I can cook, I swear I can cook. I can make pollo al mojo de ajo so good it makes men weep. I can make black beans so creamy and oregano-laced and good that I've had marriage proposals. Rice is rice, onions are onions, yuca is yuca.
But I can't make fried plantains to save my life.
They end up being these hard hockey pucks with no flavour whatsoever. Whether I mash them into tostones or not, they remain starchy and all but inedible. I've varied the heat, I've baked them after frying, I've baked them before frying, I still end up with tasteless hockey pucks.
I want to be able to make the fried plantains I've had at Cuban restaurants, where they're soft and somewhat sweet and just a little greasy, yet have the brown colour that looks "right" to my Perth Amboy, NJ-bred eyes! How do I cut them? How do I season them? How do I cook them?
Please help a Chowhound who's jonesing. Plantains are 39 cents each at the market -- buying them already cooked bumps it up over ten times that amount.