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Island Bites: Tostones & Arañitas (Fried Plantain Spiders)

Updated on September 10, 2013
5 stars from 2 ratings of Tostones & Arañitas

Plantains are a staple in Caribbean cuisine, part of our African heritage. Starchier than a banana, plantains are usually eaten cooked, either ripe or unripe. Tostones and arañitas are two of the multiple ways Puerto Ricans use unripe ones.

How to peel a plantain

To peel a plantain, cut off both ends and slit the skin lengthwise two or three times. With the help of a paring knife, remove the skin.

*Be sure plantains are room temperature. Cold plantains are harder to peel.


Tostones (also known as patacones in some Latin countries) are crispy twice-fried plantain.


  • 2 plantains, unripe (green)
  • oil for frying
  • salt


  1. Cut the plantains into 1 1/2 inches slices.
  2. Heat oil (about an inch deep) in a skillet over medium heat. Add plantains and fry for 2 or 3 minutes per side.
  3. Remove plantains from oil. Flatten the plantain pieces with a tostonera, or you could use a plate or the bottom of a pan.
  4. Turn up the oil temperature. Fry the tostones at meium-high temperature until golden and crispy, about 2 or 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oil and place in a cooling rack or papel towel. Sprinkle a little salt. Serve immediately.


In Spanish, the word arañitas mean little spiders. The recipe got the name because the shredded crispy plantain resembles the legs of a spider.


  • 2 unripe plantains, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 garlic powder (optional)
  • oil for frying


  1. Shred the plantains with a coarse grater.
  2. Add salt and garlic powder and mix well.
  3. Heat 2 inches of oil over medium-high.
  4. Using your hands or a spoon, form clumps of the plantain mixture and gently slide into the hot oil.
  5. Fry until golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes per side.
  6. Remove, drain and sprinkle with salt.

Have you ever tasted plantains?

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Want the whole experience?

You could dip tostones and arañitas in any of these Puerto Rican choices.

  • Mayoketchup - Mix 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of ketchup and (optional) 1 grated garlic clove or 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
  • Mojo de ajo - Sauté 4 smashed garlic cloves in 1/2 cup olive oil. Blend the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.


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