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Best Mofongo Recipes

Best Mofongo Recipes

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Mofongo Shopping Tips

A blend of European and African cuisine, Puerto Rican food is familiar with a flare. Keep Spanish stables like rice and beans on hand and brighten up the dish with citrus and fruit flavors.

Mofongo Cooking Tips

Puerto Rican cuisine is all about the combinations of flavors but most build on the foundation of a sofrito - onions, garlic, tomatoes, red peppers, and cilantro.

Mofongo with Shrimp

While shooting his Food Network show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy Fieri stopped at Benny&rsquos Seafood in Miami to try mofongo, a Puerta Rican comfort food. &ldquoThe chef pulled out a wooden pilón (a kind of mortar) as big as a tree trunk and filled it with fried green plantains, garlic, salt and chicharrones (crunchy pork rinds). Then he used a baseball bat to mash it together.&rdquo The dish is served with chicken broth on the side or topped with meat or seafood, like the sautéed shrimp here.More Delicious Latin American Recipes

History of Mofongo

Like most good dishes, mofongo is the product of several heritages and cultural inspirations.

Specifically, mofongo owes its creation to an African dish called fufu, which is a dough-like mixture of plantains, water, butter, and oil.

African slaves brought the dish with them to Puerto Rico and the locals immediately latched on to the dish, wasting no time in experimenting with new recipes.

Namely, it was the Puerto Ricans who came up with the idea of frying the plantains in oil and adding toppings.

Fufu served a purpose not unlike naan bread, ie, mopping up soups and stews. The plantains in mofongo, however, took center stage.


Christopher Simpson for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Easily the most popular classic Puerto Rican dish, mofongo is flavorful, satisfying and layered with history. The ingredients and process reference the island’s Indigenous and African roots alongside Spanish flavors. While this preparation uses chicharrón or pork cracklings, you can easily make it vegan by omitting the pork and adding a little extra garlic and olive oil. The trick to great mofongo is to work quickly: Heat your garlic and olive oil mojo while your plantains are frying, and smash everything together as soon as they’re done. You can stuff mofongo with seafood or roast pork, if you like, and serve it with guiso, a flavorful, sofrito-scented tomato sauce, or even use it to stuff a Thanksgiving turkey. The included recipe for guiso is optional but recommended, as it adds dimension and moisture, particularly for a vegan preparation.

M ofongo is pure Puerto Rican soul food, and no culinary tour of the country is complete without a heaping helping. This hearty dish of mashed plantain mixed with chicharrónes, or pork cracklings, and chicken stock resembles thick, golden mashed potatoes. Classic mofongo is redolent of garlic a generous dollop is key. Mofongo may be served as a starchy side or the base of a protein-laden main course. Chicken, shrimp, and pernil, a.k.a. slow-cooked pork shoulder, are traditional toppers. Hearty and homey, mofongo combines the best flavors Puerto Rico has to offer. No wonder it&aposs a national favorite.

Puerto Rico isn&apost the only country with a dish like this. Mofongo is thought to have evolved from fufu, an African staple made by mashing starchy roots, like cassava or true yams, to yield a nutritious mass. Plantain mashes are hugely popular in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands and parts of South America. Cuba calls theirs fufú Cubano, the Dominican Republic has mangú, and Ecuador has bolones, or balls of plantain purພ.

Although indigenous to Southeast Asia, plantains traveled early to India and Africa and proliferated there, before a Spanish Dominican friar brought them to Hispaniola (the island now shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic) in the early 1500s. Plantains quickly adapted to the tropical areas of the Americas. According to Maricel Presilla, author of Gran Cocina Latina, plantains "are an import from the Old World that flourished here [the New World] wherever Africans settled." Mofongo, along with the other plantain mashes, "are the legacy of slavery and the Columbian Exchange," says Presilla.

Amazingly, the plantain isn&apost a root but rather a fruit that in its firm, green, unripe state, cooks up into something resembling a mildly flavored starchy tuber or vegetable, making it ideal for mashing. The plantain resembles its close cousin, the banana, but the fruit is larger, the skin is thicker, and the flesh is only edible when cooked. What makes plantains so versatile𠅊nd one of the reasons why they were adopted so quickly in the Caribbean—is that they can be eaten at every stage, from unripe green fruit to ripe yellow and even black-ripe. As the fruit ripens, the flesh becomes quite sweet.

