This was supposed to be a recipe for Halloween… you know, the play on words – arañitas means “little spiders” in Spanish. Their name is mainly due to their scraggly shape, because they’re fully vegetarian and have nothing to do with the little arachnid creatures. But maybe they’re more appropriately called in English, Plantain Nests, making them a very nice option for Easter too.
This is yet another way Puerto Ricans love to eat green plantain. Variety is the spice of life and there are 1,001 ways we can cook a plantain. Tostones are most popular because they can be prepared in advance. Arañitas is something you need to grate, season and cook immediately. Not for the prep-ahead cook.
You can fry them in oil, just like you do with platanutres or chicharritas de pátano. But I have devised a way to enjoy the goodness of this Puerto Rican favorite without the need to get the deep fryer out. I am Latin, but I do not enjoy having to clean the splatter of a frying pan filled with oil.
Here is how I make arañitas…
PLANTAIN LITTLE SPIDERS – ARAÑITAS
1 green plantain, peeled 1 tbs canola oil Garlic Salt
- After you peel the green plantain, grate it in as long strips as possible. I try to grate it on the long side to get longer strips of plantain.
- In a medium bowl, add the grated plantain, season with garlic salt and add the canola oil. Mix it all well to ensure the plantain is oiled and well-seasoned all over.
3. In a non-stick skillet over low-medium heat, place little mounds of plantain. The low heat will allow the plantain mounds to cook on the inside. After a few minutes, you’ll see the outside plantain will start to stiffen and crisp up. Flip when you notice the center of the mound is turning yellow.
4. Keep the heat at medium-low. The arañitas will eventually crisp up on the outside and start turning golden brown.
5. Take them out of the skillet and allow them to drain a bit on a paper towel. They may not drip any oil, but any excess oil is better left on a paper towel.