The mofongo recipe has always been one of the culinary specialties in the Caribbean. The dish basically consists of fried green plantains squashed with garlic using a “pilon” also known as a mortar and pestle. In many instances it can also be filled with seafood, chicken, vegetables and beef.
Mofongo is well known in the Dominican Republic and is a must for any visitor to eat it at least once; the country is not the only island in the Caribbean claiming to be its first creator.
The origins of the dish have been debated for many years, some believe the Dominicans are the inventors while others are certain that it is a Puerto Rican dish.
2 green plantains
1 clove crushed garlic (use a garlic press if possible)
salt to taste
canola oil (or any vegetable oil at your kitchen)
Cut both ends of the green plantains with a knife.
Make a superficial line with a butter knife only cutting the skin (not the inside) from the top to the end of the whole plantain.
Open the kitchen faucet just a little bit and with your
hands carefully peel them off. Using a butter knife can make it way
easier in the process of peeling.
After peeling each plantain, for this mofongo recipe, immediately put them in a container filled with water. Green plantains tend to get darker after being peeled but is not a big deal.
When finished all of the peeling then take the green plantains out of the container and dry them with a paper towel or a kitchen towel.
Cut the green plantains in approximately ½ inch slices and set them on a spare plate.
In a frying pan pour the oil up to half of its height or enough to cover the slices and put the stove in medium heat for about 2 minutes.
With a slotted spatula put the slices on the pan without overcrowding them.
Lower the heat and fry for about 3 to 5 minutes until golden yet tender (not hard).
When all the slices are cooked set them aside in a plate.
In a small container pour 1/4 cup of oil and add the crushed garlic. Mix them well with a spoon.
Using a wooden mortar and pestle (or pilon) start mashing the green plantain slices and with a spoon begin pouring a little bit of the oil mixture.
After that "batch" is completely mashed then (with a spoon, fork or your hand) take a small bite and add some salt to taste. Optionally you can add some home cooked crumbled turkey bacon pieces.
Put the mofongo on the plate that you will be serving it
on, trying to keep the form.
Tip: You can use a container or cookie cutter for making the desired round shape and with a kitchen cloth clean any unwanted mess.
Wondering if you can reheat mofongo? It should be done in the stove or an oven (either conventional or toaster). If you reheat it in the microwave the texture will change and it won't taste as it should.
In conclusion is practically impossible to be absolutely sure in which island the mofongo appeared first, since both places (the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico) share basically the same ancestry. There is some evidence that it has its roots in the African cooking. The fufu is an African recipe quite similar to the one of mofongo only with some slight differences. In the fufu some yams, cassava and sweet potatoes are the main elements instead of plantain, which is the ingredient used in the Caribbean islands.