Serves ~4 Prep 5 min Cook 25 min Ready 30 min
The actual name of this dish is “tigrillo," but my abuelitos called it “platanito” (little plantain) my entire childhood. On one of my trips to Ecuador, I vividly remember sitting down in a restaurant in Zaruma and seeing “tigrillo” on the menu and being completely shocked! They explained that the dish was named after a small wildcat called "tigrillo," because the plantain, cheese and egg mixture resembles the feline's colors. My abuelitos had just modified the name for the grandchildren, since we had difficulty pronouncing it, and it just stuck!
Tigrillo is a traditional breakfast that originated in Zaruma and is one of the most well known Ecuadorian dishes around the world. I hope you enjoy my absolute favorite breakfast!
3 green plantains
~4 oz of graded Monterey jack cheese
~3 tablespoons of salted butter
~2-3 tablespoons of salt
1. First, prepare the plantains. Chop off the ends from each plantain, chop in half, then cut about 3-4 slits with a pairing knife along the sides of each of the plantains.
2. In a deep pot add enough water to cover the plantains, along with 2 large pinches of salt. Boil the plantains until fork tender - about 15 - 20 mins. Remove the peel & let cool for 5 mins.
3. In a food processor, add the plantains, along with salt (I add about one small pinch per plantain) and 1 - 2 tablespoons of butter (depending on the sizes of the plantains). Blend until smooth and the mixture starts forming into a ball.
4. Remove the mixture from the processor and shape into small round pieces. The easiest way to do this is to shape the entire plantain mixture into a thin long tube shape, divide into small pieces and shape between the two palms of your hand, by rotating them in different directions.
5. In a bowl, beat 4 eggs with a pinch of salt. Cook them in a pan, along with 1 tablespoon of butter on medium heat.
6. When the scrambled eggs are about half way cooked, add in the plantain balls.
7. Mix around frequently to ensure the eggs don't stick. When the eggs are thoroughly cooked, add the graded Monterrey jack cheese, mixing it in little by little. Once the cheese is melted, its ready!