Mofongo is a Puerto Rican dish made with fried and smashed plantains. It is related to the West African staple starch dish called Fufu, originally made with yuca; slaves sent to the Caribbean originally brought this dish across the Atlantic.
Fufu made it into several Caribbean cuisines, with varying levels of alteration. In Cuba, it is known as Fufu de Platano, and in the Dominican Republic it carries the name Mangú. In Puerto Rico, it is almost always made with plantains, but yuca and breadfruit variations exist. The plantains are typically smashed using a wooden mortar and pestle called a pilon, and sometimes served directly in the pilon. My stone mortar and pestle gets the job done nicely.
There are many ways to enjoy Mofongo. It is often dipped in chicken broth or a sauce made with mayonnaise and ketchup (aptly called “mayoketchup”), or served with a tomato-based sauce and grilled or sautéed shrimp. Personally, I enjoy it plain, as a simple starchy side dish, which is what you’ll find in this week’s recipe.
Mofongo (Gluten Free, Paleo, Primal, Whole30)
1/4 cup lard or coconut oil for frying
4 green plantains, peeled and cut into 1/2″ slices
4 cloves garlic, divided
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 cup pork rinds (with skin) or cooked bacon pieces, divided
1 tsp salt, divided, more to taste
1. Heat the oil or lard in a skillet over medium heat. Fry the plantains, in batches, until golden but before they brown, about 3 minutes per side (flip once). Set on paper towels or a cooling rack until slightly cool, about 5 minutes.
2. In a mortar or pilon, add 2 cloves of garlic and half the olive oil. Smash the garlic with a pestle, then add in some plantain pieces and mash into the oil and garlic. Continue adding and lightly smashing the plantains until half of them are in the mortar/pilon, adding pinches of salt as you go. Be careful not to overmash the plantains – they should retain their texture slightly.
3. Add in the pork rinds or bacon and gently mash into the Mofongo. Taste for salt and add more if needed.
4. Continue the same steps for the other two plantains. Form the Mofongo into mounds and serve.
** Definitely scale the steps depending on how big your mortar/pilon is. If you have a really large mortar and pestle, you might be able to knock out all four plantains in one go.
** If the Mofongo tastes a little dry, simply mash in some more olive oil. Some people like to add in chicken broth. Go for it.
** Sometimes Mofongo is served with shrimp or meat directly on top of it, and it bears the name Mofongo Relleno.