Do you ever get cravings for plain starchy foods? I do, all the time. And when I get these cravings, it’s really a savory carb that I’m after, and sweet potatoes aren’t going to do it for me. There aren’t too many AIP-compliant foods that offer a comforting, truly plain carb experience. But plantains, though, green plantains deliver.
Plantains are a miraculous food. The day that I discovered plantain chips, I ordered a big box of them on Amazon. The day I learned that I could order plantains cooked up for me in a Peruvian restaurant, I went out for dinner for the first time in a while.
This recipe was taught to me by my childhood babysitter, an amazing woman named Luisa, who is from Peru. She explained to me that plantains were not actually something she ate growing up, because her family lived in a village high up in the mountains. Plantains grow in warm climates, so they can be found in many parts of Peru, but not at higher elevations. Luisa was taught how to prepare plantains by her Peruvian husband, who grew up eating them. Today, she taught me!
We modified Luisa’s original tostones recipe to be AIP-compliant by using coconut oil to fry the plantains (it’s not a traditional choice but it does work well). In this recipe the plantains are fried not once, but TWICE to make them extra tasty. In between the two rounds of frying, we smashed the plantains to give them extra surface area for the crispin’. The result is a crunchy-on-the-outside, starchy-on-the-inside, savory, optionally-salty treat that could satisfy even my strongest plain carb craving.
You can accomplish the smashing by using a plain old coffee mug. After frying the chunks a first time in coconut oil, place them on a cutting board, and press firmly down on them with the mug to flatten them into little plantain pancakes. I love how you can see the original surface of the plantain slice in the smashed pieces.
I’m a salt fiend, so I like these with plenty of salt on them! But you can also eat them as-is, without salting. If you do want to salt them, do so immediately after frying the second time. I also like these with some AIP-compliant jelly on top, or as a “bread” onto which I can put smoked salmon or other fun toppings.
When picking out plantains for this recipe, look for ones that are still green. If your plantains are yellow or brown, they will be sweet, and you’ll end up with maduros, which is an excellent idea, but one for another time.
- 2 green plantains
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- salt, to taste (optional)
- Using a small, sharp knife, score the plantains lengthwise along each ridge. Place them in a bowl of hot water and allow them to soak until they are easy to peel, about 10 minutes. Peel the plantains using your fingers and/or a knife, then blot them dry with a paper towel.
- Heat the coconut oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the plantains into inch-long slices. Once the oil is hot, place the slices in the skillet in a single layer. Fry the plantain slices for about two minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
- Remove the plantains from the oil and place them on a cutting board. Promptly flatten each piece using a coffee mug. You can do this by placing the bottom of the mug on top of the slice and pushing firmly down. The resulting smashed piece should be about 1/4" to 1/3" thick.
- Return the smashed plantains to the skillet. Fry them until golden all over, about a minute on each side. Remove them from the oil and blot them on paper towels. Salt, if desired, and eat immediately.