Tips on Making the Best Fried Sweet Plantains (Platanos Maduros)
March 12, 2017 4:18 PM   Subscribe

My plantains (platanos maduros) aren't as gooey and sweet as I would like them to be? How do I fix this? I'm trying to use this recipe.

The first batch I made turned out great. They were soft and gooey and sweet and well caramelized.

The second batch was tougher and less sweet. They were almost more like platanos tostones.

I didn't consciously try to do anything different, and I'm wondering what may have caused the change. In order to get them back the way they were in the first batch, is there something I can try? Higher heat? Lower heat? More oil? Less oil? Cooking longer? Cooking shorter?

What is the process for plantains to maximize soft and gooey and sweet? etc. Thanks for the help!
posted by andoatnp to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Generally the plantains have to be really ripe and soft with black or nearly black skins. Your second batch looks as if the plantains weren't ripe enough. But, it's possible to cheat! Some people put water in the frying pan so they boil a little before they fry. I have not done this successfully myself and I would be afraid to try because of spitting oil. But you might try boiling your plantain pieces first, patting them dry and then frying. Maybe the oil will still spit, so experiment but be careful.
posted by glasseyes at 4:41 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

Yeah, your second batch looks like the plantains were still pretty much green. Ideally, for sweet plantains, you use plantains that are just about to start growing mold. The skin should be entirely black before you even consider using them in a sweet dish.

I like them with butter, cinnamon, and a bit of sugar to offset the bitterness of the cinnamon, but if they are extremely ripe the added sugar may be unnecessary.

Unripe fried plantains are quite tasty with some salt (better sliced thin, though), so toss some in and enjoy your second batch. ;)
posted by wierdo at 4:54 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

The second batch was much more ripe than the first batch, but still came out tougher and less sweet, so I don't think it's that.
posted by andoatnp at 4:54 PM on March 12

Oh, and if you just want typical Cuban sweet plantains, Goya frozen ones are nearly as good as what you'll make just frying them. Overripe gooey cinnamon ones are way better, though.
posted by wierdo at 4:55 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]

Having not previewed, I see your pic. That should have been sufficient. You probably just need a lower heat for a longer time.
posted by wierdo at 4:56 PM on March 12

I think you need more fat in the pan. The recipe says it should come halfway up the height of your slices. Your pics show browning only on the cut ends and not the all over coloring you'd see if they were truly shallow fried.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 5:20 PM on March 12

Were the plantains actually soft? Refrigeration will turn the skin black, but the plantain itself isn't ripe.
posted by aint broke at 6:52 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

Yes, they were very soft. I don't think that was the issue. They started out gooey and soft and then firmed up when I cooked them.
posted by andoatnp at 7:25 PM on March 12

1) Slice at more of an angle so you increase the surface area
2) More oil in the pan - should come up halfway to the sides
3) Optional: Fry on a higher setting, then reduce heat and caramelize a bit longer

Your biggest issue is not nearly enough oil in the pan.
posted by Wossname at 8:43 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]

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