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 It is related to the West African staple starch dish called Fufu, originally made with yuca; slaves sent to the Caribbean originally brought this dish across the Atlantic.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.
25 thoughts on “Mofongo”
So exciting to see you post this! I’ve visited Puerto Rico a few times, and just recently returned. A new trend in Puerto Rico is Yucca Mofongo. It is very moist yet has the crispy texture from the frying. Typically, they add chicharron (cooked pork belly) to their Mofongo which is delicious but I’ve found it difficult to find whole pork belly. My favorite way of having Mofongo is Mofongo de Yucca con Camarones Al Ajillo – Yucca Mofongo with garlic shrimp. Simply AMAZING! If you ever go, be sure to stop by Raices Restaurant and order theirs. Delicious!! If you can’t make it to Puerto Rico but are close to San Antonio, Texas, La Marginal also makes an excellent version! Thanks again for the post :)
I love mofongo and plantains. I really like how diverse your cooking style is. I also cook a lot with yuca. Have you seen pictures of people making mofongo with those huge pilones? I like to do mine with chicken. This is beautiful.
I have always wanted to try making this – thank you for sharing your recipe!
I love plantains! I can’t wait to try this recipe!
D’Oh! I got excited when I saw this because I happen to have some plantains at home, but at this point they are long-past green. Suppose I’ll have to pick up some fresh ones…
– Dennis, Life Fermented Blog
I’ve never heard of or tried this. Looks like an interesting alternative to mash.
Nice! I keep seeing the plantains in the grocery store and knowing I should probably pick some up for a regular does of resistant starch but for some reason I never remember to look up a recipe before hand so I just hold off “until next time”. This looks absolutely perfect. I’m picking some up next time I’m at the store.
The first time I tried mofongo, in San Juan, I fell in love with it. The one I ordered came with shrimp. Thanks for the recipe!
I am happy you posted about Mofongo, brought me real tears of joy remembering my childhood back in Puerto Rico. Thank you
Where do you buy quality pork rinds??
Just my 2 cents, but I think your best bet is to make them yourself. You could also try us wellness, they’re the only decent source I’ve seen them from, but I haven’t tried them.
We have a local resource (Red Apron Butcher) in the DC area, and we like US Wellness Meats pork rinds too.
This looks so yummy. Nigerian fufu sees many incarnations all over Africa especially using ground maize meal….. But nothing beats plantain! Thanks for sharing this :)
Do you have an email address that I can use to contact you?
Oh be still my Puerto Rican heart! LOVE mofongo. And that you posted a recipe! It’s pretty much the national dish of PR and comfort food for the soul. We always had it topped with chicken broth and fried chicken chunks (chicharrones de pollo). Some lime juice is also great.
I am Puerto RIcan and have started following the paleo diet super recently. I was mourning all of my Puerto Rican dishes already so you have no idea how happy I am to find the staple of Puerto Rican cuisine as paleo friendly! Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Actually in the DR, mofongo and mangu are different things. Mangu is usually eaten for breakfast and is usually just mashed with butter, olive oil, or bacon fat while mofongo is a dish itself, where things like chicharrones, chicken, shrimp, crab, cheese are incorporated. My grandfather was from there, so I know. :-)
This was so good! I sadly don’t own a grinder so I made a potato masher work. I made a sauce with mayo and homemade salsa (tomato, roasted bell pepper, onion, cilantro,seasoning) and it tasted like the real deal!