Bolon de verde: Ecuadorian mashed green plantain dumpling balls with cheese
Bolon de verde – mashed green plantain dumplings or balls stuffed with cheese and/or chicharrones (or chorizo or bacon) and fried until crispy- is another traditional Ecuadorian recipe from the coastal region.
This classic Ecuadorian breakfast dish consists of green plantains which are fried over medium heat until very tender, then mashed into dough, stuffed with cheese or pork, formed into round balls, and then fried again until crispy. Bolon is a slang term that means large ball, so you could translate the name of this dish as green plantain balls, but I think green plantain dumpling is probably a better food translation.
These bolones or stuffed dumplings can be served for breakfast or brunch; they are also a great side dish or good appetizers.If you are serving bolon de verde for breakfast or brunch I suggest that you accompany it with hot coffee, a fried egg, hot sauce, and some tomato or avocado slices.Jump to Recipe
Bolones are typically stuffed with cheese or with chicharrones, which I have to clarify that unlike in Mexico and Central America where chicharrones are fried pork rinds, what we call chicharrones in Ecuador are actually chunks of deep fried fatty pork meat– yes, not the healthiest, but very tasty.
For this recipe I made some bolones stuffed with cheese and others stuffed with chorizo, instead of chicharrones.In some cases the last step of frying the stuffed dumplings is omitted and instead the bolon de verde is served right after being stuffed, personally I prefer to fry it again because I love the crispy exterior that it gets and it also ensures that the dumplings are nice and warm when you eat them.
I tried to come up with a healthier variation by boiling the green plantains until tender –as opposed to frying them -, but it is much harder to get the right consistency that way, instead I ended up making another dish called majado or molloco de verde – a dish with similar ingredients to bolon de verde but instead of making dumplings you just mash the plantains and mix everything together (similar to a potato hash).
Green plantains can be somewhat difficult to peel, the best way to peel them is to make the lengthwise cut on one of the protruding edges, the cut should be skin deep only without touching the actual flesh of the fruit, next use the knife to raise the skin and then peel off the skin with your hands. The greener they are the harder it is to peel them as the flesh tends to stick to the peel, in that case peel it as best you can and then use a knife to remove the stubborn parts of the skin.I do this under cold running water to keep them from staining everything and from darkening.
For a vegetarian version you can stuff the bolones with cheese, also if you are ever traveling in Ecuador and want to order these as a vegetarian dish –same thing applies for many other dishes – you should know that lard is used more than oil to fry or cook food (even rice), and most people are so used to it that even if you specifically request no meat in your dish they will sometimes still use lard -called manteca – in the preparation of your vegetarian dish,this is not done not out of evil, just out of habit.
Bolon de verde or fried green plantain dumplings
- 4 green plantains peeled and cut in medium sized chunks
- 4-5 tbs butter or lard
- 2 tbs oil canola or sunflower
- 1 tbs hot pepper or chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 cup grated cheese and/or 1 cup cooked chorizo or chicharrones (fried pork belly) or bacon
- Salt to taste
- Ground peanuts optional – add when mashing the green plantains
- Melt the butter or lard over medium heat in large sauté pan
- Add the plantain chunks and cook for about 40 minutes or until they are very soft, turn them about every 10 minutes, they should be slightly golden but not too crispy.
- Sprinkle the cooked plantains with the chili powder, cumin and salt.
- Transfer the plantain pieces to a bowl, do this while they are still hot (but be careful not to burn yourself).
- Mash the plantains using a wood masher – or just a regular potato masher – until you obtain chunky dough like consistency.
- Form balls slightly smaller than the size of a tennis ball with the dough.
- Make a hole in the middle of each ball and fill it with the cheese or chorizo or chicharrones (mixed with ground peanuts), gently press the filling into the hole, cover the filling and reshape it back into a ball shape.
- Heat the oil over high heat, add the stuffed plantain dumplings and fry them until they are golden and crispy on each side.
- Transfer to plate lined with paper towels to drain the grease and serve immediately.
Step by step preparation photos for Ecuadorian bolon de verde or green plantain dumplings
Other green plantain recipes:
Empanadas de verde or green plantain empanadas
Chifles or thin green banana chips
How should I adjust the ingredients if I am just making the recipe for two people?
Each plantain (medium sized) will yield two balls/dumplings, so if you are very hungry I would use 2 plantains for 2 people and each person should get 2 each. If you are less/medium level hungry then with 1 plantain you can each have one mashed green plantain ball each.
I just had some of these for Sunday brunch in Ayuda, Galapagos yesterday and looked to you to see how to make them. Here these were called “mixto” with white fresco cheese and pork (choriso) , served with fried egg and an Ecuadorian beef stew (and only on Sundays). These were the best I have had with lots of spices ad flavor. It tasted like they may have used an “adobo” blend to season the balls. Most of the others I have had in Ecuador were very bland and I had stayed away, but spiced right these are great.
Two quick questions – how far in advance can the dough be made? And, what kind of cheese would you recommend using? These look great! I had them in Ecuador and can’t wait to try them again!
Hi Emily – They’re really best when made and eaten immediately. Green plantains get very hard when they cool down and you can re-heat them, but it’s not as good.
My mom used to make these for Sunday brunch but without the cheese and I remember her adding crunchy peanut butter, I guess to better bind the ingredients. Whatever the reason, it was sooooo yummy! All but one recipe I’ve found online do not include peanut butter. Have you tried them with mani?
<3 your website, the pics and recipes are to die for.
Yes, I love them with mani. I sometimes add ground roasted peanuts (or peanut butter if I don’t have roasted peanuts). Adding mani/peanuts seems to be more popular in the Manabi province than in Guayas, most places in Manabi always had the option to have it with peanuts – my favorite is combining both mani and cheese, it’s delicious!