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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 03/11/2023

Costa Rican Recipes-with plantains

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

Living in Costa Rica, you will run into plantains regularly on menus and in the markets.  If you aren't familiar with plantains, they look like a large banana but are higher in starch and have less sugar.  They can be cooked in a number of ways and are typically used as a side dish or even dessert.  We'd like to share a few of our favorite plantain recipes with you!

Plantains are sold and cooked at various stages of maturation.  If the plantain peel is green, the plantain is less sweet and will be hard.  Plantains at this stage are great for recipes like patacones.  If the plantain peel has brown spots or is completely brown, it is sweeter and will be softer in texture.  Most Costa Rican families cut the ripe plantains up in small pieces and fry or bake them for a tasty side with nearly every meal, even the typical breakfast of gallo pinto (rice and beans).  


4 green plantains

1 tsp salt


Peel the plantains and cut into six rounds each.  Fry the rounds in hot oil until golden.  Place the fried rounds on a cutting board and smash with a glass bottle or rolling pin.  Sprinkle the plantain rounds with salt and fry again until crispy.  Drain the fried plantains on paper towels.  Patacones are a great appetizer with a side of refried beans (frijoles molidos) and a cold beer!  

Platanos en Gloria

3 ripe plantains                              1/4 lb mild cheese, grated

2-4 Tablespoons butter                 1/2-1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon oil                                 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat your oven to 350°F (177°C).  

Peel the plantains and slice them horizontally to approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Fry them lightly in butter until brown on both sides.  Drain the fried plantains on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.  In a buttered oven-proof dish, arrange alternate layers of plantains and grated mild cheese, finishing with a cheese layer.  Pour the cream over top until it shows through the top layer of cheese.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake for about 45 minutes, until firm but not dry.   This makes a great afternoon snack with a hot cup of coffee!

Platanos en Miel

3 large ripe plantains             1 Tablespoon butter

1 cup sugar                              1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup water                        dash of cinnamon

1 Tablespoon oil

Hit the plantains on all sides with a wooden spoon to soften.  Peel and cut into five pieces each.  In a large skillet, melt the butter and oil on high.  Add the plantains and fry until brown.  Combine the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and water.  Reduce heat to low, and pour the sugar liquid over the plantains.  Continue cooking until the liquid thickens, which usually takes about 15 minutes.  This is a decadent yet traditional Costa Rican dessert that you won't want to miss!

Stay tuned for more traditional Costa Rican recipes, and don't forget that we offer cooking classes to students in our 4-week TEFL training!  If you haven't already signed up for our coursecontact us today!  

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