Arañitas are a quick Puerto Rican snack that have graced many a table back home on the island. Growing up, my mom would put me in charge of carefully grating green plantain in order to make these fritters and it still remains a fun moment that I remember as a kid in the kitchen. The English translation of arañitas is “little spiders” and the name comes from the grated plantain pieces forming little legs that stick out of the fritter itself, which ends up looking like a prickly spider on a plate.
For portioning, I typically suggest one medium-sized green plantain per person, so this recipe can easily be adapted for more servings. These are ridiculously easy to make and are even more delicious paired with a garlicky mayo-ketchup dipping sauce. —Reina Gascon-Lopez
freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
For the mayo-ketchup, mix the mayonnaise, ketchup, and garlic powder together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning with kosher salt and black pepper to your liking. Set aside.
To shallow fry the arañitas, in a large frying pan over medium heat, add enough canola oil to come about one inch up the sides, and allow to heat up.
Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl stir together the grated plantain and the adobo seasoning. Depending on how green the plantains are, they may be a little sticky while forming the fritters, so I tend to spray my hands with a little non-stick cooking spray or wear gloves just in case things get a little messy.
Taking a small handful of the grated plantain (roughly 2 to3 tablespoons’ worth), form it into a ball and with enough pressure, squeeze the grated plantain until some of it sticks out in between your fingers. These are going to be the “legs” of the arañitas. Repeat the process with the rest of the plantain mixture.
Once the oil is heated and ready, fry the arañitas until they’re golden brown and crispy, about 5 to 8 minutes, turning over with a spatula or large slotted spoon as needed. Remove from the oil to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and sprinkle them with kosher salt.