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Video:How to Make Fried Plantains

with John Mitzewich

A quick, two-step procedure is all it takes to make this Caribbean specialty, fried plantains. See how it's done, along with a delicious citrus dipping sauce to pair with the plantains.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Make Fried Plantains

Hi, I'm Chef John Mitzewich for About.com. Today we're taking a little culinary trip to the tropics and I'm going to show you how to make fried plantains.

What is a Plantain?

There it is: the plantain. Not the most beautiful fruit in the world. It looks like a giant ugly over-ripe banana, but it's actually very form inside and quite delicious of you cook it properly. What you want is any plantain in the supermarket - it's going to work, I would just stay away from the really black ones. They may be over-ripe.

Cut the Plantains

Even though this looks dark yellow-brown with black spots, when we peel this - I'm just using a paring knife - it' going to be surprisingly firm, very firm in fact. And that's why these really can't be eaten raw. They need to be cooked to convert the starch. So we're going to slice these into about 3/4 - 1-inch slices. They have a very firm and waxy texture, very interesting.

Pre-Fry the Plantain

The first step is to cook these in oil for about 2 minutes per side. If you want a temperature, it's about 325 degrees F, not super hot. I have my heat on medium here. You can test it with a small piece; if it starts to bubble you're fine. I have about a 1/2-inch of oil. Keep the heat on medium, and cook them for 2 minutes per side. This is the first cooking, this starts to convert the starch - it starts to soften them and sweeten them. And, then you're going to see what we do here. I usually use 2 forks to turn them over.

Cool the Fried Plantains

After the 2 minutes per side I'm going to take them out and put them on a paper towel. We're going to let them cool a little, about 5 minutes.

Make the Fried Plantain Dipping Sauce

While they're cooling we're going to make the dipping sauce:
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/8 tsp chipotle pepper
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
Give that a stir and that makes a great dipping sauce - it's kind of hot, a little bit sour for these sweet and starchy fried plantains.

Press the Fried Plantains

So now that the plantains are cool we're going to press them. We're going to make them about half the width. I'm going to use a meat-pounder, you can use the back of a pan, or even your palm. Between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, I'm going to tap that down and what you're looking for is about half the width. So there we go, those are ready for the second frying.

Fry the Plantains

So I'm going to get the oil back up medium-hot temperature. 325 F is what the textbooks say, but as long as it's bubbling you're fine. You don't want smoking hot oil because it will get brown too fast before it cooks. The second frying you want to go about 4 minutes per side. What will happen is that the outside will get kind of crisp and crunchy and the inside stays starchy and tender. Give them a little salt and serve them with the dipping sauce.

Serve and Enjoy

These are really, really good. Serve them hot or warm. You can keep them warm in the oven if you are doing batches. If you've ever been to a Cuban, or Caribbean, or Puerto Rican restaurant, I'm sure you've had these. They are amazingly delicious and easy to make at home. So, I hope you give them a try. Enjoy.

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