How to make Mofongo
Mofongo you say. What in the world is mofongo?
Well mofongo is a wonderful Puerto Rican delight that few have experienced. The major ingredient to mofongo is the platano or plantain. I prefer the Latin word platano. The platano has proven to be a very diverse food. Platanos are grown in the Caribbean, Central and South America. They were introduced to these regions from Africa.
I had my first mofongo in a restaurant on the Malecon in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I instantly fell in love with it. The dish is less well known in Colombia where I am currently living. Regardless, all of the same ingredients are locally grown in Colombia too.
There are a few different techniques used to make mofongo. I am familiar with them all and I have my favorite recipe which I am featuring in this article.
Things you will need to make the mofongo:
3 platanos (plantains)
6 to 8 garlic cloves
beef broth ( can of 15 oz.)
mojito (I will provide recipe)
canola oil (for frying)
adobo (7 spices: oregano, thyme, laurel, basil, coriander, parsley, and rosemary)
4 or 5 Pork rinds (chicharrones)
mortar and pestle (pelon)
Either some kind of pork or shrimp dish
I will show you step by step thru pictures and narration exactly how to cook this delightful food. At the end of the article I have included a short video that should also be helpful.
My method of making mofongo might differ a little from the video at the end of this article. Also mofongo is a dish that you can experiment with the quantity of the ingredients a bit. That all depends on your tastes. For the first time follow my instructions. After making your first mofongo you will be better prepared to experiment a bit.
The first step in the process is to peel the skin off of the green platanos. View video for this process. When done, cut the platano in 1 inch pieces and place them in a bowl. Cover the platano pieces in the bowl with the can of beef broth. To this mixture add about a teaspoon of salt. Let this set for fifteen to 30 minutes. Then drain the platanos completely but do not rinse them. In the meantime heat up a pan with enough canola oil to cover at least half of the platano pieces. Heat the oil up to a medium to medium high heat. Place one slice of platano in the oil. If the oil appears to fiz or boil around the platano, the oil is hot enough. Add the rest of the platanos slowly. Then cook them at this heat for about 15 minutes. You want the platanos to cook throughout but not brown. When the platanos are completely cooked, take them out and place them on a couple of paper towels to drain and dry. Use another paper towel to dab them dry.
Now you need to make the mojito. Place the garlic cloves in the mortar and pestle with at least ½ tsp of salt, a dash of pepper and ½ teaspoon of oregano, 1/4 teaspoon of adobo, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Mash everything up completely. Remove and place in a small bowl. Add I teaspoon of vinegar and 1 to 2 more tablespoons of olive oil. This will be the mojito that will be used to make the mofongo. If you do not have the adobo, you can buy it on line or just eliminate it. Place the finished mojito in a small bowl to use later.
Place several pieces of platano in a mortar and pestle. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the mojito (well mixed). Now crush the mixture thoroughly. Be sure that everything is crushed and mixed well. If your mofongo appears too dry, merely add some more mojito and mix well. Your mofongo is now ready to serve.
There are two popular ways to serve the mofongo. One way is to remove the mass of mofongo by turning the mortar and pestle upside down over a plate and tap until the mofongo falls onto the plate. This will produce an inverted cup-shaped piece of mofongo. Around the mofongo place a pork stew or a shrimp dish with some kind of liquid, kind of like a stew.
The other way to serve the mofongo is while the mass of mofongo is still in the mortar and pestle, push an object down in the mofongo as to hollow out the mass of mofongo. The idea is to form a cup, shaped from the mofongo. Remove carefully and fill with seviche, shrimp, pork bits, chicken, or beef. You can use you imagination when it comes to the filling. Some just fill the cup with bits of pork and they use the rest of the mojito for a dip or a salsa to pour over the cup. If the mojito is too thick, just add a little more olive oil.
One has to make some decisions as to the quantities to mix depending on the size of the mortar and pestle. But half of the fun of cooking is adjusting and customizing to one's own tastes. The step y step pictures and the video should give one a good idea how to do this.
Viewing the video is a good idea if one wants to make this delicious mofongo.
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