Mangú is a staple food of the Dominican Republic, and often served with breakfast. It is a signature element of los tres golpes (“the three hits”), served alongside fried eggs, fried cheese (specifically, a firm, salty cheese called queso para freir), and salami or longaniza (a dry-cured sausage not unlike chorizo).
There are two ideas as to the origin of Mangú. The first, and likely more accurate, story is that the dish and name are both byproducts of the Dominican slave trade. But there also exists a popular folk tale, in which this dish of mashed plantains was served to American soldiers during the American occupation of the country in the early 20th century, and that one of the dining soldiers exclaimed, “Man, good!”, and the rest is history.
Regardless of its etymology, there’s no denying that Mangú is an excellent way to start (or end) your day – it’s equal parts hearty starch and tropical comfort food – all topped with pickled red onions for a bit of extra zing.
Mangú - Dominican Mashed Plantains (Gluten-free, Paleo, Primal, Whole30, Vegan, Vegetarian)
1. To start, make your pickled onions. In a skillet, warm 2 tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until just softened, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat, stir in the vinegar, then salt to taste; set aside to allow the flavors to marry.
2. Place the plantains in a saucepan and add enough water to cover the plantains by 1″. Generously salt the water, then bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium; boil until very tender (easily pierced with a fork), about 10 minutes. Remove the plantains with a slotted spoon then transfer to a mixing bowl, reserving the liquid you boiled them in. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to the plantains. With a fork, mash the the plantains into a consistency of smooth but thick mashed potatoes, add in spoonfuls of the liquid you boiled the plantains in to keep the plantains from becoming crumbly; salt to taste.
3. Serve topped with the pickled onions, as a side dish to accompany fried eggs, avocado, fried cheese, and/or fried salami.
Note: In the year leading up to my new cookbook’s release, I will be regularly releasing these recipes to 1) maintain a continuing conversation with my readership and 2) give visitors to this site an opportunity to test and provide feedback before editing. For more information on this new approach, read my post here.