Island Bites: Tostones & Arañitas (Fried Plantain Spiders)
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
- Cut the plantains into 1 1/2 inches slices.
- Heat oil (about an inch deep) in a skillet over medium heat. Add plantains and fry for 2 or 3 minutes per side.
- Remove plantains from oil. Flatten the plantain pieces with a tostonera, or you could use a plate or the bottom of a pan.
- Turn up the oil temperature. Fry the tostones at meium-high temperature until golden and crispy, about 2 or 3 minutes.
- 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
- Shred the plantains with a coarse grater.
- Add salt and garlic powder and mix well.
- Heat 2 inches of oil over medium-high.
- Using your hands or a spoon, form clumps of the plantain mixture and gently slide into the hot oil.
- Fry until golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes per side.
- Remove, drain and sprinkle with salt.
Have you ever tasted plantains?
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.
Recipes you may like:
- Island Bites: Mexican Tostadas (plus Chunky Guacamole and Refried Beans recipes)
This recipe is a mexican version of an open sandwich. It has a layered "salad" on top of a flat crispy corn tortilla. Plus Chunky Guacamole and Homemade Refried Beans recipes.
- Island Bites: Papas Salteadas con Tocineta (Warm Potato & Bacon Salad)
A warm and delicious spin on traditional potato salad.
- Island Bites: Alcapurrias (Puerto Rican Green Banana & Root Vegetable Fritters)
Alcapurria is the favorite "street food" in Puerto Rico. It is a fried green banana and root vegetables dough filled with seasoned ground beef. You can also find seafood alcapurrias.
- Island Bites: Piñón (Sweet Plantain Lasagna)
Piñon is a Puerto Rican dish made with friend sweet plantains and picadillo (seasoned ground meat).
- Island Bites: Empanadas de Yuca (Cassava Fritters)
This cassava fritter is one of the many "frituras" in Puerto Rican cuisine. Frituras are usually streetfood, typically found at beach kiosks.