Mofongo – History of a Puerto Rican Classic

Feature photo by Jing a Ling

Mofongo (or fufu for us Cubans), is a dish that is usually made from boiled or fried, pulverized, unripe plantains, though it is not uncommon to see it made with yuca. This starchy goodness serves as a base for which to add a variety of veggies and proteins. Popular ingredients include garlic, prawns, lobster, and bacon. This classic dish is popular comfort food for Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean countries.

The history of this dish is older than the slave trade that brought it to this part of the world. Originally from Western and Central Africa, the dish was made from pulverising any starchy plant. Yuca, plantain, yam, and cassava were often used. The consistency was like that of porridge. The food moved with the people forcefully pulled from their country, and even then preserved their culture. Below is a recipe to help you make this traditional Puerto Rican dish.

(Plaintains with Pork Rinds)
3 green plaintains
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb. Crisp fried pork rinds
4 cups water
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
Optional: fried bacon, lard or vegetable oil

1. Peel plaintains. Cut into one inch slices. Soak for 15 minutes in salt and water. Drain well.
2. Heat fat or oil(350 degrees if you are using a deep fryer). Add plaintain slices and fry for 15 minutes but do not brown. Drain on paper towel.
3. In a mortar(for pounding), crush garlic cloves and sprinkle with salt, add olive oil to the mixture and keep pounding.
4. Crush a portion of the fried plaintains slices and the pork. Add some of the garlic and olive oil mixture and keep pounding.
5. Spoon the mixture and shape into two inch balls. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you use all the ingredients.
6.Place in oven pan and keep warm until you are ready to serve.

Suggestions: Prepare chicken broth and pour over mofongo, so it will be juicy. Enjoy

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