While I was in Miami, I got the opportunity to make a true Latin specialty – Chicharritas de Plátano. This is the way I call them when I am in Miami, because in Puerto Rico these are called Platanutres. They’re exactly the same, people just call them differently, the same way some people say elevator and others say lift… you get my drift.
But not only these are called differently by Cubans and Puerto Ricans, they’re eaten somewhat differently too. Puerto Ricans eat platanutres mainly as a snack or maybe even as a side to sandwiches. However, Cubans eat these little fried slices of plantain as an appetizer, a snack or sometimes even as a crispy side dish to accompany rice and black beans. Also, they like to serve these with a drizzle of mojito criollo, just like the one I showed you to eat with your boiled yucca, without the onions – just olive oil, garlic , salt and lemon juice. This is my favorite appetizer in any Cuban restaurant in Miami… and Cuban restaurants in Puerto Rico do not have them. It’s a Miami thing and I LOOOOOOOOVE it!!
You can get chicharritas bagged, just like potato chips. I have even talked to you about them in our posts on Junk Food, but the freshly made ones are special. My aunt Gladys, being the “alcahueta” she is, made me some chicharritas before us leaving Miami. I wanted to go to a restaurant, but she insisted and I took pictures.
CHICHARRITAS DE PLÁTANO
2 green plantains Kosher salt Canola oil to fry them in
- Start by peeling the plantain. Remember to peel them carefully using an oiled knife to avoid staining your knife.
- Slice the plantain very thinly using a slicer or a mandoline. My aunt uses this nifty slicer. You can slice it in small rounds, which is the traditional way and the way we did them this time around. In restaurants you usually see the chips sliced the long side of the plantain. The choice is yours.
- Separate and salt the plantain slices. I always thought the salt was added after frying, but in fact, I like the taste when they’re salted beforehand.
- Bring about an inch of oil to frying temperature in a medium sized pot – about 350° F. To tell you the truth, I never take the oil’s temperature. Use the wooden spoon method if you want to be sure.
- Drop the plantain slices in small batches and try to separate them as much as possible. Slices will want to stick together. So try to keep the separate. Fry them until they’re golden. Keep an eye on them because they go from perfect to burn easily.
- Take them out with a slotted spoon and drain in a paper towel.
Enjoy alone, with mojito criollo or as a side dish – I ate them with black beans and rice and slices of avocado on the side. I love my aunt’s cooking!!!!!