By Celina DeCastro
One of the familiar side dishes in Panama is that of the double fried green plantain, called Patacones in Panama but in other countries this is called Tostones. Often paired with any meal, including breakfast, this fried plantain borders between a chip and a fruit. It can be served with a sunny side up egg for breakfast, as a side to Panamanian arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), or can be eaten by itself. This crispy treat as well as other traditional foods reflects the various Spanish, American, Afro-Caribbean and indigenous influences on the Panamanian culture.
What you’ll need:
- Un-ripened green plantains (the amount varies on how much you would like to make)
- Vegetable oil
What to do:
- Remove the peel off the plantain. Do so by cutting off both ends and cutting a slit down the length of the plantain to remove the peel.
- Cut the plantains at a slant, leaving each piece a quarter inch thick.
- Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a skillet on medium-high heat.
- Add a layer of sliced plantains into the hot oil. Flip occasionally to cook both sides. Lower heat of you notice the patacones cooking too quickly.
- Once they have started to brown and have absorbed oil, remove and it cool.
- Use a plantain smasher or a cup with a flat bottom to squish the plantain.
- Place the now squished plantains back into the oil, flip occasionally to cook both sides. Remove once they are crispy and golden. Turn down the heat if you notice they are burning and not getting crispy.
- Add salt to taste and serve to hungry friends or family.