If you come to Panama, one of the first things you’ll eat is a plateful of patacones.
These little local delights are basically fried plantains, smashed flat with some kind of utensil, then fried again. They’re absolutely delicious and a total staple of a vegan diet here.
But this weekend, when we went surfing in Palmar, my friend Rio ordered patacones with seafood…and my mind was blown by the amazingly inventive way in which this little beach hut served their food. I couldn’t wait to try it and veganise it when I got home – and so patacone cups were born.
These are really easy to make, providing you have something cup-shaped of the right size.
(Makes 10 patacone cups)
1 large plantains
2 cups vegan chili
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
Slice the patacone into 10 rounds
Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan, then add in the plantains and heat on medium for 2 minutes
Flip the plantains over and cook for 2 minutes again
Remove from the heat, and pat dry on a sheet of kitchen paper
Place another sheet of kitchen paper over the top, and smash the patacones until they’re flat but not broken up
Place one patacone in a funnel or something similar, or over something round, and push into a bowl shape with your fingers or a pestle
Place on a baking tray
Repeat with all the patacones, then place the tray into the oven
Bake for 5-7 minutes, until they’re crispy, then remove from the oven
Fill each patacone cup with vegan chili, then serve!
You can substitute the chili here for almost anything; salsa, a mint bean salad and blended lentils would all be delicious.
If you’re having friends over, these are great finger food and look pretty cool.