Because green plantains are so firm, they aren&apost easy to peel, like bananas. In this video, Culinary Institute of America chef Sergio Remolina shows you how to slice off the ends, then cut the peel lengthwise along the visible sectional lines of the plantain, which allows you to remove the skin in big sections𠅋ut expect to expend some energy doing it. He then cuts the plantain into 1-inch sections and fries it slowly in oil so that it cooks through without taking on too much golden color.

Nowadays mofongo can be made with a food processor, but Puerto Rican chefs agree that nothing compares to one made in a traditional pilón, a high-sided wooden mortar with a large blunt pestle. Chef Remolina demonstrates a single portion of mofongo in a small pilón by first pounding the garlic with salt and olive oil until it looks like a creamy aioli, before adding the fried slices of plantain. Then comes the fun: mashing! As you push down on the plantains on one side of the pilón, the mash gets pushed up along the other side of the mortar, ready to be mashed in again. Chicken or other stock is added to lubricate the process and bring moisture to the mixture. Add chicharrónes and bacon to the pilón and keep mashing. A large pilón would allow you to make multiple servings at once.

Mofongo is an absolute indulgence𠅏un to say, fun to make, fun to eat. Top with chopped fresh herbs, like cilantro, or more crushed chicharrónes. It&aposs often served bathed in rich chicken broth, accompanied by rice and beans. Experiment with different ingredients and make mofongo your own.

Recipe Summary

  • 3 large green plantains
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed, or more to taste
  • 1 (3.5 ounce) bag crushed fried pork skins
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 (13.75 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 teaspoons margarine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Peel plantains cut into 1-inch pieces. Heat oil in a skillet add plantains and cook until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking dish reserving oil. Add onion and garlic to the skillet cook and stir until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

Mash plantain in the baking dish, using a fork until the texture resembles corn bread stuffing. Add pork rinds mix in onion-garlic mixture and salt. Pour in broth, dot with 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons margarine, and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

What is Mofongo Made From?

Mel writes, “ At its most basic, mofongo is a side dish made from cooked plantains, crushed chicharrones (or crumbled bacon) garlic, salt, and oil.” There are other variations, but the basic idea remains similar.

Traditionally, the plantains in this dish are deep-fried first. However, in our adaptation, we opted to boil the plantains first, then pan fry them to balance out the macronutrients a bit more.

The finished texture of this mofongo recipe is almost like Thanksgiving stuffing.

How to Make a Healthy Mofongo

If you’re not sure what mofongo is, let us enlighten you. It’s more than just a fun word to say (though it is really fun to say). It’s actually a delicious dish that is common in Puerto Rican cuisine and use plantains as a main ingredient. Essentially this dish is mashed plantains that are then mixed with a variety of fillings such as fish, meat, vegetables, garlic etc. And while it has its roots in the African dish fufu (dough made from boiled starches that were common in ancient African cooking), Puerto Rico claims it as its own by using fried plantains for the base. When several of Puerto Rico’s top chefs were asked what the must-try dish is when visiting Puerto Rico they all answered “mofongo” without hesitation, claiming: “It’s a staple in Puerto Rico…It goes with everything…It’s the traditional flavor of Puerto Rico…The history of it… the way we make it…Nobody does it like we do.”

In terms of how you should serve this dish, you have options, which is part of what makes it so great. According to Epicurious it, “may be served as a starchy side or the base of a protein-laden main course. Chicken, shrimp, and pernil, a.k.a. slow-cooked pork shoulder, are traditional toppers. Hearty and homey, this dish combines the best flavors Puerto Rico has to offer. No wonder it’s a national favorite.” There’s a lot to love about this dish, and it’s certainly a must-try if you’re hoping to get any sort of authentic experience with Puerto Rican culture and cuisine, but there is a potential downside to this dish—it can be really unhealthy. As with so many recipes that taste amazing, the ingredients aren’t exactly good for you. The classic recipe uses a ton of oil (about 2 cups) to fry the plantains, plus pork rinds, which are also fried, and bacon. So far, it’s a lot of flavor but also a lot of calories and fat.

