Sweet Plantains vs Tostones

Sweet Plantains vs Tostones Ricardo Diaz Interview

Sweet Plantains vs Tostones – And my Interview with Ricardo Diaz.

Charlie DeSando and Ricardo Diaz
Charlie DeSando and Ricardo Diaz

Cuban Cooking and Sweet Plantains vs. Tostones

Plantains are so versatile in Cuban cuisine and make the best side dish for just about any meal! Make savory dishes out of them, like Tostones, or wait a while until they ripen so you can make sweet plantains.

Ready to eat
Ready to eat

And Meet Ricardo Diaz. Ricardo has had a long career in public service and nonprofit work, including leading Milwaukee’s economic development efforts and overseeing its housing programs. He is best known in Milwaukee for his work at the social service agency, United Community Center (UCC) as the Executive Director (twice). So much so, that they named the Ricardo Diaz Early Learning Academy after him when he retired. His work at UCC has positively impacted the lives of those who were served.

Not only did Ricardo cook a great meal of Sweet Plantains and Tostones, but we also went grocery shopping at the Cermak Grocery store for the supplies for our great meal.

Sweet Plantains vs. Tostones

Plantains are starchy, versatile members of the banana family. You can boil, fry, bake, or grill them. Tostones are made from green plantains. Sweet plantains are made from ripe green plantains and they turn yellow when ripe. Tostones are twice-fried, crispy, and salty while sweet plantains are sweet and tender. Both are delicious! The darker the skin, the sweeter the plantains will be.

Sweet plantains (Platanos Maduros) are made from ripe green plantains that are sliced and then fried until tender in the middle and crisp on the edges.

Garlic Dipping Sauce (Mojito) for Tostones

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves of garlic peeled

3 tbsp of cilantro, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Put garlic and a generous pinch of salt into a mortar. Crush to a rough paste with the pestle, then add cilantro and crush until fragrant. Add pepper and adjust the seasoning. Dip the tostones into the mojito and combine them with a refreshing drink.

Interview with Ricardo Diaz

My Interview with Ricardo is one in a series on “Cooking with Milwaukee Community Leaders”. My idea to interview and cook with a Community Leader here in Milwaukee is based on an HBOMax TV series called Selena+Chef, where Selena Gomez gets virtual cooking lessons from famous chefs around the world. During the cooking lesson, they discuss the charity/non-profit/foundation/community work in which the chef is involved.

Selena +Chef
Selena +Chef

Cooking With Milwaukee Community Leaders

I wanted to do something similar. I do a short interview with my guest, talk about their work in the community, and then cook something at our condo building. They pick whatever we are going to cook and I act as their sous chef.

You can view the previous Cooking/Interview at the links listed below.

Wendy Baumann (President of WWBIC) Interview – Tuna Bien Masabe Jose Andres Recipe –https://youtu.be/wGn3YclrPds. The recipe article is at https://cookingsecretsformen.com/2022/11/20/tunabienmasabe

Sadhna Lindvall (President of the Shorewood Foundation) Interview – Pastelillos (Dominican empanadas) https://youtu.be/PNxm3O8l4pE. The recipe article is at https://cookingsecretsformen.com/2022/11/28/dominican-empanadas-pastelillos/

Wendell Willis (Former MPS Foundation Exec Director) Interview – Steak Fajitas – Easy Margarita Recipe – https://youtu.be/0G12gTts1Go. The recipe article is https://cookingsecretsformen.com/2022/12/06/steak-fajitas-wendell-willis-interview/

Sweet Plantains vs Tostones

Sweet Plantains vs Tostones

Plantains are so versatile in Cuban cuisine and make the best side dish for just about any meal!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Cuban
Keyword: Plantains, Tostones
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 170kcal


  • No Special Equipment


INGREDIENTS – Sweet Plantains (Maduros)

  • 2 large ripe plantains very dark skin (the darker the skin, the sweeter they will be)
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil. Since you will be frying the sliced ripe plantains you should use oil with a high smoke point like vegetable oil, canola oil, or avocado oil
  • Salt

Ingredients – Tostones-Fried Plantains twice fried

  • 2 green plantains Ther Greener the better
  • 1/2 cup Canola oil
  • Salt


Sweet Plantains (Maduros)

  • Peel each plantain, using a sharp knife to cut the tough skin.
  • Cut each ripe plantain diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
  • Set aside.
  • Place a paper towel on a plate. Set aside.
  • In a nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  • Pan-fry the sliced plantains for 2-3 minutes per side until they’re golden brown and the edges are crispy.
    Plantains removed from oil
  • Transfer the fried plantains to the plate to drain.
  • Season them with salt and serve immediately.

