Mofongo (pronounced mo-FON-go) is a typical Caribbean dish whose main ingredient is plantains green. If plantains are ripening, or are ripe, they not can be used for this recipe. It is very popular in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other nearby islands, as well as in many communities around the world where Puerto Ricans can be found. Mofongo can be served alone, with other dishes or with different types of "toppings" that can transform it into a different dish. Preparing this recipe is not difficult: here is how to make mofongo.
- a plantain green per serving.
- Garlic (fresh or mashed) to taste.
- Fried pork skin (optional; in Spain it is known as "chicharrones").
- Olive oil.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Enough vegetable oil to fry bananas.
- If you plan to serve it with fillings: beef stew, shrimp, or anything else you can imagine!
Step 1. Heat the vegetable oil
Put oil in a deep skillet up to 2.5cm-5cm high and heat until reaching 180ºC. If you don't have a thermometer, heat the oil until you can put a slice of plantain in the pan and it starts bubbling right away.
Step 2. Peel the plantains
You should make a shallow cut at the height of the banana and carefully remove the peel. It's easier if you put the plantain in hot water for two to three minutes to make the peel more malleable.
Step 3. Cut the banana into 2.5 cm slices
Step 4. Fry the plantain slices in portions until they turn dark yellow in color
Don't overfry; if they turn brown, they may not achieve the right consistency. You want them to be cooked, not toasted.
Step 5. Set the fried slices aside in a paper towel-lined bowl to dry them
Step 6. Put four or five fried plantain slices in the mortar and knead
Add a few cloves of garlic, a few pieces of pork skin (the idea is to make it a little crunchy, but without covering up the taste), a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste in the pestle. Knead the mixture again. Alternatively, you can use a food processor with a cutting blade, although the consistency of the final product will not be the same and a little more oil may be needed.
Step 7. Remove the mixture from the pestle and place it in the shape of a half sphere (round, with a flat bottom))
- If you're going to serve mofongo alone, it's ready! Just add it to the plate where it will be served along with salad, other side dishes, etc.
- If you are going to serve the mofongo with a stuffing, use your fist or a large spoon to create a bowl shape concave on the rounded side of the mofongo and put the stuffing there.
Step 8. Ready
- When served undiluted, some purists prefer the mofongo to be placed in a large bowl of half full of chicken or fish stock.
- There is a similar dish in the Dominican Republic called "mangu" and it has a much softer consistency.
- Buy green plantains enough for the number of servings of mofongo you plan to prepare. A general rule of thumb is an average plantain per serving. Bananas need to be completely green and very hard. Any yellowing in the plantain skin or soft spots means the plantain is ripening and the fruit will taste sweet and not good for making mofongo.
- This isn't a low-calorie, low-fat dish, but if you're worried about it, you can make a few changes:
- Fry the plantain slices in canola oil instead of corn oil.
- Skip the fried pork skin part, or substitute some crunchy ingredient, such as chopped almonds, or pieces of nuts, as long as you are not allergic. This is a good replacement for vegetarians too.
- Use extra virgin olive oil in small amounts, adding just enough to achieve the desired consistency. Extra virgin oil is more expensive, but it tastes stronger and smaller amounts will give you the right result.
- The plantains must be cooked. If the slices are still yellow and raw in the middle, fry them a little longer. Raw plantains will give you a stomachache!
- This dish does not look good if refrigerated. If you have leftovers, don't store them for more than a day or two. To reheat, microwave each mofongo ball for one to two minutes.
- Do not use ripe plantains for this recipe. If the banana has started to turn yellow, or is completely yellow/black, and soft at any point, it is starting to ripen and will ruin the recipe.