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)

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