Mofongo a Fried Plantain Recipe
Mofongo served in Wooden Mortar
For those of you who are curious as to what Mofongo is - Mofongo as far as I’m concerned is one of the most delicious latin american foods ever. It is a Puerto Rican dish made from fried green plantains. I know I sound like a fat girl and you are probably imagining me at 300 pounds and frowning as I’m still frying my unripe green plantains.
Sadly for me I choose not to eat as much mofongo as I would like thanks to those darn “fried foods are sooo bad for you claims” and the fact that my latin body metabolism has the potential of shifting everything south and giving me an excess of that well rounded big bottom some pay to have.
Although I secretly suspect fried foods are only slightly bad for you, I can’t prove it. Just in case I’m not ready to face the possibility of a mofongo butt staring back at me from my skinny mirror. I dunno, as my grandmother is still around, and at 90 years of age has fried and consumed as much of the tasty dish to fill up El Morro in Puerto Rico, and her butt looks just fine.
I know “mofongo” is a strange name and I wish I could decipher it for you but no one knows for sure where the dish originated much less the name.
Dominicans give credit to the Puerto Rican cuisine but scholars place it as a variant of the dish ‘fufu’ de platano (plantain) which is of African origin.
It was introduced to the Caribbean by Africans brought over by the Spaniards conquering the New World colonies. Although made with the same ingredients the two dishes vary somewhat in texture.
Mofongo is a bit more solid as the green unripe plantains are fried .
Fufu de platano is of a slightly mushier consistency and is more prevalent in Cuban cuisine. Fufu is made from green or semi green (begininning to ripen) plantains and boiled.
They are both seasoned with the same ingredients after cooking and then mashed in a “pilon” ( wooden mortar and pestle) and shaped. These can either be formed into round balls or served upside down directly from the mortar. The curvature of the mortar provides for the hollowed out space for some delicious stuffed mofongo.
Fried foods are they really all that horrible?
Frying foods changes the characteristics of most liquid oil. Once heated to high temperatures any food cooked in oil not only increases in caloric value but is nutritionally changed . Trans fats are added . You have probably noticed how after you fry foods and leave out for a while, overnight or even in the fridge it tends to be surrounded in a white fatty substance . This is the transformation that the oil takes upon being heated and its what will clog your arteries over time.
Everything in moderation is fine of course, but too much of anything can be harmful. As long as your cholesterol levels are fine and your weight in check you don’t have to worry much about the occasional indulgence.
Latin Americans for some reason like to fry everything. That's why big bottoms abound in this part of town. And that's why we dance so much, to try to shake it off.
4 green plantains
1 cup Vegetable oil for frying
¼ Olive oil
4 Garlic cloves
½ cup pork cracklings or bacon bits
How to make Mofongo
- The plantains need to be completely green without any ripening taking place .
- You cut the ends and make about three slits on opposite sides of the plaintain top to bottom being careful not to cut through the plantain itself.
- Peel the outer green peel carefully. It can be a bit hard but be gentle as to not pull chunks of the plaintain while peeling. Slice the plaintain diagonally. Slices should be about ½ inch thick.
- Mix a handful of salt into a bowl of cold water and soak the slices of plantain.
- Heat about 1 inch of oil oil in skillet on medium setting about 350 degrees.
- Remove plantains from water and dab dry with paper towels .
- Cook your plantain slices for a few minutes until brown and tender. To test for doneness just pierce with a fork and make sure the fork goes through. Set aside plantain slices on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb some of the oil.
- In a mortar combine 1/2 tsp. olive oil , bit of crushed garlic and tbsp ofpork crackling (or bits of bacon.) salt and pepper. Add 4 or 5 cooked plantain slices and mash together in mortar with pestle. Once mashed and ingredients blended turn over on plate. Repeat for about 6 servings.
- For different variations you can Shape the plantain mash into a small bowl, making sure to leave a space for filling. Fill the space with your favorite crab, shrimps, beef or just about any of your favorite filling. Garnish with cilantro and Enjoy your Mofongo !