How to Make Tostones in an Air Fryer
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How to Make Tostones in an Air Fryer

Jul 07, 2023

They are delicious, easy, and require almost no oil

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Plátano, or green plantain, is an important part of Dominican culture and it's used in several traditional dishes. It can be fried, boiled, baked, made into chips—it's a versatile ingredient. I learned how to make most traditional Dominican dishes from my mom, but my dad taught me his favorite dish: tostones. Around my early teens, I perfected it.

I studied how my dad made them. He’d leave a few plátanos in a bowl under running water for about 5 minutes. Then he would peel the dark green skin under the water in one go (he told me once that the water pressure does the work for him). He’d cut the plátano into small cubes, fry them in oil for a couple of minutes, take them out, and let the oil drain. He’d take our majadora (food pounder) and with so much force flatten the cube into a thin slice. Then he’d fry them again, letting the plátano slice fry until golden perfection. I replicated his method and always made sure to flatten the plátano as much as I could. Flattening the cooked cubed plátano will result in the crispiest edges after the second fry.

My family makes tostones two or three times a week as a side to chicken, a juicy meat, fried salami and cheese, or fish. In my opinion, chicharron de pollo and tostones is the top-tier combo. The problem is, "Dietary patterns with frequent intake of fried foods are associated with increased risk for chronic disease," says Consumer Reports’ registered dietitian Amy Keating. With my family cooking tostones more than 100 times a year, all that oil adds up.

Further underscoring the need for an alternative is that I have a history of diabetes and heart problems on both sides of my family. Was this the time to say goodbye to my tostones? OF COURSE NOT.

This is where my trusty Ninja Air Fryer comes in. Air frying has been deemed as a healthier alternative to deep frying, and helps food get crispy without much oil. Using an air fryer meant I didn't have to deal with the oil excess. I could just spray some oil onto the food before cooking to prevent drying out. And for meats, the juices would fall to the bottom of the basket.

The air fryer can also be used to "make healthful dishes and may be a more convenient (or more of a fun novelty) way of cooking for some," says Keating. "It may encourage people to get into the kitchen and cook more often, rather than rely on takeout or convenience foods. It also may make cooking more approachable for someone cooking for one." Some of Keating's suggestions include crispy vegetables, lean proteins like salmon or tofu, and healthful snacks such as crispy chickpeas and spiced nuts.

At home, we use our air fryer at least weekly. I started off with air frying fries, then roasting chicken. It made cooking easier and quicker. During the hotter months, it was great to use and didn't make my kitchen feel like . . . well, an oven.

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients1 plátanoSpray canola oil to coatOptional: minced garlic and salt

Directions 1. Preheat air fryer for 3 minutes at 350° F. Put the plátano in a bowl under running water for about 5 minutes. With a knife make an incision and peel the skin under the water. Cut the plátano into 1-inch cubes.

2. In a bowl, lightly coat the plátano cubes with canola oil so that the pieces don't dry out. Air fry for 6 minutes. When done, flatten the cubes with your majadora or food pounder. You can also place the cube on a plate or other flat surface and use the bottom of a cup to flatten the cube. The thinner you make it, the crispier it will be.

3. In a bowl, lightly coat the plátano slices with canola oil to prevent them from drying out. I like to spice it up by adding minced garlic. Air fry for 2 more minutes or until your desired crispness.

When done, you can optionally season with salt to taste. I normally don't, but it's up to you.

Giselle Medina

I have been pursuing journalism since 2017 and see it as a service to inform people. I have covered arts and culture for Heritage Radio Network, the Hunts Point Express, and the Mott Haven Herald. When I'm not writing or working, I'm looking for new recipes to try out and going through my long list of places to eat in New York City.

Air-Fried Tostones Are a Game Changer for My Dominican Family Yields: Ingredients Directions 1. 2. 3.