Favorite Ecuadorian food #1: quinoa
Favorite Ecuadorian food #2: patacones
Did you know that Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of bananas? Hence, Ecuadorians have a ridiculous amount of banana and plantain recipes. You can poach them, fry them, bake them, make soup out of them… There’s even a whole region of the country simply referred to as “the bananas.”
Patacones are my favorite (followed closely by chifles) probably due to my love of all things fried. When I lived in Ecuador, I couldn’t get enough of them, but since I’ve been home – seven years now! – they’re a) hard to find and b) just not the same…
I’ve attempted to make patacones (also known as tostones in other parts of Central and South America) before, to varying degrees of success and have realized that the key is in soaking and/or boiling the plantain first and using a glass surface for the smashing. Confused? Here’s the step-by-step.
2 c vegetable oil
Sea or kosher salt
Peel the plantain. It’s a little harder than it sounds, but easy enough if you cut off the ends, make a slice along one side and then gently peel away from the slice.
Once peeled, cut the plantain into 1″ pieces. (These pieces were a bit too big.) I like to cut at an angle.
Add plantain pieces to a pot of water and boil for at least 15 minutes. You can also leave them to soak for several hours.
While the plantains are boiling/ soaking, add the vegetable oil to a large pot and heat on medium high. Drain the plantains and add them to the oil to fry for 2-3 minutes until they become slightly golden and soft.
Remove the plantains from the oil and use a glass to smash them into 1/4″ inch “chips.” Try not to break or crack the plantain in the process – this is where boiling/soaking helps to keep it soft.
Return the plantains to the oil and fry for another 2-3 minutes until they become crunchy on the outside but still slightly soft inside.
Remove from the oil, dry on paper towel and sprinkle with salt. I also like to dip them in tofu sour cream.