Viva El Patacon and Childish Humor

Patacones with Guacamole and Morcilla/Chorizo/Black Beans

What’s originally from India, can be green or yellow, starchy or sweet, is consumed throughout West Africa, the Caribbean, and Central & South America, and (best of all) can be used to mimic a phallus in hilarious kitchen antics? Yes, that’s right, it’s the plantain – aka banana plantain, cooking plantain, beer banana, bocadillo plantain, tostones, maduro, patacon, chifle, dodo, etc. – and like almost all the best kinds of foods (to us at least) it is most deliciously prepared deep-fried.

Throughout the Caribbean, Central America and the northern half of South America, starchy green plantains, aka patacones or tostones, are one of the principal components of almost every meal, and, depending on where you are and who is doing the cooking, you’ll find them sliced into rounds (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic), cut on the bias to make wedges (Honduras, Cuba), or sliced length-wise into, well, long, um, sausages (Venezuela, Colombia, Jamaica, Trinidad)…Typically, the plantain is fried once before being lightly flattened (in some places this is done with a special tool, but we used a meat mallet or rolling pin to good effect) which gives more surface area, exposing more of the starch to oil, and hence creating crispier patacones/tostones. Then, it’s tipped back into the fryer and cooked until crispy and golden on all sides.

In many places, nothing more is done to it and it’s eaten just like that, maybe with some salt or sliced avocado. In Haiti, Dominican Republic and Cuba they are often dipped in criole/creole/criollo sauce and eaten with chicken or shrimp, whereas in Venezuela and Colombia they often go into sandwiches with meat and vegetables. Let’s face it though, they’re good anyway you like them. They’re like potato chips on steroids and will fill even the hungriest belly in double-time.

Patacones with Guacamole and Morcilla/Chorizo/Black Beans

After eating them prepared in a similar way at a restaurant near us in Brooklyn, we spread our patacones with mashed avocado, but then gilded that lily adding sauteed onions, our world (ie: home) famous black beans, crumbled morcilla (blood sausage) and chunks of chorizo. A little squeeze of sour cream and hot sauce finished things off. If you can’t find, or won’t eat morcilla, it would still be delicious with just chorizo, but we can imagine topping patacones with shredded chicken, roast pork, shrimp, fish, or anything you like really. Half a green plantain each made a decent “light” dinner, but these would make fantastic finger-food at a party if you cut them into bite-sized pieces. Viva el patacon!

In honor or one of our commenters (Elra), we thought it would be helpful to actually post a recipe instead of posting an idea of how to make this. So, here ya go:

PATACONES (serves 2 as a meal and 4 as an appetizer)


  • 2 green plantains 
  • enough peanut or veggie oil to fry
  • lime
  • salt

Optional toppings:

  • Our “famous” black beans
  • Smashed avocado with a bit of lime or homemade guacamole (avocado, lime juice, cilantro, bit of garlic)
  • Sauteed onions and green peppers (saute some sliced onions and green peppers in some olive oil w/ a bit of lime juice and salt for about 8 minutes until semi-soft)
  • Sauteed chorizo and/or morcilla sausage (again, slice chorizo into small pieces and crumble morcilla into similar small pieces, then saute in until warm and a bit charred – about 6-8 minutes)

What to do:

  1. With a sharp knife, slice the plantain skin lengthways downwards about 1/2 inch deep.  Do not puncture the plantains, you only want to make it easier to remove the skin.  Remove skin.
  2. Slice the plantian in half lengthways (from top to bottom).  Heat up oil. Fry each half of plantian for about 1-2 minutes then remove to drain on a paper towel.  Let cool for a moment.
  3. Grab your mallet or tostonera, flatten the plantain as best you can until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick.  We basically just smashed ours with a mallet, but be kind of careful not to hit too hard because you don’t want it to split. Once they are all flattened, fry again until golden brown, the time will be determined by how hot your oil is.
  4. Remove from oil and allow to drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with some salt and a squeeze of lime juice and top with your favorite toppings!

34 thoughts on “Viva El Patacon and Childish Humor

  1. Heather’s going to make a hell of a Mom, isn’t she? I love platanos, but I usually try to avoid deep-frying them, in order to save my kitchen from ruin. I’ll just pop over and eat them at your house instead.

  2. heather would punch a baby? you know what, i’m thinking i would too. peter, i thought heather was pregnant awhile ago? right, heather? kidddddddding.

    jen: yeah, the simplicity of that sounds perfect.

    culinary and mark: thanks for the comments!

  3. I love fried plantains. They’re a lot of fun to work with. This is a great recipe because you topped them with some of my favorite things (avocados, chorizo).

    Now I’m craving something Latin American for dinner. I hate it when I have something planned for dinner and some food blog puts me in a mood for somethign complete different!

  4. OK You guys- We used to call them bananas– But my daughter took me to a Cuban restaurant last week and I tasted the Plantains there- They are a little different-but YUMMY!!!

  5. claudia, our “light” cooking doesn’t often make it to this blog as you prob can tell. i’d rather exercise 5 days a week and eat some fattening stuff, but i hear you on the feeling fat thing… honestly. we’re totally cutting portions and increasing exercise to try and help it out. but we do do fish… but not in the weeks leading up to the holidays (which seems to be when most of these dishes were made.

    and do you know how freaking COLD it’s been here in the city – the last thing i want when i come home starving from a long, hard day at work when it’s 15 degrees outside is fish.

  6. Love it, it’s unfair that you don’t include the recipe. My mouth water, just to look at the beautiful photo is making me going crazy. I want to make this, for real. Hmmm drooling!

  7. I love what you did with plantains. They are like crack for me and I can never get enough. I now need to get some to eat with my leftover goat. BTW, I would be honored for the link back.

  8. Phallus associated kitchen antics *raised eyebrow*
    Retrieving my mind out of the gutter, the plaintains sound delish and look amazing!

    Oh, to be a fly on your kitchen wall 🙂

  9. You see so much wonderful and delicious food on all the many food blogs. And you want to try most of them but because there is so much out there you don’t actually make and deliver most of the recipes to your tastebuds.
    AND THEN, something like this comes along the computer screen and you cross your fingers that you have all the ingredients.
    AND THEN, you realize you don’t so you just tuck it away for another day.
    BUT, sometimes a recipe comes along, like this, where you immediately go to the store and make it.
    SO, I gotta go now so I can eat this soon. Though I’d rather just punch a baby in the face like Heather!

  10. Oh my goodness it’s a flavour explosion!! Sounds great though, I love plantains. So sweet and, I agree, best fried. Definitely begging for the phallic jokes too aren’t they? They’ve got the size advantage over bananas too..

  11. looks like penis jokes will NEVER not be funny! great comments, guys.

    gastro – i’m still laughing at your run-on sentence/comment. HA HA HA HA. thanks so much for stopping by.

  12. I hear your beans are also famous for flatuence? We have lots of West Indies joints here and plantains are always on the menu…this crisped-up once-phallic-looking-almost-banana is always part of my order at “Abdul Jonny’s Curry Cafe” (yes, that’s a real place here).

  13. Note to self: don’t come to this blog before lunch! Now I’m starving and the only thing that’s going to fill the void is a plantain full of all these deliciousness. I’ve got to track down a place in Houston that serves them. YUM!

  14. @ heather > ROFLMBO>> i can see me doing that and take the plate and eat it in the room i shuffled off too.
    too funny. (they don’t let me near kids with food).

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