Frijoles, Platanos y Mojitos for Our Cuban Chinese Tio

May 21, 2010

Why are we who we are? It’s an existential question, but also a consideration of history, migration and fate.

These cousins of bananas can be enjoyed green (unripe) or ripened, but always cooked. I prefer platanos maduros (fried sweet plantains), made with ripe plantains, best when the skin has turned black), but if you use green plantains, they are called tostones.





3 to 4 ripe (heavily spotted yellow to brown) or very ripe (brown to black) plantains

1/2 cup canola oil for frying



Cut the ends from the plantains and peel. Cut the peeled plantains on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. In a large skillet heat 1/3 cup oil over moderately high heat until hot and fry plantains in batches, without crowding, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Prepare a plate with two layers of paper towels. Transfer fried plantains to the prepared plate to drain, and season with salt if desired. Serve plantains immediately.



This quintessential Cuban cocktail blends the island's famous rum with lime juice and fresh mint. Hemingway is said to have enjoyed mojitos at La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, Cuba. Recipe adapted from





2 teaspoon white sugar, or to taste

Juice from 1 lime (2 ounces)

4 mint leaves

1 sprig of mint

White Rum (4 ounces)

2 ounces club soda or sparkling water



Place the mint leaves into a long mojito or Collins glass and squeeze the juice from a lime over it. Add the sugar, then gently smash the mint into the lime juice and sugar with the back of a spoon (this is called "muddling"). Add crushed ice, rum and stir. Top off with club soda or sparkling water to taste. Garnish with a mint sprig.


Linda Shiue also blogs at Doctor and Mama.












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