Platanos maduros fritos are ripe sweet plantain slices, fried to perfection on the outside and tender in the middle. The ultimate Colombian breakfast side dish!
The Ultimate Colombian Breakfast
The ultimate Colombian breakfast typically includes a hearty combination of eggs, arepas (a traditional cornmeal flatbread), cheese, and coffee. Colombian coffee is known worldwide for its rich flavor and aroma, and is often enjoyed black or with milk. But to me, the best Colombian breakfast also includes a serving of platanos maduros fritos - pan fried sweet ripe plantains.
While some Colombians may lose their minds over a bandeja paisa (a plate filled with sausage, beans, eggs, arepa, chicharones and platanos), caldo (chicken broth), changua (a soup made with milk, eggs, and scallions), calentado (a mix of leftover rice and beans), and tamales (a savory pastry made with cornmeal, meat, and vegetables), I am 100% a maduros fritos kind of gal.
A traditional Colombian breakfast is the perfect way to start your day off strong, and will surely leave you feeling full and energized for the day ahead - and for me, fried plantains are the perfect sweet note on which to start your morning.
What Are Platanos Maduros?
Platanos Maduros, also known as sweet plantains, are a type of ripe plantain that are commonly used in Latin American and Caribbean cuisine. Plantains are a member of the banana family and are grown throughout the tropics. Unlike their familiar banana cousins, plantains are not typically eaten raw.
When a plantain is fully ripe, the skin will turn black and the fruit will be soft to the touch. For this recipe, you can use golden brown plantains. While the flavor of Platanos Maduros is sweet, it is much richer and slightly savory compared to that of a traditional banana. They are often sliced and fried or baked, and are a popular side dish to many Latin American and Caribbean meals.
Are sweet plantains good for you?
Plantains are a staple food in many parts of the world and can be eaten baked, air fryer or fried. Sweet plantains, in particular, are a favorite in Latin American and Caribbean cuisines. They are delicious in all preparations - but are they good for you?
The answer to that depends on how they are prepared. In its natural state, the plantain is low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium. However, when sweet plantains are fried, they can become high in saturated and trans fat, as well as high in calories.
So is the answer to abstain from eating this fried delicacy? Absolutely not! Moderation is key when it comes to enjoying fried sweet plantains. They can be a delicious addition to a balanced diet when consumed in moderation, as a special treat.
How Are Platanos Maduros Cooked Across Latin America?
I may have presented this platanos maduros recipe as a Colombian dish - but Colombians are far from being the only Latin Americans to cook this delicacy! Platanos maduros, or ripe plantains, are a popular and versatile food item in many countries, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean. They can be cooked in a variety of ways, depending on the country and the preferences of the cook.
In Puerto Rico, for example, platanos maduros are often fried and served with savory dishes like beans and rice, like in Colombia.
In the Dominican Republic, however, they are boiled and mashed, then served with sour cream and cheese.
Anywhere you go in South America, you are likely to come across a unique preparation for platanos maduros!
What’s the Difference Between Plantains and Bananas?
While they may look similar, there are distinct differences between plantains and bananas. Bananas are often consumed raw and are sweet when ripe, while plantains are typically cooked and have a starchy flavor.
Ripe bananas have a yellow or red skin and are sweet, while plantains are usually eaten and cooked when green, yellow or black. Plantains have a thicker peel than bananas and can be a bit more challenging to prep. However, they are a popular ingredient in many cuisines and are commonly fried or made into chips.
Overall, both plantains and bananas have their unique qualities and can add a delicious touch to any dish.
Why You’ll Love These Fried Plantains
If you've never tried fried plantains before, you're in for a delicious treat! This fried plantains recipe is:
- crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside
- sweet and soft
- perfect with savory foods like breakfast sausages or eggs
- delicious for breakfast
- great when served alongside main dishes
- makes a great snack on its own
- versatile - you can add sweet or savory flavors depending on your preference
What can I serve sweet baked plantains with?
This is versatile side dish that can elevate almost any meal.
Like a true Colombian, I like to serve fried plantains for breakfast. Colombian Jews also make them for Hanukkah, alongside plantain latkes.
Serve this Colombian plantains recipe with:
Why serve fried plantains with cheese?
One popular way to serve fried plantains in Colombia is to top them with cheese. This combination of sweet and salty flavors creates a unique taste experience that many people find irresistible.
The crispy texture of the fried plantains contrasts with the soft and gooey cheese, adding an interesting texture to the dish.
Adding cheese to fried plantains not only enhances the flavor but also provides protein and calcium.
Overall, serving fried plantains with cheese is a delicious and nutritious meal option that is enjoyed by many Colombian households.
- Ripe plantains - as stated, this recipe uses platanos maduros - ripe plantains. Choose plantains that are golden brown in spots and have some give when you press on them.
