Pollo Campero–Seasoned Fried Plantain Chips Recipe

[Above photograph: Karla Vasquez. Recipe step photographs: Tim Chin]

These crispy and peppery fried plantain chips sport a spiced seasoning that will be familiar to anyone who knows the Pollo Campero restaurant chain, since it’s modeled on their fried chicken seasoning. I’d already gone down the rabbit hole of making a copycat Pollo Campero fried chicken recipe, and I’d also recently published a recipe for basic fried plantain chips, so it seemed obvious to combine the two.

The fried chicken at Pollo Campero, a chain with roots in Guatemala that’s now popular all over Central America and beyond, is one of their signature dishes. While their recipe is a trade secret, I worked out a spice mix that meets my taste memories: complex pepperiness from both white and black pepper, with added heat and aroma from a combination of cumin, curry powder, cayenne, and paprika. MSG adds an essential savory note (yes, you can leave it out, but it won’t be quite the same).

Note that this recipe calls for a mandoline slicer, which produces uniformly thick plantain slices. If you don’t have one, you can also use a vegetable peeler, though the thickness of the slices will vary, depending on the type of peeler you use, and the frying time will consequently be a little different.

Why It Works

  • Slicing the plantains uniformly with a mandoline ensures even cooking.
  • A quick rest on a wire rack is all they need, no wasting paper towels.
  • Applying the spice mixture and salt right after frying ensures it adheres well.

What’s New On Serious Eats

  • Yield:Serves 4 to 8 as a snack
  • Active time:25 minutes
  • Total time:25 minutes
  • Ingredients

    • 2 teaspoons seasoning salt, such as Lawry’s
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon white pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon MSG (optional)
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    • 2 green plantains
    • Vegetable oil, for frying (about 2 cups/475ml)
    • Kosher salt

    Directions

    1. 1.

      In a small bowl, stir together seasoning salt, black pepper, white pepper, cumin, curry powder, paprika, MSG (if using), and cayenne.

    2. 2.

      Cut off the ends of each plantain.

    3. 3.

      Peel plantains.

    4. 4.

      Cut plantains in half crosswise.

    5. 5.

      Using a mandoline slicer, slice plantains lengthwise into planks 1/8-inch thick.

    6. 6.

      Line a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. Fill a large, deep cast iron or stainless steel skillet halfway with oil. Set over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350°F (175°C). Working in batches and avoiding crowing the pan, add plantain slices and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over, about 4 minutes total. Using a spider strainer or slotted spoon, transfer plantains to wire rack to drain. Immediately season all over with the spice mixture followed by a sprinkling of salt. Repeat with remaining plantain slices.

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