Tajadas (Fried Sweet Plantain Slices)
- 2 plantains very ripe
- vegetable oil for frying
Tajadas, or sweet plantain slices, is one of my favorite side dishes. They're something my mom used to make several times a week, especially at lunch time. There's nothing better than biting into a super-sweet and tender tajada followed by a spoonful of white rice and beans. And there's nothing worse than biting into a dry and stiff tajada. I hate it when they make them like that!
The perfect tajada needs the perfect plantain. It should have its peel almost completely black with a little bit of yellow; that way we'll know that it is ripened on the inside. If the plantain is mostly yellow, the tajadas will come out dry and not as sweet. If the plantain is almost green, you make patacones (green plantain chips). It sounds pretty simple, right? But I can't tell you how many times I have been served a plate of plantains that are dry and stiff, and there's really no excuse, especially at a restaurant.
You only need a little bit of patience to ripen the plantain. My mom always told me to wrap it really well with newspaper and put it in a dark place until it ripens. The truth is that this tactic only works for me every now and then because a lot of times the plantain just turns yellow while it dries up on the inside. That's why whenever I see them super ripened at my local Latin store I always end up buying several.