How to Make Mofongo

how to make mofongo

Mofongo is of Puerto Rico’s signature dishes.  It can be found in every corner of the island, from the humblest cafeteria to white tablecloth establishments.  This mash is traditionally prepared with green plantains, garlic, pork cracklings, and olive oil.  Although versions that feature ripe plantain, yuca, breadfruit or some combination of these are becoming more popular, the classic version will always be green plantain.  Plantains were brought over from Africa during the 16th century and were a staple of the slaves’ diet.  The mofongo we know today evolved from fufú, a root vegetable mash also from African origin.

Mofongo can be served as a side dish (like the dome in the picture) or stuffed with different stewed meats, chicken or seafood as a main meal.

Mofongo stuffed with shredded beef from Casajú – Juncos

How I Make Mofongo

Although there are many guides and recipes for making mofongo, it is one of those dishes where you have to know what you like.  Drier or ‘creamier’? A little chicharrón or a lot?  Depending on what you are eating, you’ll want to have a drier mofongo to sop up sauces and stews.  If you are eating mofongo with fried pork chunks or roast chicken, you might want to mix in more oil, stock or drippings from whatever you are cooking.

Here are some of my guidelines for making mofongo at home

  • Check your hardware first.  Ideally, mofongo is made using a large wood mortar and pestle  – a pilón.  Traditional Puerto Rican pilones are made with guayacán, a native hardwood.  If you don’t have a pilón or mortar and pestle you can improvise with a metal bowl and a one-piece rolling pin, a meat tenderizer or even a bottle of wine.   Potato mashers do not work for breaking through the fried plantain chunks.
  • If I am serving mofongo as a side dish, I plan on using one full plantain per person.  If the mofongo will be part of the main course (mofongo relleno), it takes plantain and a half or two.
  • I use about half a clove of garlic per side dish mofongo and a full clove for a meal sized one.  To ensure the garlic is evenly distributed and no one bites into a huge piece, I use a garlic press to mince it.  I don’t mind raw garlic, but for the people that do, it is best to infuse the oil or fat for mashing with it.
  • Unlike tostones, which require two fast frying periods over high temperature oil, plantain chunks for mofongo need to fry for ten to fifteen minutes over moderate heat.  I always test one of the larger plantain chunks for doneness around the 12 minute mark by cutting the plantain in half and then crosswise.  I hate biting into a mofongo and finding raw plantain chunks!
  • I can’t say precisely how much oil goes into mofongo for mashing.  A rule of thumb is to keep a quarter cup of olive oil at hand for each individual sized one.  I pour in a tablespoon oil for the first mash and keep adding a little until the chunks can be plied into the dome shape.  Don’t want to use that much oil?  Swap a couple of tablespoons for chicken stock.  Don’t add too much stock, or you will end up with something closer to Dominican mangú.
  • Regular pork rinds are perfectly appropriate for making mofongo at home but some people substitute crisp, crumbled bacon. I like the crunch and salty kick of the chicharrón better.

how to make mofongo

how to make mofongo

Plantain chunks checked for doneness. The color is uniform on the inside and outside.

 

Green Plantain Mofongo
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Basic green plantain mofongo. The recipe ingredients yield enough mofongo for two side portions. Adjust the oil or stock
Servings Prep Time
2side dish portions 15minutes
Cook Time
15minutes
Servings Prep Time
2side dish portions 15minutes
Cook Time
15minutes
Green Plantain Mofongo
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Basic green plantain mofongo. The recipe ingredients yield enough mofongo for two side portions. Adjust the oil or stock
Servings Prep Time
2side dish portions 15minutes
Cook Time
15minutes
Servings Prep Time
2side dish portions 15minutes
Cook Time
15minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Slice the ends of each plantain. Run a knife through the peel lengthwise for each of the plantains sides. Remove each slice of peel and shave off any remaining peel with a paring knife. Slice the plantain into 1" rounds.
  2. In a large frying or sauté pan with high sides, heat canola or grapeseed oil over medium high heat. Add the plantain slices, ensuring these are covered with oil. Fry at 300˚F for 10-15 minutes, or until fully cooked inside. Drain on paper towels.
  3. Place on the mortar a piece of pork rind in the bottom, 4 plantain rounds, a pinch of the minced garlic, and a pinch of salt. Douse with a tablespoon of olive oil. Mash with the pestle until the plantain breaks up. If the mixture is still not fully incorporated, move into a bowl. Mash a second batch of plantain rounds, pork rind, garlic and salt until mostly incorporated. Add back the first batch from the bowl, and mash with extra oil or stock until a well mashed dome can be spooned out of the mortar.
  4. Repeat step #3 for the second mofongo ball. Serve immediately.

 

How to make mofongo

Homemade chicken longaniza stuffed mofongo from Casita Miramar in San Juan

Got more questions on how to make mofongo?  Leave a comment or head out to our Facebook and Twitter.  Or better yet, go out and try some mofongo!  Figuring out what you like is the most important step for making delicious mofongo at home.

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Author:Adriana

Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

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