Ecuadorian food: Chifles (fried plantain chips)

I have seen chifles all over.  And not just in Ecuador.  We saw chifles in all of Central America, but especially in Costa Rica.

our final result from making chifles from green plantain in Ecuador

Today our Spanish teacher asked us if we would like to learn how to make chifles.  Of course we said yes.

After all, who can turn down a plantain “potato” chip (even if just for the experience)?

Our first stop was to the little corner store to buy a green plantain (a special type of plantain, not just an unripe yellow plantain).  This cost us $0.30.

Then we had to pick up some vegetable oil.  A half liter cost us $0.75.

We had a great break from class, and learned how to make something quite delicious and traditional.


  • 1 green plantain
  • .25 L of vegetable oil
  • Salt

First, wash the plantain.

It has a kind of sap on the outside of the skin that will turn your hand black if you don’t wash it off.  There’s also a glue”ish” substance, like with a banana, but more intense, between the plantain itself and the skin of the plantain (inside).  It can leave your hands quite sticky if you’re not careful when peeling. (They call it the milk of the plantain in Spanish.)

Peel the plantain.
making chifles from green plantain in Ecuador

Cut two parallel scores down the length, and peel the space between.  Continue until the whole thing has been peeled.

Set a frying pan on the stove and heat up the oil.

Slice the plantain as thinly as you can.

making chifles from green plantain in Ecuador

Fry in the oil until the plantain turns a bright yellow color marbled with brown.

making chifles from green plantain in Ecuador

Drain on paper towels.

making chifles from green plantain in Ecuador

Add salt to taste.

Eat and enjoy!

making chifles from green plantain in Ecuador

making chifles from green plantain in Ecuador

making chifles from green plantain in Ecuador

They may not be 100% healthy, but depending on the oil you use, chifles are better for you than any potato chips you can buy from any store.

How to Make Chifles (at YouTube)

8 thoughts on “Ecuadorian food: Chifles (fried plantain chips)

    1. strive4impact

      No kidding, right? They’re simply delicious. We liked ours so much last night that we went and bought more plantains today to make some more tonight – with the best avocadoes in the world… we’ll make guacamole and chifles. Want to join us?

  1. Pingback: Guacamole | Travel with Carrie and Jonathan. Want to travel the world? Visit us in Mexico, Buenos Aires, or European locations like Germany and Italy!

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    1. strive4impact

      Yes… that is a good question. I know they do it in chip bags somehow… but even in chip bags, once they’re opened, the chips go soft pretty quickly. I would try putting them in a ziploc bag with a completely dry paper towel and see if that works?

      Anyone else have suggestions for how to keep plantain chips fresh for days after you’ve made them?

  3. Jasper

    Thank you so much, this was a good read. I was actually born in Madrid (I’m not telling what year though!) but moved around europe and finally settled in England when I was a teenager. I dont remember much of the few years I was in spain, but the smell of spanish food always seems to ring a bell in me or something. It’s weird how I dont remember anything except the smells,isn’t it! I actually found a internet site dedicated to spanish recipes, which gave me great delight and thought I really should to share. Anyway, thank you again. I’ll get my husband to add your cast to my rss thing…

  4. Carroll B. Merriman

    Volunteer in the most Biodiverse country in the world, Ecuador. Learn Spanish while you explore the amiable South American culture and learn through immersion in any of the four major ecosystems of Ecuador: the Amazon Rainforest, Andes Mountains, Pacific Coast and the number one natural wonder of the world, the Galapagos Islands. With all of these options it may be hard to believe Ecuador is still one of the most affordable places to visit in the world.

    See our website and join our member network and facebook page for updates, to connect with other travelers and recieve promotions to make your experience even more economical. Our programs are all inclusive and offer our particpants lodging, three meals a day, cell phones, traveler’s insurance, guide services, and transportation. All of our offerings promote conservation and give back to the local communities that you visit creating your travels a sustainable experience.

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