This is another example of the many ingredients that may be transformed into delightful patties in Mexico (see my cheesy potato patties). There is a very precise record of when and how bananas were introduced in Mexico. In 1554, Vasco de Quiroga, the first Bishop of the Mexican state of Michoacan, brought some plants back with him after a short stop in Santo Domingo, on his way back from a trip to Europe. Bananas and plantain are nowadays main crops all along the coasts, also in Southern Mexico, especially in the state of Tabasco, where this recipe originated.
Plantain Patties – Gorditas de plátano macho
2 plantain, ripe*
½ cup fresh cheese, such as Cotija, panela or feta; crumbled
Oil, as needed
Mexican cream (or equal parts of sour cream and whipping cream), to serve
Red spicy sauce, optional (click here for my recipe)
* Important: Choose plantain as ripe as possible, even with black spots (see photo below); if not available, let green plantain rest in a cool spot away from direct sunlight until they turn yellow and develop a dark tone.
Wash plantain, trim ends, and cut into halves (photo below, left); bring water to a boil in a pot, then add the plantain halves (photo below, right):
Let cook until the flesh swells and the peels start to burst; remove to a bowl, and peel carefully (photo below, left). Mash the flesh with a fork (photo below, right):
Flatten the mashed plantain to cool faster. Score with the fork to mark eight sections; season with a pinch of salt (photo below, left). Spread one drop of oil on hands, then take one section of mashed plantain, forming a ball, then flattening into a disc; scoop about one tablespoon of crumbled cheese onto the centre of the disc (photo below, right):
Close plantain mash around the cheese, then flatten again to form a patty, about half an inch (1.25cm) thick. Place on a plate, then repeat with the rest of the sections (photo below, left). Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of a large frying pan over medium heat; once hot, reduce heat to medium/low, and fry patties in batches, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides (photo below, right):
Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Serve drizzled with cream with a side of red spicy sauce (optional), either as an appetizer (photo below), as a first or second course with a side of Mexican white rice, or as a side (shown with pork centre loin and tomatoes at the top of the post).
Growing up in Mexico City, I only enjoyed plantain either fried or roasted; here in Canada, these patties were an instant hit with my family.