Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mofongo, Its Easy!

Plantains Ripe and Green

Fried plantains, ripe and green, they are as much a part of my heritage as apple pie to America. And though not Puerto Rican I have always enjoyed a well made Mofongo. Well to be honest it really is very difficult to mess up mashed plantains and pork cracklings mixed together in a garlicky sauce. Mofongo, is one of the most popular dishes in Puerto Rico. It has clear roots in the Fufu of West Africa.


Fufu is a mash of yams or other starches served as an accompaniment to meat or vegetable stews. To eat fufu, pull a small ball of mush off with your fingers, form an indentation with your thumb and use it to scoop up stews and other dishes. Or place large balls in individual serving bowls and spoon stew around them.
Now when I think of it, I grew up eating mashed green bananas with butter salt and pepper. Don’t knock it till you try it with well cooked Five Spice Stewed Chicken. I must now pick my jaw up from of the floor. Oh yes this was about Mofongo!

Mofongo in a Pilon

The classic way to serve mofongo is in the bamboo mortar (pilón) in which it was mashed. Sometimes the meat is added right in the center of the mash and served as a complete dish. I have also seen it formed in balls as a side dish. Now here is where you can make it more user friendly. No charronnes! I don’t eat it but it does add the delish flavor with the garlic and olive oil. You can still add the garlic and olive oil or omit all together. If you choose to omit, work quickly as it will dry out quickly.

Served as a side

Now I decided to go a stretch further.  After frying the plantains the first time, mash them while warm and cover with a damp cloth so mixture stays moist while forming cups.. Lightly grease a small cup with canola oil (the best is a Asian tea cup).
Take the greased cup and stuff it with the mashed plantain. Form a shell with the mixture about ¼ inch thick and gently slide the plantain cups from the tea cups. These are then refried to form what you see below. Any stewed meat mixture from shrimp, chicken, pulled pork, beef, goat. Ah the delight!!!

I made a chicken chipotle mixture with raisins chopped cilantro and scallions pictured below. One cup per person was enough served with rice and a salsa salad.

Decilious chicken filling

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