I learned to make these when first married; My mother-in-law taught me how to make them.
Chicharitas is the Cuban name given to green plantain chips, sliced round, fried, and salted. Margaritas is what the Cubans call them when they are sliced the Nicaraguan way; slicing them lenghtwise to create long, slender wavy chips fried and salted. They are so good brought piping hot to the table and sprinkled with mojo. Either way you will love these crispy little chips. Enjoy
1Pour the oil to a depth of 2 or 3 inches in a deep - fat fryer, a dutch oven or heavy skillet such as cast iron. Heat oil to 350 degrees.
2Peel the plantains, slice lengthwise for Mariquitas or in round chips for chicharitas, as thinly as possible, Using a mandolin if you have one, with the blade at it's thinnest opening. Slide them into the hot oil in small batches. You don't want them to clumb together. Fry until golden brown and crispy, about 1 to 2 minutes, turning with a metal skimmer. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and/or mojo. Serve at once.
3Mojo: Heat oil in a deep sauce pan over medium low heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, do not let the garlic get brown or it will be acrid tasting. Add the sour orange juice, cumin, and the salt and pepper. Stand back; the sauce may sputter. Bring to a rolling boil. taste to see if correct seasoning salt if needed.
4Cool before serving. Mojo is best when served within a couple of hours of making, but will keep in the frig for several days, well capped in a jar. When cool sprinkle over your plantain chips. Can be used to flavor Cuban sandwiches, boiled yucca, grilled seafood and meats and of course fried green plantain chips. Note: I prefer to use more lime juice then orange juice, as I like it very tart. I have seen some recipes for Mojo using cilantro in it, but that is not traditional to the Cuban Cuisine. Enjoy
5Above you see the Cuban Chicharitas and Mariquitas. I have also included some green plantains to show how green they should be. Green Plantains can be difficult to peel if you don't know how to do it. Run a sharp steak knife the point only down the seams of the plantain from the top to the bottom. Make sure you stick the point of the knife down to where you can feel the plantain under the peel. After doing this on all the seams take the point of the knife and gently pry up the peel where you cut working the knife gently all along the cut under the peel and prying up the peel as you go down the cut. The peel will give way and come off all in one piece. Then go to the next seam and do the same thing until you have pryed the peel off all the way around the plantain. Then you can go to your mandolin and start slicing. Good Luck