[Photographs: Tim Chin]
Plantain chips are a popular snack among Central American, Caribbean, and South American cultures. Depending on the country they hail from, they might be called platanitos, mariquitas, chifles, platanutres, or something else entirely. This particular recipe is based on the freshly fried plantain chips commonly found on street corners and stores in El Salvador—thinly sliced with a sharp knife or mandoline and carefully fried just one time until crisp and crunchy. The result is something like a robust potato chip, and different from the Dominican Republic’s tostones and Panama’s patacones, which are made by frying thicker rounds of plantain, then flattening them and frying them a second time.
The technique is easy: start with green plantains, peel them, and cut them into thin slices. There’s no one right answer on how thin to slice them. In this recipe, we call for cutting the plantains one-eighth-inch thick, for uniform chips that hold their shape; going thinner to one-sixteenth of an inch thick works too, producing wavier chips that are more delicate, though they can appear more greasy in spots (note that thinner chips cook more quickly). Once they’re fried, we simply remove them from the oil and them let drain on a wire rack, no paper towels necessary—our testing showed that excess oil wasn’t a problem on the finished chips.
In Central American countries, the chips are typically seasoned lightly with salt or chile powder and lime juice, but there’s nothing stopping you from experimenting with additional seasonings.
Why It Works
- Slicing the plantains uniformly with a mandoline ensures even cooking.
- A quick rest on a wire rack is all they need, no wasting paper towels.
What’s New On Serious Eats
- 2 green plantains
- Vegetable oil, for frying (about 2 cups/475ml)
- Kosher salt
Cut off the ends of each plantain.
Cut plantains in half crosswise.
Using a mandoline slicer, slice plantains lengthwise into planks 1/8 inch thick.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. Fill a large, deep cast iron or stainless steel skillet halfway with oil. Set over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350°F (175°C). Working in batches and avoiding crowing the pan, add plantain slices and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over, about 4 minutes total. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer plantains to wire rack to drain. Season right away with salt. Repeat with remaining plantain slices.
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