While I was studying in Scotland, some of my classmates and I organized an International Party, as we were 90 students from 22 different countries and wanted to celebrate the convergence of cultures. The agreement was that we all had to wear the typical dress (or an approximation of it) and bring a traditional dish.
I was debating on whether to prepare something sweet like Arroz con Leche (rice pudding) or something savoury; but once I discovered that the newly opened Morrisons was carrying green plantains, I knew right away that I had to make patacones (a.k.a. tostones) with refried beans.
For the party, I made a little sign explaining what they were; since at a previous gathering I had only brought the mashed beans and they were mistaken first with chocolate. Imagine people’s faces when I dipped a Doritos chip into the bowl… haha! Once I had explained what they were, and people ventured to try them, the beans were a hit! Some classmates remained glued to the bowl until they were was nothing left! ;) So when I brought the beans with the plantains, the recently converted refried beans fans knew they were in for a treat!
For the attires, it was lovely to see many of my friends all dressed-up. For the dishes, it was incredible to taste so many flavours! The mix of all the colours made everything look bright and cheery!
Now, on to the recipe! I kindly had the assistance of my mom; she was patient enough to do the process slowly and stopped for me to take pictures. Thanks! ;)
Patacones (fried green plantains)
Place a large pan on medium heat with oil.
Take the plantain, chop off the tips; run off a knife lengthwise to cut the husk (do not go over to the flesh); help yourself with the knife to separate it from the flesh and then you may use your hands. Peel it completely. [On a side note, be careful with the husk not to touch for clothes for it may stain]
Cut 1 inch-thick (aprox 3cm) slices. Repeat this process with as many plantains to complete the portions that you would like to have. We estimated you get an average of 8 slices per plantain.
With one of the slices, carefully check if the oil has heated enough; if it starts sizzling just as you place the slice, then it is ready to place the rest.
Cook for about 3 minutes; flip them over; they should be yellow.
Take them out onto a chopping board and with the help of a cup or a glass; press the slices to flatten them out (about 1cm-thick) and make disks. *Tip* If you are having a party, you may make them ahead up until this step and store them in the fridge (or even freezer). Then once your guests have arrived, just continue with the rest of the steps.
Once you have done this with all, return them to the pan (by batches) and fry them until golden on each side.
Remove from the pan and place them on a surface with kitchen towels to drain off the excess oil. Sprinkle with salt; serve warm. Best enjoyed with refried beans!