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Dominican Mofongo 101: Everything You Need to Know + Recipe

The typical gastronomy of the Dominican Republic is a festival of flavors and traditions as vibrant and seductive as its people. The influence that cultures as varied as African, Taíno and European have had on Dominican cuisine is evident. Traditional Dominican dishes offer a unique and unmistakable seasoning, with the power to make the most picky palates fall in love.

Mofongo is one of those dishes that represents the Caribbean at its best. Moreover, we dare to affirm that it is a mandatory delicacy for lovers of tourism and good food. Would you like to know more about it? Below we will tell you absolutely everything you need to know about the Dominican mofongo.

Table of Contents

What is the Dominican mofongo?

Mofongo is an exquisite Caribbean dish, which occupies a privileged place in traditional recipes throughout the Dominican Republic. It is a delicious preparation made with green plantains, garlic and pork rinds . Some variations of the same recipe replace the green plantain with ripe plantain, and the chicharrón with chicken, cheese, or shrimp.

In the past, the mofongo plantains used to be roasted using a very particular cooking method: a fire was lit and, after putting it out, the plantains were buried in the hot ashes. Today, however, modern ovens and stoves are much more common tools in this preparation.

The etymological origin of the word “mofongo” is almost as fascinating as the dish itself. Apparently, this term is derived from the Angolan word “mfwenge-mfwenge” (pronounced as “mufungue”). This word contains a very interesting concept, which could be translated as “a large amount of anything or nothing at all.” Likewise, the term “mufuongo” means “to crush”, a very important action during the preparation of this recipe.

Source: @puchorye

Is mofongo an exclusive dish from the Dominican Republic?

Mofongo is a dish with great historical and cultural value within Dominican gastronomy. Having said this, it is important to clarify that this emblematic recipe has been assimilated by different Caribbean nations. In Mexico and Puerto Rico, for example, mofongo is also considered a typical dish.The truth is that, considering the socio-cultural similarities shared by these three nations, this coincidence should not surprise us. Let us remember that most Latin American and Caribbean countries have been exposed to the same external influences. The mofongo is a gastronomic testimony of the miscegenation and multiculturalism typical of these areas of the globe.

Origin of mofongo

Maybe you are wondering “but, after all these, where does the mofongo really come from?” As we know it today, the mofongo has undergone a long process of appropriation and recontextualization. However, it is still possible to identify the representative elements of fufú, a dish originating in West Africa.

The fufú recipe came to the Caribbean from the hands of African citizens who were enslaved by the Spanish colonizers. In the “New World”, these people were forced to perform all kinds of work. Most likely, the fufú preparation was transmitted from African slaves to the original inhabitants of the Caribbean. And in the same way to the homes of the European colonizers.

In Ghana and other regions of West Africa, fufú is often made from tubers, especially yam roots. It is also common to use corn and cocoyame. However, it is natural that plantains are used to prepare mofongo, a species that abounds in the Caribbean tropics.

Traditional Dominican mofongo recipe

Mofongo is a relatively simple dish to prepare, with an intense but well-balanced taste that will earn you more than one compliment. Of course, to taste the authentic Dominican seasoning you would have to visit this paradisiacal island located in the Antilles of the Caribbean. Still, with patience and a little practice you can conjure up a little piece of the Dominican Republic from wherever you are.Below we explain step by step everything you need to know to prepare this exquisite recipe . From the ingredients that you will be using to a couple of tricks to succeed in the kitchen. What are you waiting for to delight your loved ones with this exotic dish?

Ingredients

For the mofongo

  • 4 green bananas
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 pound pork rind
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ of salt

For the broth that accompanies it

  • 1 pound beef bone
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 sprig of coriander
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch of oregano
Source: @chefjames

Preparation

Of the broth

Place a cauldron on the stove over medium heat and pour the olive oil into it. Next, add the beef bones and proceed to seal them . The meat should acquire a pleasant golden color without burning. At this point, add the garlic and onion and mix with encircling movements so that they are properly incorporated into the meat. Lastly, add 4 cups of water along with the cilantro and oregano.

Let all the ingredients cook on low flame for an hour. Every so often, add a little more water to keep the same level. Add salt to taste and, once the broth is ready, strain it to separate it from the solids. The bottom of your mofongos is ready!

Of the mofongo

First, wrap the unpeeled plantains in aluminum foil. After this, bake them in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes. You can also cook them in an air fryer at a temperature of 175ºC.

While you wait for the plantains to be ready, pour the olive oil into a skillet and heat it over low heat. Next, add the garlic and a pinch of salt, cover the pan and let the mixture cook for 10 minutes. Of course, stir from time to time to make sure that the garlic does not char or acquire a dark hue. Once ready, save it for later.

When the time comes, take the plantains out of the oven and allow them to cool slightly before peeling them. After removing its outer cover, mash each plantain one by one in a pestle or mortar, adding the garlic oil that you prepared together with the pork rinds. Try to distribute the oil and pork rinds evenly, adding ¼ of each to each plantain.

To finish, shape the mashed banana into a dome and serve each portion in a deep plate. Finally, moisten the portions of mofongo with the broth that you prepared before and to enjoy it has been said. Enjoy!

