Tostones is a popular dish in Latin American as well as Caribbean cuisines and can be defined as a typically a toasted dish with crunchy texture. The main component of tostones recipe is the unripe plantain. The slices are cut from the plantain either long or round. The crispiness and the golden color of the plantain is the result of the two times deep-frying. Once the dish gets ready, it appears like potato chips and usually consumed as a snack. In the regions, where plantains are available abundantly, this dish is quite popular. Places such as Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Nicaragua are famous for making tostones and even available in packaged form in supermarkets. Patacones is the other name for this famous dish and this name is popular in Venezuela, Ecuador, Columbia, Costa Rica and Peru. In West African cuisine, tostones recipe is referred as ‘plantain crisps’.
Tostones is the word derived from the Spanish word that means ‘to toast’. The term is also used for a fifty cent coin in ‘Honduras’. The origin of the dish is quite mystifying as some believe it a dish from Latin American cuisine, whereas some take it as a Caribbean dish.
The main component that forms the tostones is plantain slices. It is better to use unripe plantain as it is easy to cut into slices. In some cuisine ‘breadfruit’ may also be used to make patacones. Cooking oil is essentially used to deep-fry the plantain slices. Not many flavorings and seasoning are required for this dish as it is a quite simple dish with negligible ingredients. However, salt may be use to add flavor to the chips.
Tostones are traditionally prepared with deep-frying method. The frying is done twice, to make crispy chips. Plantains are cut into slices, wither round or long slices. Sliced plantain chips are fried on from both sides and taken out on a kitchen towel to remove excess oil. Special equipment called ‘tostonera’ to pound or flatten the plantain slices. In absence of the equipment, any kitchen utensil may be used that has enough flat surfaces at the bottom. The chips are then re-fried to provide extra crispiness. Seasoning of tostones can be done with salt or any other local seasoning for added flavor.
Tostones are typically served as a snack. This dish is quite similar like potato chips and French fries. Patacones tastes very well with mojo sauce (a kind of garlic sauce). In some cuisines these plantain chips are topped with grated cheese while serving. In Haiti, this dish is traditionally called ‘banan peze’ served with fried pork or a special hot pepper mix. Pre-packaged tostones are also quite popular in Latin America.
Tough tostones are made up of healthy plantain, but the method of preparation make the dish quite calorific. Two times frying removes the nutritional value of the plantain and even provides excess oil; hence this should be consumed in moderation.