Crispy Tostones


Tostones are crispy and golden, slightly sweet and savory. Made from the versatile plantain, a starchy member of the banana family grown in the tropics, tostones are green plantains fried to crisp perfection and enjoyed as a side dish or snack. When the plantain is green and under ripe you can make them into crunchy mariquitas (plantain chips), mofongo (plantain hash), or salty tostones. Very ripe plantains yield a sweet delicacy called platanos maduros that caramelize in the hot frying pan and melt in your mouth.


Tostones are at the top of my list of the Cuban food pyramid for their simplicity and tropical deliciousness. I was craving the flavors of Cuban comfort food and went to 5 bodegas before I could find any green plantains. I felt like NYC was playing a cruel joke on me, but alas persistence prevailed and I am one happy Cuban in the city.


Tostones are meant to be thin and crispy enjoyed with a touch of lime juice. Ordering tostones at a restaurant is risky- there is nothing worse than anticipating the glorious crunch of a crispy green plantain only to encounter a thick and soggy toston. Fry your plantains once, smash them, and now fry them again. Always remember: only crispy tostones can fulfill dreams and make wishes come true.


Crispy Tostones

  • 2 green plantains
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sea salt
  • Lime

Choose firm large green plantains. Cut a slit down the side of the peel and cut off the top and bottom of the plantain. Cut the plantain into 1 inch segments. When they are green the outer peel is difficult to remove. My abuela taught me to heat the cut plantain pieces in a microwave for around 15 seconds to soften the tough peel.  When you peel them you will instantly feel the starchiness on your fingers.

sliced-green-plantains fry-the-plantain-pieces-in-hot-oil

Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan. The oil should be deep enough to cover the plantains. I try to use more shallow oil to make the dish seem less fattening- you know mental illusions and all. Since I used less oil I had to rotate them around to get crispy on all sides. Fry the plantains in batches if you are making a lot. Turn the plantains in the hot oil to get evenly golden. Transfer the plantains to sheets of paper towel to drain.


Now for this next step some people use a tostonera which I find absolutely ridiculous (but you know you do you- if you like it- go for it). Why on earth waste money on yet another expensive kitchen contraption!? My abuela taught me to mash down the plantain with the bottom of a regular old can of food. The bottom makes for a great and flat circular shape. Ironically I actually had no canned food so I used the bottom of a cafetera (percolator) which is very Cuban in and of itself.

Now re-fry the smashed plantains in the hot oil until golden and crispy. Drain the crispy tostones on sheets of paper towel and garnish with sea salt. I like to sprinkle the paper towels with salt as well to get the flavor on all sides. Squeeze fresh lime on top of your Cuban tostones right before enjoying!

Yuca Frita with Cilantro Garlic Sauce Recipe


Crispy yuca frita is another Cuban favorite that is great fried or boiled and served with garlic. The boiled yuca is called yuca hervida, and I’ll make that another time. This time I made yuca frita. Delicious crispy fried yuca frita with a tangy lime cilantro garlic dipping sauce. This is the perfect side item or afternoon snack. Yuca have a distinct flavor and are wonderfully crispy on the outside, and creamy soft on the inside. Yuca frita are pretty much Cuban french fries.

Cilantro-Garlic-Sauce Finished-sauce

Any Miami native has had delicious varieties of cilantro garlic sauce, but everyone knows Pollo Tropical‘s is the best. Cilantro garlic dipping sauce is the perfect condiment for this starchy root vegetable.  I love yuca in every which way, Versailles also makes yuca encrusted picadillo that looks like a croqueta, drizzled with cilantro garlic sauce. It. Is. Amazing. I’m telling you, do not be intimidated by yuca’s rough bark exterior, you can always take a short cut and buy the frozen yuca in your local supermarket.


Crispy Yuca Frita

1 large Yuca (the one pictured served yielded 22 pieces enough to feed 4-5)
Oil for frying (I used vegetable oil)
Sea salt and lime for garnish

Cilantro Garlic Sauce**********

***********I now use a new recipe. This is the original recipe I posted, but I have now perfected the recipe after trial and error the link is here.

1 container Fage Greek Yogurt
4 roasted garlic cloves
1 bunch cilantro
1 tbsp green Tabasco
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lime (or more to taste)
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp cayenne
Salt to taste

Begin to prep the yuca and cilantro garlic sauce. First, set a large pot of salted water to boil. Peel the outside of the yucca well with a peeler, clean thoroughly and pat dry. Cut the yuca into 2 inch by ½ inch thick rectangles. When the water is boiling add the yuca and boil for 20 minutes or until fork tender. Take the yuca out and lightly dry. Now is your opportunity to remove the fibrous center, gently remove this with a fork and discard. Cut the thick pieces in quarters.

Unpeeled-Yuca Chop-Yuca Stacked-Yuca

Heat 2 inches of canola oil in a pan to fry the yuca. The yuca took surprisingly long to get nice and crispy, but it is worth the wait. In my opinion the crispier the better! Squeeze a lime wedge over the yuca and sprinkle with sea salt. I plated both dishes with five yuca frita.  If you are cooking for more people then cook the yuca in batches and place in the oven to keep hot and crispy.


Now make the cilantro garlic sauce. Add the roughly torn cilantro, lime juice, garlic, onion powder, sugar, olive oil, cayenne, salt and pepper, and Greek yogurt to the Cuisinart food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.