>> Thursday, 8 November 2012
I love potatoes in any form or fashion and I have a serious weakness for French Fries. Potato Sticks on the other hand, is like my dirty little secret. I fool myself into thinking that it is not as heavy and fattening as French Fries and so I tend to eat Potato Sticks whenever I feel the urge for a French-Fries-fix. Don't judge me. I never claimed to be perfect.
Anyway, the other day I was making fried green plantains in many forms, working on a column. One of the things I made was Aranitas which I have made on several occasions. It occurred to me as I was making the Aranitas, that instead of frying in a clump (as is done when making Aranitas) that it might be a good idea to sprinkle the seasoned plantains into the oil, creating instead individual sticks. In the process I created plantain sticks!!! Garlicky and with a crunch factor that lasts for days, these plantain sticks are now my go-to snack that I make regularly.
While they will never replace the beloved French Fries, I cannot see myself going back to Potato Sticks. Try it and tell me what you think.
- 3 large green plantains
- 1 heaped tablespoon of garlic paste (freshly grated garlic)
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Oil for shallow frying
- Pour lots of room temperature water into a large bowl and add salt to the water, stirring to dissolve. The water should be salty - taste and adjust, adding more or less to suit your taste. Set aside.
- Remove the top and bottom tips of the plantains using a paring knife. Slit the skin of the plantain on one side from top to bottom and use the knife to pry the skin away from the plantain. The skin will not come off all at once. Pry, tear off a piece and repeat until all the skin is removed.
- Grate the plantains using the large-hole side of a box grater, then transfer the grated plantains to the bowl with salt water. Let soak for 10 minutes.
- Drain plantains well using a colander. Shake the colander vigorously to help get out some of the excess moisture; you can also use your hand to press the grated plantain against the sides of the colander to remove the moisture.
- Spread a double layer of thick kitchen towels onto a work surface; now sprinkle the plantains all over the kitchen towels. Cover the plantains with another double layer of kitchen towels. Pick up the bottom layer of kitchen towel and roll towards the other end, pressing gently. This is to remove the residual moisture in the plantains. The aim is to get the plantains as dry as possible.
- Transfer the pat-dry plantains to a clean bowl, add garlic and black pepper and mix well to coat the plantains with the garlic and pepper.
- Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a shallow frying pan until hot but not smoking.
- Working in batches, sprinkle the plantains into the oil and fry until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the plantain mixture is used up.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. To store, let the plantain sticks cool completely then place in an airtight container and leave on your counter top. These plantain sticks stay crisp for at least 3 days but trust me, they will not last that long. Make these in large batches because they go very quickly.
- You can opt not to soak the plantains once grated but I find that by skipping this step, the plantains do not stay crunchy beyond a couple of hours after being made.
- The milk/juice from the plantains when the top and bottom tips are cut, will stain if spattered onto your clothing.
- The plantains must be green and starchy. Do not use plantains that are turning (the green is fading).