of a spoon
- Cut the plantains into 1-inch thick pieces. Heat a layer of oil in a heavy bottomed pan (see video to eyeball the amount).
- Fry the plantains in batches. When the plantains are starting to turn light golden brown, remove from the oil and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Smash each piece with the back of a wooden spoon – this gives you a flatter shape with rougher edges. Return to the frying pan and fry for an additional 4-5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer back to a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and serve immediately, dipped in some kind of yummy sauce.
Other uses of the term
In Honduras, the term tostón may also refer to the 50-cent coin of the local currency, the lempira. This is also the case in Mexico in reference to 50 cents of a peso.
Please visit our website to explore more about Cuban cuisine.