Tostones (Smashed, twice fried plantians)

Not exactly the most healthy food in the world, but they are delicious. And I was recently inspired by an article by Michael Pollan in which he examines American’s growing obsession with cooking shows, but lack of actual cooking, which perhaps is connected to the obesity epidemic. The article ends with an enticing diet plan for Americans: eat whatever you want, but you have to cook it. So, with this new insight, every once in a while I can indulge in a few deep-fried treats.

We first encountered these babies in Livingston Guatemala, located on the Caribbean coast. We were at Buga Mamas, a restaurant/classroom where indigenous adolescents can learn the ins and outs of ecotourism. During our three days on the secluded strip of relatively undeveloped land, I believe we ate there at least 4 times. The ceviche was delicious, the fried mojara (white fish) was stuffed with garlic, and the mojitos were strong. But what we loved were the tostones (also know as patacones in other areas).

The first day when we arrived, after a chilly 30 minute ride on the bumpy lancha (speed boat), and after checking into our little guest house, we were starving. We walked down the main street toward the muelle (dock), where we were told we could find some decent eats. For how many positive things I had heard about Livingston, it was rather dead. Its economy was based solely on tourism, yet there were only a hand-full of sanitary-looking restaurants. Now, Héc will tell you. I’m not afraid of food. I eat street food in Guatemala all the time, and I have paid dearly with all kinds of intestinal treats. But when it comes to seafood I don’t risk it. Buga Mama was a cute little restaurant located right on the water with great atmosphere. It advertised disinfected veggies and the bathrooms were clean. Thats all I ask.

So we arrive to Buga Mama, at the suggestion of our hotel keeper. Immediately we were served a beautiful plate of hot and crispy, yet tender, tostones. In Guatemala City I had had plataninas, which are basically a potato-chip-style fried plantian. But these guys were double duty! First you fry 1″ chunls of green plantians, take em out of the oil, smash em, fry them golden, and sprinkle with salt. We came back for more every day. And as soon as we got home from the trip we recreated them. As well as Pan de Coco, which will be a post for another day.

Tostones:Green Plantains (as many as you’d like!)
Oil for deep frying

Heat the oil, about 4 fingers deep will do, until ready for frying.

Meanwhile, peel the green plantains and cut them into 1 inch chunks. When the oil is ready, carefully put them in. When they begin to brown, remove with a slotted spoon, and place on a flat surface covered in paper towels. Use the back side of a wooden spoon, or something similar, and smash them. Put them back into the oil until they are golden.

Pictures from top to bottom: Tostones served at Buga Mama; Buga Mama menu; Garifuna New Year Celebration; The main drag in Livingston Guatemala