Fried Plantains: Sweet and Salty

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This time last year: Pudding Pops (2012)

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There was this perfect little Cuban restaurant just down the street from my apartment in Richmond.

I would run by it early in the morning and smell the freshly brewed Café con Leche. My friends and I would roll into it late at night- snag a booth and split some fresh warm cornbread, a beer, and fried plantains. It was perfect.

It was there, in that tiny neighborhood corner restaurant that I learned to love fried plantains.

I have had the privilege of enjoying fried plantains prior to that Cuban restaurant, however it was the many nights in those warm booths that caused me to appreciate fried plantains in a new way- as dessert, a salty appetizer, a warm crunchy salad topper, the perfect side dish, my snack craving on the go- the list goes on, and my appreciation runs deep!

Fast forward many moons, and I am missing those warm Richmond nights with the strong sweet smell of Cuban food floating through the neighborhood. Therefore, I did the only thing my nostalgia would let me do. I decided to try my hand at this classic recipe myself.

There are a few different ways to approach plantains- sweet and salty. I tried my hand at both, and have to say- you truly can’t go wrong! So, go ahead, try your hand at both, and let me know your favorite!

You have nothing to lose, and sweet new memories to gain.

Happy snacking!

Love, A Rented Kitchen

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil + more for frying as needed
  • Two large plantains
  • Freshly cracked Sea Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Sugar

Directions:

1. Line a large plate with paper towels and set aside.
2. Peel the plantains and slice into 1/4-inch thick pieces.
3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the plantains to the oil, flipping occasionally, and frying 2-4 minutes- or until a golden brown color. (The longer you fry the plantains, the sweeter they are)
4. Remove the plantains from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towels.
For salty plantains– sprinkle the tops of each piece with a generous dose of sea salt.
For sweet plantains– combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dredge the plantain slice through the bowl until coated with cinnamon sugar. Repeat with remaining slices.
For salty sweet plantains– dredge the plantain in the cinnamon sugar mix and then sprinkle with sea salt.
Enjoy!

 

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Notes and Tips!: 

  • Adapted from: The Food Network 
  • Ways to enjoy plantains:
    • The perfect crunchy and warm salad topping
    • Appetizer snack!
    • Serve them with whipped cream, ice cream, or drizzled with caramel sauce
    • Enjoy as a delicious side dish
    • Add them to your lunch box for a perfect office snack
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious snacks from A Rented Kitchen! (Recipe links found below photos)

Vegan Cuban Bowl

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When I lived in Richmond, I fell in love with a little Cuban restaurant a few blocks from my house. The restaurant was always bustling with people, offering barely enough room to scoot around the little red tables. The smells would waft down the sidewalk, inviting you into the little yellow building where the coffee was strong, the music was loud, and the flavors were unbelievable.

It was frequenting that little Cuban restaurant that taught me to love Cuban flavors, so when I stumbled upon this recipe I knew it was next on my cooking to-do list. The recipe did not let me down.

As I dished up warm bowl of this Cuban meal for my family, I was immediately taken back to memories of sliding into booths at that little Cuban restaurant, or even better yet, some of the meals I enjoyed while in the Dominican Republic and Peru- sharing some similar ingredients and spices.

If a meal has the power to remind you of previous meals, experiences, and people, simply through the ingredient list, the smell, or the flavor, that to me is a good sign it’s a keeper.

This meal may not draw up any old memories for you of places you’ve been or previous meals you’ve enjoyed, but if it doesn’t, the flavor alone will make you question what you’ve been eating and experiencing all this time- in the best way. Try something new, enjoy a little flare, and dig in!

Love, A Rented Kitchen

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Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup diced tomato
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup diced white onion
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 large ripe (black) plantains
  • 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 (12 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450˚F, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, cumin, and salt, and then arrange on the baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Bake the potatoes for 20-30 minutes, or until soft. Turn every 10 minutes to prevent burning.
  4. In a large measuring cup, combine the tomatoes, cilantro, onion, and lime juice. Set in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to blend.
  5. Meanwhile, peel the plantains by running the edge of a sharp knife along the 3-4 ridges present in the plantain peel. Remove the peeling and slice the plantain into bite sized coins.
  6. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skilled over medium high heat, and fry the plantains, 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove the fried plantains from the heat and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb any additional grease and allow the plantain pieces to cool.
  7. Once the sweet potatoes are done cooking, assemble each bowl with a serving of rice, beans, potatoes, plantains, and topping with the pico de gallo mix. Enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: The Wanderlust Kitchen
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Like this recipe? Check out these other delicious Vegan Entrée options from ‘A Rented Kitchen!’: (Recipe links found below photos!)