Tostones-Fried Plantains twice fried

  • Heat a large skillet with an inch of canola until its hot (375 degrees).
  • While the oil is heating up, peel the green plantains and then cut them into 1.5-inch coins.
  • Plantains can be difficult to peel and takes a little practice and patience to master the technique.
  • Fry the plantains for about 3 minutes or until they are a light golden color and semi-soft.
    Green Bananas Tostones Sauté
  • Remove the plantains and drain on a paper towel.
  • Keep the oil heated.
  • When plantains are cool enough to handle, smash them into flat rounds (You can use one of those fancy tostoneras or you can place a round glass over the fried plantains and press down).
    Smashing the Tostones
  • Fry the plantains for a second time in the hot oil for about 3 minutes.
    Tostones 2nd fry in oil
  • They will turn crisp and golden brown.
  • Remove the Tostones and drain on a paper towel to remove any excess oil.
  • Add salt to taste.



Serving: 1piece | Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 447mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1009IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Cooking With Milwaukee Community Leaders

I do a short interview with my gueststalk about their work in the community, and then cook something at our condo building. They pick whatever we will cook and I act as their sous chef. Here are some examples of “Cooking with Milwaukee Community Leaders” videos on YouTube: 

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson – Copycat McDonald’s Breakfast Sandwiches  Video is at –https://youtu.be/eWkN4nI5ueE

Ellen Gilligan, President, and CEO, Greater Milwaukee Foundation – Lemon Curd Tarts and Limoncello – Video is at – https://youtu.be/8TVogwQ5C-4.

Joanne Anton, Director of Giving, Herb Kohl Philanthropies Interview – Spanakopita Video is at – https://youtu.be/8IKtZAguLv4.

Cecelia Gore, Executive Director Brewers Community Foundation –  Stetson Salad  Video is at – https://youtu.be/_bbXPP_JzAo.

Mark Mone, Chancellor, Univ or Wisconsin Milwaukee – Chicken Parmesan – Video is at –  https://youtu.be/SS1KUGo31Xg

David Crowley, Milwaukee County Exec – Chicken Parm Sandwiches and Roasted Broccoli – Video is at – https://youtu.be/O2vQJtUv4OI.

Brian Gotter, Major Gifts Officer MACC Fund – Sausage Gravy & Biscuits – Video is at – https://youtu.be/0Jb6J7bXaWM.

Randy Bryant, Exec Director Ten Chimneys – Mango Gazpacho – Video is at – https://youtu.be/lN-U9EdARF8.

Judge Derek Mosley, Director of Marquette Univ Law School – Stuffed, roasted red peppers – Video is at – https://youtu.be/VDtpylMOcJY.

Cooking Secrets for Men 

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We were featured in “Milwaukee Magazine” May 2023 edition, called “Civic Gastronomy”. Here is the link – https://www.milwaukeemag.com/this-cooking-show-features-milwaukee-community-leaders/

Then a few days later, they were discussing me on the radio. It is a local Foodie show – “This Bites”, where my series “Cooking with Milwaukee Community Leaders” is discussed (it’s in the first few minutes of the show) https://radiomilwaukee.org/podcast/this-bites/2023-05-26/milwaukee-celebrity-cooking-show.

“Cooking Secrets for Men” is listed as one of the Top 30 Men’s Cooking Websites on the Internet. You can read that article here See where we rank for Men’s Cooking Websites.

If you like this recipe for Sweet Plantains vs. Tostones, you should try our recipe for Cuban Black Beans. Or maybe our recipe for Arroz con Gandules.

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6 thoughts on “Sweet Plantains vs Tostones Ricardo Diaz Interview”

  1. 5 stars
    I first came across plantains in Uganda a few years ago when we went there to see some Gorilla’s. I had them mashed. They were a bit like mashed potatoes but much sweeter. I hope you have an amazing Christmas and New Year Charlie!

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