Plantain chips are a popular snack among Central American, Caribbean, and South American cultures. Depending on the country they hail from, they might be called platanitos, mariquitas, chifles, platanutres, or something else entirely. This particular recipe is based on the freshly fried plantain chips commonly found on street corners and stores in El Salvador—thinly sliced with a sharp knife or mandoline and carefully fried just one time until crisp and crunchy. The result is something like a robust potato chip, and different from the Dominican Republic’s tostones and Panama’s patacones, which are made by frying thicker rounds of plantain, then flattening them and frying them a second time.
The technique is easy: start with green plantains, peel them, and cut them into thin slices. There’s no one right answer on how thin to slice them. In this recipe, we call for cutting the plantains one-eighth-inch thick, for uniform chips that hold their shape; going thinner to one-sixteenth of an inch thick works too, producing wavier chips that are more delicate, though they can appear more greasy in spots (note that thinner chips cook more quickly). Once they’re fried, we simply remove them from the oil and them let drain on a wire rack, no paper towels necessary—our testing showed that excess oil wasn’t a problem on the finished chips.
In Central American countries, the chips are typically seasoned lightly with salt or chile powder and lime juice, but there’s nothing stopping you from experimenting with additional seasonings.