Rachel Reed

Costa Rican Plantain “Latkes”

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Costarican-Plantain-LatkesTwo days ago I arrived at Rancho Delicioso and struck eco-gold. In preparation for my third grand supper on this paradisaical rural peninsula, I created a cross between a Jewish-style potato latke and African tatale— where plantains are a food staple.  It flourishes here in Costa Rica, though we don’t know exactly when the banana-like fruit arrived on shore.  In addition to greater sweetness, plantains retain more antioxidants as they ripen.  While high in starch content, plantains are a good source of potassium and fiber, and not too caloric– plus these are baked, not fried.  We bought these plantains from the local market, as our trees are still too young.  Soon we’ll be able to harvest seeds from sunflowers we’re planting this coming week.  The farm already grows rosemary, garlic, and ginger, and produces eggs.  On a walk this morning we snagged limón mandarina (local yellow limes with orange flesh) fresh from the tree.  I added this homemade chili oil that Yasmin, Geoff’s girlfriend, recently made.  For gluten free, substitute wheat flour with corn meal (I’ll try this next time, too, as I imagine it will lend to more crunch).

Costa Rican Plantain “Latkes”
Makes 9, serves 3


  • 2 over ripe plantains (black)
  • 1 small onion, fine chop
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper – to taste
  • 1 tsp rosemary, fine chop
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced

Salsa garnish

  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, rough chop
  • 1/2 limon mandarina (lime)
  • 1/2 avocado, rough chop
  • 1 tsp chili oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Peel and mash plantains in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add rest of ingredients and mix thoroughly (you could use a Cuisinart).
  3. Refrigerate for 20 minutes
  4. Preheat oven to 200 C (or 375 F)
  5. Lightly oil baking sheet
  6. Shape 9 patties and bake for 15 minutes, flip, bake for 15 more minutes or until browning and crispy.
  7. Assemble garnish ingredients and serve a spoonful on top of each latke.