The good news is that you can make this traditional dish with a healthy spin—you just need to make a few substitutions that will add some nutrient-rich ingredients without subtracting any flavor or personality from your mofongo.

Step one: reduce the amount of oil you use. This recipe from José Yanza a participant in the NYC Green Cart Initiative, uses only 2 tablespoons of oil, compared to about 1-2 cups as some recipes recommend. While 2 TBSP seems like a lot less, it actually goes a long way to flash fry the plantains before you mash them. And you use the same pan (and leftover oil) to cook the healthy veggies that you will serve on top, so the result is a dish that is loaded with fresh veggies and nutrients, but still has the garlicky mashed plantains you know and love.

Another tip: swap bacon and chicharron (fried pork rinds) for turkey bacon, so you still get the salty, savory, indulgent flavor of the bacon but in a much healthier version. In addition, this recipe finds a way to skip oil altogether—that’s right, NO OIL. Blasphemy, you might think. But hear us out. Instead of frying the plantains you boil them in a chicken broth that is loaded with flavor. Adobo adds even more oomph to your plantains before you mash them up, and when you mix in that sautéed turkey bacon you will hardly even notice that you skipped the frying phase of preparation. It’s guilt-free and still oh-so-good.

And last but not least, if you want to enjoy the massive heap of flavors without the massive heap of calories that usually comes with this dish, this non-fried version is for you. You don’t even use a sauté pan or skillet for the plantains all you need is an oven. You simply wrap plantains with garlic in aluminum foil and then bake for an hour until the plantains are soft and ready to be mashed. Then cook the shrimp in tomato sauce with onions and garlic, and place on top of the mashed plantains once they are ready. Easy, quick, using minimal oil and zero frying. And the result is so delicious you’ll want to make every single day.


Puerto Rico was invaded by Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s. Puerto Rico wasn't heavily populated at the time, it was inhabited by a native people called Tainos. The Spaniards needed more manpower to settle the island than the Tainos could provide, so they brought in slaves from West Africa. It's said that these slaves introduced fufu to the island, a dish that's similar to mofongo. The Tainos adapted fufu to accommodate their own tastes and available edibles on the island, resulting in mofongo.& nbsp

Mofongo is traditionally made using a pilon to mash the plantains and other ingredients. The pilon is a wooden mortar and pestle dating back to pre-Colombian times. In fact, pilon remnants have been found in excavations of Taino settlements near Ponce, Puerto Rico, southwest of San Juan.

Heat a pot of vegetable oil (about 1 to 1.5" deep) to 350 degrees F. While oil is heating, place bacon on baking sheet and place in preheated oven to 400 degrees F. Cook bacon until crisp, about 8-12 minutes. Take plantains and cut off tops and bottoms, then run your knife down the length of the plantain just enough to cut through the skin, but not the flesh. Take your finger and run it along the slit and remove the peel. Please not that plantains are a little harder to peel than are bananas. Make sure to remove all of the peel.

Cut plantains into 3/4" pieces. Place plantain pieces into hot oil, being careful not to splash hot oil. Do not overload oil, fry plantains in batches, doing about one plantain at a time. Fry plantains until golden brown and they start to float to the surface. Remove from oil to paper towels to drain.

Place plantains in food processor, again do in batches if necessary. If you have a large food processor, you may do this in one batch, otherwise do small batches. Place garlic, salt and margarine into food processor. Crumble bacon and place in food processor. Pulse until mixture starts to form a ball in food processor. Make sure everything is well mixed, pulsing until well mixed.

You may serve this as a side dish to pork chops, chicken of even fish and seafood. You may also serve is a small bowl with a little chicken stock.

Shrimp Mofongo

Chef Evette Rios shows Wendy how to make Shrimp Mofongo and a Passionfruit Mint Mocktail! _ #WendyWilliams #Cooking Follow Wendy See it first.

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