One of my favorite things about cultural integration is experiencing the culinary tradition of various regions of the world. In the Dominican Republic, this is based on white rice with habichuelas (red beans) or guandules (smaller, rounder, greenish beans), and some type of meat. Since I like beans and rice, I am más o menos thrilled with most of the variations on this meal that I am given. One of my new favorite everyday foods is con con, or the browned, semi-crispy strips of rice at the bottom of the pot. When soaked in habichuela gravy, it is immensely satisfying. Why don’t we do that in the states? I highly recommend that se lo prueba. (try it).
Another delicious and common food here is “tostones”. These are basically double-fried green plantains: golden, crispy, slightly salted, and so much better than their northern counterpart, french fries. I happened to ask some of our Dominican professors if I could help them prepare a snack in the kitchen one weekend, and came away with knowledge on the preparation of tostones. The directions are below, if anyone wishes to compartir (share) my Dominican culinary experience. And if you want to get really authentic, you can do as I do and wash the dishes without warm or running water. It took some getting used to, and I’m still rather slow at it.
Buy 1 green plantain per person (rough estimate). (They are available at asian markets in the Northwest, at least).
Heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a pan or pot.
While oil is heating, Peel plantains and slice medium thinly, cross-wise.
When oil is hot, drop 1st batch of sliced plantains into the oil, making sure they are all covered. Leave them there until they are golden yellow in color. (about 5 min)
Remove from oil; drain, add new batch of raw plantains.
While batch 2 is cooking, smash the cooked plantain thin with the bottom of a cup or glass. Repeat with the subsequent batches of cooked plantains.
Once all the plantain slices have been fried the 1st time, drop the smashed slices into the oil. Fry them 1-2 minutes on each side, until the slices are a deep golden color.
Remove from oil, drain, repeat. Sprinkle with salt to taste while hot, serve ASAP, with ketchup optional