Chifles are also known as mariquitas, chicharitas, platanutres, platanitos or plataninas, are thin fried green plantain banana chips. This is a common snack in Ecuador. Seven out of seven Downings recommend this treat.
Peanut oil for frying
Green bananas or green plantains
Optional: Hot pepper, garlic cloves or cilantro for additional flavor variations
First. Peel the green bananas or green plantains.
Then. Slice the bananas or plantains. Slice them as thin rounds or thin diagonal ovals.
Then. Heat the oil, either in a deep sauté pan or fryer, to between 375 F – 400 F, there should be enough oil to fully cover the bananas or plantains.
Then. Add the bananas or plantains to the hot oil; be careful not to overcrowd to keep them from sticking together.
Then. Fry until the chips get a golden color.
Then. Remove the chips from the oil and drain on paper towels.
Tree tomato aji hot sauce / Ají de tomate de árbol
Yield: ~1 1/2 cups of tree tomato aji
Tamarillo or tree tomato aji hot sauce is a very tasty hot sauce made from tree tomatoes or tamarillos, hot peppers, onion, cilantro and lime juice.
4-5 tree tomatoes, fresh or frozen if you can not find tree tomatoes you can use Tamarillo
2 ajies or hot peppers (serranos or red chilies are good options, habaneros if you are brave)
2 tbs finely chopped white onion
1 tbs finely chopped cilantro
1 tbs lime or lemon juice
¼ cup water
Salt to taste
First: If using fresh tree tomatoes peel them, boil them for about 5 minutes to make it easier to peel them.
If using frozen tree tomatoes, defrost them over night in the fridge, then cut them in half and scoop out all the insides.
Then: Blend the tree tomatoes with the hot peppers (seeded and deveined if you want it mild, you can always save a few seeds and add them in if it’s too mild).
Then: Transfer the blended mix of tree tomatoes and hot peppers to a small sauce pan, add the water (you can add more if you want a more liquid sauce) and cook on medium heat for about 5-8 minutes. You can also omit the cooking part, the sauce will be fresher, but will need to be consumed faster.
Then: Add the onion, lime juice, cilantro and salt to taste.
Enjoy! Serve warm or cold.
Replace water with oil (avocado, light olive oil, or a mild flavored oil) for a creamier Cuencano style aji (do not cook it after blending).
This recipe for shrimp stuffed avocado is made with ripe avocado filled with shrimp, red onion, radish, bell pepper, celery and cilantro mayonnaise. It is a delightful appetizer but we find it is filling enough to be counted as a meal! If you dislike shrimp you can salvage this Ecuadorian food experience by replacing the shrimp with pulled chicken.
1 lb medium sized cooked shrimp
5 firm ripe avocados
½ medium red onion, diced
2 radishes, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 hard boiled eggs, diced
5 tbs mayonnaise with chopped cilantro
Lime juice from 1 lime
Salt/pepper to taste
Chopped lettuce, sliced tomatoes and chopped cilantro
First. Chop the cooked shrimp in half, if desired keep a few whole to garnish.
Then. Combine diced onions, radishes, bell pepper, celery, eggs, shrimp, ½ of the lime juice and mayonnaise in a bowl, mix well. Taste and salt/pepper if necessary. Keep mixture refrigerated until ready to use.
Then. Cut avocados in half, remove seed and peel carefully.
Then. Drizzle remaining lime juice over avocados, this help keep them from darkening too quickly.
Then. Use a spoon to stuff avocados with shrimp salad filling.
Enjoy. Add any garnishes and serve immediately.
This dish is best served with aji or hot sauce to spice it up.