This legendary tostones sauce was sent to Familia Kitchen by one of my oldest friends, Beca Mueller. Her mother, Mary Yvette González Mueller, grew up in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico and went to the same college in the States as my Puerto Rican mom. They became friends for life and miraculously ended up living in the same U.S. city, both married with kids.
Which means Beca and I have known each other our whole lives. We’re primas hermanas, we like to say, with a shared love of the Puerto Rican food we grew up eating—especially our island’s famosos tostones.
We’re not alone. Everyone loves tostones. These traditional plantain fritters are salty crispy on the outside and crunchy sweet inside. Start with unripe green plantains. The plátanos are sliced, fried, flattened (with a tostonera press or a heavy can), and fried again. If you’ve never made them, check out Familia Kitchen’s guide to Puerto Rican tostones and taste for yourself why they’re so popular.
Onto how to serve them: hot, as a side with your favorite Boricua dishes. You can’t go wrong eating them salted and plain. Or, dip them in a garlicky mojo sauce. But to upgrade your tostones to the next nivel of delicioso, try the fritters with her uncle’s family-famous “secret sauce,” says Beca. Secret because the family was never quite sure where this recipe came from. It may have been inspired by a local island Puerto Rican restaurant he loved. Did he get their actual recipe? Come home and try to make his own version? Nadie sabe.
But this they do know. ”This is the best and easiest tostones salsa EVER from my Tío Guille, who was Cuban,” says Beca. “He’s been in heaven for a while now. But I keep his handwritten recipe taped to my cupboard”—close to her heart. Every time she opens the cabinet, Beca sees the handwritten piece of paper with its four timeless ingredients, inviting her to cook her way home.
The next time we see each other, Beca and I promised we’ll make a Puerto Rican feast together. It will likely include Boricua favorites arroz con pollo, arroz con gandules and tres leches cake. We’ll of course mix up this tangy tomato and garlic sauce to dip our tostones. And we’ll raise a glass of good Puerto Rican rum to toast the memory of Tío Guille, Beca’s mom, Beca’s dad, my dad—all four of them together up there, so missed down here), in honor of our families’ shared heritage and forever friendship.