- Vegetable oil, for frying - you can use Canola oil, grapeseed oil or vegetable oil.
- Salt, to taste
- Cotija, Queso fresco or mozzarella, for serving (optional) - when served for breakfast in Colombia, fried plantains are usually served plain. But for an extra special treat, my Colombian husband likes to sprinkle them with some grated cheese. We recommend using cotija cheese or feta for a salty contrast, or queso fresco or mozzarella for a more melty, cheese-pulling experience. Let the cheese sit on the hot plantains for a few minutes before digging in to maximize your pleasure.
Trim the edges of the plantain. To remove the peel, make lengthwise cuts on the skin without harming the fruit. Finally, use your fingers to strip off the peel.
How to cut a sweet plantain for maduros
Slice the plantain into circles that are approximately ½ inch thick.
Preheat a large pan to medium heat. Add oil. Transfer slices to a large pan, and cover with enough vegetable oil to cover. Fry until plantain slices are golden-brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove onto a paper-towel-lined plate, sprinkle with salt (or sugar and cinnamon for a sweet treat).
Serve fried plantains
Serve platanos maduros fritos immediately, as part of a breakfast or with the main dish of your choice. Sprinkle with queso fresco or feta for a sweet-salty contrast, or grated queso fresco or mozzarella for a more gooey treat.
Sweet fried plantains: Sprinkle these plantains after frying with cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat
Tangy fried plantains: Drizzle them with salt and lime juice as a savory snack.
Maduros (translated as "ripe") is a nickname for ripe plantains that is commonly used in Latin American cuisine. When plantains are green, they are often used in savory dishes or fried as chips, but when they ripen and turn black, they can be used in sweet dishes or cooked until they are soft and caramelized, which is when they become maduros. Maduros are cooked until they are tender and sweet and can be eaten alone or as a side dish with meat or fish.
Maduros and tostones are both popular plantain dishes in Latin American cuisine, particularly in the Caribbean region. Despite their similarities in appearance, texture, and cooking method, there is a distinct difference between the two.
Maduros are ripe plantains that have been sliced diagonally and fried until they turn golden brown. They are sweet and soft, with a caramelized flavor that makes them a popular side dish or dessert. In contrast, tostones are made from unripe green plantains that have been sliced, smashed, and fried twice. Tostones are typically served as a snack or an appetizer, often accompanied by a dipping sauce or toppings like garlic and cilantro. Maduros are sweet and soft, while tostones are crispy and salty. But both are seriously delicious!!
As the name implies, you should use ripe plantains for maduros fritos - plantains that are yellow brown, or yellow with brown spots.
To ripen plantains, it's necessary to wait until the skin of the fruit turns black. Plantains are usually harvested when they are still green and hard, so it can take some time for them to mature. One way to speed up the ripening process is to place the plantains in a paper bag with a ripe banana or apple. These fruits emit a natural gas called ethylene, which promotes ripening. It's important to keep an eye on the plantains and check them regularly, as they can ripen quickly once the process begins. Another option is to place the plantains in a warm, dark place, such as a cupboard or closed paper bag, to encourage the fruit to become fully ripe. Once the plantains are ripe, they can be used in a variety of recipes, from sweet to savory dishes.
Plantains have a short shelf life as they tend to ripen quickly. If you want to delay the ripening process, there are a few tricks you can try. One effective way is to store them in a cool and dry place. The cold temperature slows down the ripening process, which will give you some extra time to use them. Additionally, keeping plantains away from exposure to sunlight and heat can also help in preventing them from ripening too fast. Another method is to separate the plantains and wrap the stem area with cling film. This stops the release of a natural hormone that encourages ripening. You can also put unripe plantains in a paper bag along with some apples or bananas. The naturally occurring gas from the fruits will slow down the ripening process. By following these tips, you can effectively prolong the shelf life of plantains and prevent them from ripening too soon.
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Other Plantain Recipes you’d Like:
Colombian Platanos Maduros Fritos Recipe - Fried Ripe Sweet Plantains
- 2 large ripe plantains
- ½ cup Vegetable oil for frying
- Salt to taste
- Cotija cheese, Feta, Queso fresco or mozzarella grated, for serving (optional)
- Cut off the ends of the plantain. To peel the plantain, score the skin lengthwise without damaging the flesh. Then remove the peel with your hands.
- Cut the plantain into diagonal slices of about ½-inch in thickness.
- Preheat a large pan to medium heat. Add oil. Transfer slices to a large pan, and cover with enough vegetable oil to cover. Fry until plantain slices are golden-brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove onto a paper-towel-lined plate, sprinkle with salt.
- Serve platanos maduros immediately. Sprinkle with queso fresco or feta for a sweet-salty contrast, or grated queso fresco or mozzarella for a more gooey treat.