Island Bites is a Puerto Rican cook with decades of experience in the kitchen. She's an expert in Latin American cuisine.
Green Banana and Root Vegetable Fritters
Alcapurria is a common and delicious street food in Puerto Rico. You can find these crispy goodies in every kiosk around the island. It is a fried green banana and yautía dough filled with seasoned ground beef. You can also find seafood alcapurrias that are usually filled with crabmeat.
Yautía is commonly confused with malanga or taro root. Yautia (Xanthosoma) is native to tropical America, while malanga or taro (Colocasia) is native to southeast Asia.
For the dough:
- 10 green (unripe) banana, peeled
- 1 pound yautía, peeled
- 1 green (unripe) plantain, peeled
- oil for frying
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For the filling:
- 1 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/4 cup sofrito*
- 2 ounces tomato sauce/puree
- 1/2 roasted red pepper, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 5 to 8 olives, chopped
- salt and pepper
*If you don't have sofrito, use:
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cubanelle pepper, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 culantro leaves (you could substitute with 2 tablespoons cilantro)
- Brown ground beef in a couple tablespoons of oil. Add onions, peppers and garlic. Saute at medium temperature for 2 or 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce, herbs and spices, olives, salt and pepper. Let it simmer for 30 minutes. Set aside
- Finely grate yautía, green bananas and plantains into a large bowl. You could use a food processor to puree the dough. Add 2 teaspoons salt and about 2 or 3 tablespoons of the cooked meat liquid.
- Fry a tablespoon of the dough to adjust salt if necessary.
- Heat 2 or 3 inches of oil at medium-high temperature.
- Smear a little oil on a piece of aluminum paper or parchment paper. Spread about 1/4 cup of the empanada dough onto the paper. Place 1 or 2 tablespoons of the meat filling in the middle. Fold over one side of the foil to cover the meat. Press to seal ends. Peel away the foil and use the help of a spoon to slide the dough gently into the hot oil.
- Fry until well browned on one side. Flip and brown well on the second side, about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a cooling rack to drain. Serve hot.
Tips and Variations
- You can make alcapurrias dough using only green bananas.
- You can also shape the alcapurrias using a big serving spoon.
- You can freeze uncooked alcapurrias and fry them frozen.