I mentioned in a previous recipe post that I had Jamaican heritage. I also have Puerto Rican heritage, and am a big fan of Latin cuisine as well. It occurred to me that I hadn’t made any dishes truly inspired by this cuisine, and all of a sudden I kind of went on a bit of a Latin Food kick because I was craving it. I bought a family size pack of sazon seasoning packets and started making dish after dish of delicious, flavorful Spanish food. The Caribbean is full of vegan cuisine — of course there are tons of fresh fruits and vegetables that grow in abundance in the tropical climates, but many dishes are rice based and often have other elements such as beans and plantains that accompany them, all of which are vegan and delicious. This particular dish has elements that you would find in all Caribbean islands, but as mentioned previously, is slightly inspired more so by the Spanish-speaking islands. The best part has to be the maduros, or fried sweet plantains. Plantains go through different stages. When they are green (not ripe) and fried, they are called tostones. Once they are yellow (ripe or over-ripe) they become sweet and when fried, they are called maduros. They are at their sweetest when they’re black and that’s a great time to use them for desserts. A fruit that can go from unsweet to sweet and be used in both savory and sweet dishes? Mother nature really put her foot into this one.
What You’ll Need:
- 1/2 block of one 12 oz. package of organic seitan (I used Pacific foods brand), sliced
- 1 16 oz. can of pinto beans, water drained with about 1/4 can of liquid*
- 1 yellow plantain
- A couple of jarred roasted red peppers
- About 1 1/2 teaspoons Himalayan Pink sea salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 packet of Goya sazon seasoning
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
What to Do:
- Slice the whole yellow plantain on the diagonal into about 1/2 inch pieces.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Once oil is hot, place plantain slices in skillet (be careful of oil splatter!).
- Fry slices on each side for approximately 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Make sure to watch them and turn accordingly so that they do not burn. You want the pieces to be golden brown as in the picture, not very dark or burnt (unless that is what you’re trying to achieve).
- Once they are golden brown, remove the plantains from the oil and place on a dish covered with paper towels to drain the excess oil. Sprinkle them with about 1/2 teaspoon of the Himalayan pink sea salt.
- Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once oil is hot, add seitan slices to skillet and sprinkle with Himalayan sea salt and black pepper on either side. Pan-fry slices on either side until golden brown, approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove seitan slices from skillet and set aside.
- Wipe the skillet clean and return to stove-top burner, this time over low heat. Add water drained pinto beans to skillet along with sazon seasoning. Mix seasoning into beans well and allow beans to heat up. Once they are warmed, remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish.
- Place seitan slices over beans and surround beans with plantain slices.
- Garnish with roasted red peppers. Serve as is or with rice to make the dish heartier.
* I often use a “water draining” technique with canned beans that involves draining them of the thick, viscose liquid that is already in the can, but not entirely. I open the can and use my hand to cover the top (so the beans don’t fall out) while I run water in and out of the can. you can used another method to cover the top but I find that using your hand works best. As the liquid already in the can is drained and you replace it with water, you create a thinner liquid that still has some of the “bean juice” flavor. I rinse then this way about 2-3 times, filling the can with as much water as I can until the beans start to overflow. Finally, I empty the water that is in the can but leave about an inch or two of water still in the can so that when I add them to a pan, there is some liquid available that is now a mixture of the thicker liquid originally in the can along with regular water — to help with the cooking process.
Date Posted on Instagram: 9/10/18