These pan fried plantain cakes are a little bite of Peru. Roasted and then mashed and mixed with black beans, they are the perfect sweet and savory appetizer. Serve them up with this quick and easy Peruvian Pepper Pineapple Sauce.
What's the difference between Plantain and Banana?
If you're wandering the grocery store, you may see a section towards the back with strange and unusual fruits you've never seen before. Often these fruits are different colors and have wild spikes or crazy names. Among that grouping, you'll usually see some large bananas that don't really look exactly like the ones you know, but you're not sure. Those are plantains. Plantains are a starchy, extra large banana that has a thick peel. They can be eaten while very green and taste similar to a potato, or they can be eaten ripe and taste quite sweet. Plantains have less sugar than bananas and so often we have to coax that sugar out by cooking. You would not eat a plantain raw, as you would the fruit of a banana.
What to look for when buying Plantains
When buying plantains for this recipe, we're looking for the ripe ones. Unlike bananas, you WANT the ones that have some black. Look for the ones that are yellow with a good amount of black, but that are still slightly firm. If they are so black that they are mushy when you pick them up, they are overripe. If there are no plantains with enough black, buy the most yellow ones you can find and let them ripen a few days on your counter. Because of this, it's good to buy your plantains well before you plan to make this recipe.
How to make Pan Fried Plantain Cakes
What brings out the flavor in these plantain cakes is the pre-roasting. When we do this, we draw out the sugars and soften the starches. After roasting, we peel and mash the plantain and combine with a little salt and black beans. Roll into golf ball rounds and then flatten into thin cakes. At this point, the cakes can be stored in the refrigerator and saved until later, if you want. When ready to eat, heat a skillet and then fry the cakes in a little bit of oil. Use either a cast-iron skillet or one with a good thick bottom. When golden brown on both sides and soft throughout, sprinkle with salt and serve. I love them with the Rocoto Pineapple Crema, but you can also serve them with fresh lime wedges and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.
Pan Fried Plantain Cakes
- 2 ripe plantains yellow with a good amount of black
- ¾ cup cooked black beans drained
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 recipe Rocoto Pineapple Crema
- Preheat the oven to 375f.
- Place the plantains, whole and unpeeled, on a cookie sheet. Roast for 40 minutes until very soft and bursting out of their skins. The exposed plantain will be starting to brown.
- Let cool to room temperature and then remove from the skins and place the roasted plantains in a mixing bowl.
- Using a fork, gently mash the plantain until it is fairly smooth (a little bit of texture is ok).
- Add the black beans and the salt and gently mix together, being careful not to mash the beans.
- Roll into golf ball size rounds and then flatten slightly into ½" thick cakes.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the cooking oil and then place the plantain cakes gently in the oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Flip over and then cook an additional 2 minutes to brown the other side.
- When done, both sides should be golden brown and the cakes should be soft throughout.
- Serve warm with a little bit of chopped cilantro over the top and a side of the Rocoto Pineapple Crema.