Sunday, March 15, 2015

Platanos Machos Fritos (Fried Bananas)

1/2 to 1 platano per person
Canola or corn oil for frying
Side dishes

Platanos Machos look like a caveman style banana.  They have the same shape as Chiquita bananas, but are bigger, rougher, and thicker skinned.  Since they are starchier, they fry up very well.  Pick a platano this is still a little green, if it's too ripe it will stick to your pan.  

To peel your patano, I find it helps to cut off the ends, then score skin on the outer curve to peel.  Slice in rounds or angled cuts about a half a cm thick.  in a pan large enough to hold your sliced platanos with space between them, heat canola or corn oil.  You should use a few Tb, maybe the same amount you would use to fry potatoes.  

When the oil is hot, add your slices gently, the oil will splatter.  Fry until golden brown on each side, turn when they move easily if you jiggle the pan handle.  If you find that they are sticking, carefully use a spatula to lift and turn them over.  Season and serve with yummy sides.

Sunday, March 1, 2015


1 jar of nopales
1 8oz can of mushroom slices/pieces
1 8oz can of jalapeños, or fresh slices, to taste
1-2oz sun-dried tomato packed in oil, sliced
Fresh or dried herbs to taste
1/2 to 1 bag of veggie chicken strips
2 tb oil
Your favorite sides.

(This recipe doubles very well)

First, drain the nopales and rinse VERY VERY well under running water.  They tend to be starchy and salty, so wash 'em good.  I used Embasa Nopales here because I hate onions, but Doña Maria makes nice prepared nopales that are already seasoned.  I don't have a cactus or a grill, but making your own from scratch is easy with tweezers and a potato peeler.

Next, saute the mushrooms in oil until they're warmed through.  Add the nopales and stir to help reduce some of the residual liquid on your ingredients.  When the mixture is more dry, add the tomatoes, jalapeños, veggie chicken, and any dry herbs you may be using.
When the liquid cooks off a little, add any fresh herbs you may be using.  When the herbs are wilted and completely incorporated, you're done.

I used +gardein Teriyaki Chik Strips here and discarded the sauce.  Beyond Meat frozen strips also well in this dish.  Any protein you use will be good in this dish will taste good, but I like the strips because they make nice tacos.  

If you use dried herbs, use maybe a tsp or to to start, then taste before adding more.  Fresh work well in this, but know how strong each herb tastes in relation to the others you use.  Here, I used dried oregano and thyme, and fresh parsley and cilantro.

You may have noticed that I didn't list any salt or pepper among the ingredients.  Jarred nopales are very salty, even after being rinsed.  I used canned jalapeños and mushroom, drained but not rinsed, which adds more salt to the dish.  If sodium is an issue for your diet, used fresh ingredients whenever possible.  Mushrooms can be sauteed the day before, they keep well overnight.

Some good sides for this dish are corn tortillas, tortilla chips, beans, rice, israeli couscous, polenta slices, avocado slices, or Johnny Cakes made out of masa harina.  Let me know how you serve nopales, I'd like to hear it.