Sunday, August 8, 2010

Plantain Chips with Mojo and Creamy Cilantro Garlic Dip


I selected the appetizer as the course I would prepare for our recent gourmet group dinner.  I had no idea at the time that I would be standing (or rather the Kitchen Gnome would be standing...I stood for moral support!) for close to four hours!!  How could it possibly have taken us that long to deep fry the plantains?  It was a bad choice on our part.  We should have prepared them in the fry pan as outlined in the recipe and not the fry baby.  (The fry baby was our brilliant idea.)  We couldn't do very many at a time in the fry baby.  So, it took quite a long time...

They were delicious and the dips that went with them were wonderful.  I preferred the creamy cilantro garlic dip...maybe I just like to be able to scoop up some and have it stay on the plantain!  Two totally different kinds of dip.  Both worthy!  Both consumed!

What are plantains?  Green bananas?  No.  Plantains and bananas are not interchangeable!  The plantain is much more starchy than the sweet banana.  The plantain is a banana that is treated as a starch, as a  vegetable.  It is not eaten raw; it is cooked.

What is mojo (mo-ho)?  A mojo is a salsa-like sauce common in Cuba and the Caribbean.  A mojo is very thin, flavorful citrusy and garlicky sauce . 

Plantain Chips with
Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen Mojo
and Creamy Cilantro-Garlic Dip
adapted from Big Small Plates by Cindy Pawlcyn

Plantains

1.  Cut off the tips and remove the peel.  Make two lengthwise slits to loosen the skin.
2.  Prepare a bowl of ice water add 1/4 tsp of salt.
3.  Slice the plantains into chips that are about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. (If thinner chips are desired slice them 1/16-1/8 inch thick.)
4.  Soak the plantain slices for 15 to 20 minutes in the bowl of ice water.
5.  Fry the plantains in 1 1/2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan.  Heat the oil to 365 degrees.
6.  Lower a few slices of plantain at a time into the oil, do not over crowd.  Fry for 1-2 minutes until crisp, remove to paper towels to drain, and salt while hot.  Allow the oil to return to temperature before the next batch is fried.


Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen Mojo

12 small cloves garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup bitter orange juice (available in the market; or 1/4 cup sweet orange juice plus 2 Tbsp lemon or lime juice)
1 1/2 tsp toasted ground cumin seeds
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

1.  Place the garlic and salt in a blender.  Pulse until finely chopped.
2.  Blend in the bitter orange juice and cumin, finely process.
3.  With the blender running, slowly add the oil in a thin, steady stream until mojo is emulsified.  Season with pepper.

Creamy Cilantro-Garlic Dip

1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Chill.

Serve the plantain chips with the two dips and lime wedges to squeeze over the chips!



Delicious appetizer!!

If you are interested in small plates such as the one above, you may be interested in Cindy Pawlcyn's book, Big Small Plates available at Amazon.com and on Google Books.   



14 comments:

  1. Oh, what a bummer! I hate it when I try a new recipe and it takes most of the day. The plantains are perfectly golden. I love the salt on them, too. There's a restaurant where my husband orders a Cuban-style sandwich and he loves the dressing. I think that dip comes very close to it. Terrific appetizers.

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  2. I had a fry daddy once a long time ago, long gone! I can see the fry baby taking a long, long time, but they came out perfectly delicious looking!

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  3. Both dipping sauces look so delicious! I bought plantains for the very first time today. I'm making a Puerto Rican recipe with them. I'll have to buy more and try them this way!

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  4. yum! I love cilantro, so you can bet I'll try this!

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  5. I have no doubt that this was definitely worth the effort!

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  6. This looks absolutely fantastic, wish I could taste them! It is just too hard to just look.

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  7. The plantains look perfect and the dips sound like must trys.

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  8. They look delicious! I think I would like them with a sweet dip rather than savory. I wonder!
    Thanks for visiting, I haven't seen you in a long time. Hope you are well!
    Summers are very busy here, then everyone forgets where we live when winter arrives!

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  9. I saw this post on ptitchef - and it looks so yummy - i've made fried plantains a few different times and this is the first time i've seen that you are supposed to soak them in salty cold water - well - yours look great so that must be the trick... i'm going to to that next time - thanks!

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  10. Wow, those plantain chips look delicious...I love the close-up of the salt flakes...makes them look especially edible.

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  11. Love those plantain's! It all looks delicious!

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  12. My husband loves plantains ... I might surprise him and make this recipe!!!

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