Source: @mofongoelmocano

3 alternative recipes

Mofongo is a super versatile dish, which makes it a perfect candidate for experimentation. If you visit the Dominican Republic, you will soon realize that there is an infinite variety of alternative recipes for this delicacy. Below we share three of the most popular mofongo recipes throughout the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean.

Cassava mofongo

Photo by Arturo Feliz-Camilo, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Compared to the green plantain mofongo, the cassava mofongo is little known. However, the charm of this gastronomic reinterpretation is undeniable. Fried yucca, garlic and chicharrón make a perfect trio, a simply exquisite game of flavors and textures. The cassava mofongo has a crunchy element and a creamy element , with an irresistible seasoning through and through. Accompanied with cheddar cheese sauce and some notes of fresh chives, this dish will taste like heaven. Would you like to prepare it at home? Below we share all the details about this recipe.

Source: @mofongoelmocano

Ingredients

For the cassava mofongo
  • 1 kilogram of cassava
  • 2 ½ cups of oil to fry
  • 1 cup of chopped pork rinds
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
For the cheddar cheese dressing
  • 55 grams of cheddar cheese
  • 237 milliliters of milk
  • ½ tablespoon all purpose wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 teaspoons chopped chives (leeks)

Preparation

Of the mofongo

First peel, wash and cut the yucca into small pieces (approximately 2.5 centimeter or 1 inch cubes). In this way the yucca will cook evenly and you will get it to be much more crispy. Place the cassava in a glass container and cover it with drinking water. Add a pinch of salt, mix and let it rest for 30 minutes or 1 hour.

After the time has elapsed, strain the cassava pieces and leave them on a paper towel for at least 10 minutes. This way you will avoid oil splashes and possible burns. Next, fry the yucca over medium-high heat in a small pot for 5 to 7 minutes . Try not to let the yucca cubes touch each other so they don’t stick together and brown properly.Once the cassava is ready, let it rest on another paper towel so that it absorbs the excess oil. Finally, in a pestle or mortar, crush the garlic, pork rinds and cassava in equal amounts until you get a uniform mass. Repeat this process as many times as necessary with the rest of the cassava, garlic and chicharrón. Finally, shape each portion of mofongo into a dome or semi-sphere and serve on separate plates.

Of the cheddar cheese dressing

Heat the butter over medium-low heat in a small saucepan and wait until it melts. Next, add the flour and mix both ingredients with energetic and enveloping movements. When the butter turns a little darker, add the milk and stir well, making sure to dissolve any clumps. Finally, add the already grated cheddar cheese and keep stirring until it melts.

Turn off the stove and moisten your mofongo portions with the dressing, sprinkling a few bits of chives on top for decoration. To eat!

Ripe plantain mofongo

Another succulent mofongo recipe is ripe plantain mofongo, a slightly more colorful variation on this traditional dish. The sweetness of the ripe plantain gives this mofongo a truly delicious contrast. If we add a spicy chicken filling to this and decorate it with avocado mayonnaise, the result is incredible.

Maduro plantain mofongo puts a fun twist on this popular Dominican recipe. Do you want to surprise your loved ones with your culinary skills? This is the perfect delicacy for a family meal or a gathering with friends. Below we teach you how to prepare it.

Source: @gustaninird

Ingredients

For the ripe plantain mofongo
  • 3 units of ripe banana
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of any hot sauce
For the chicken filling
  • 0.8 kilograms of chicken breast (about 1.8 pounds, which would equal about 4 breasts)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 sprigs of parsley
  • ½ teaspoon ground oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon unground pepper
For the avocado mayonnaise
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ¼ cup avocado oil
  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt

Preparation

Of the chicken filling

In a pot, place the chicken breasts, the red onion in half, the garlic cloves, the pepper and the oregano. Also add a pinch of salt and enough water to cover the breasts. Then cover and let it boil for 20 to 30 minutes, renewing the water to prevent it from drying out . Once the time has passed, strain the chicken and proceed to shred.

Place a skillet on the stove over medium heat and pour the oil into it. Next, add the shredded chicken, add the tomato sauce and stir for about 3 minutes. Also add the hot sauce, parsley and a pinch of salt. Cook a few more minutes and turn off the stove. Ready!

Of the avocado mayonnaise

Peel the avocados and cut them into small pieces. Then put them in the blender along with the garlic, vinegar, oil and mustard. Don’t forget to add a pinch of salt to the mix! Finally, all you have to do is blend until you get a homogeneous mixture.The ideal is to serve the mayonnaise immediately . However, you can also pour it into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate it. To prevent it from oxidizing, you can place a piece of plastic wrap touching the mayonnaise before closing the jar. In this way, the dressing will not come into direct contact with the air.

Of the mofongo

Remove the peel from the bananas and cut them into halves. Next, place them in a medium saucepan, cover them with water and add a teaspoon of salt. Let them cook for 15 minutes and strain them. At this point, gently crush the bananas until they form a more or less uniform mass .

Using a little oil, grease eight nonstick cupcake pans. Then fill each mold with a portion of mofongo, grease your hand with oil, and use it to press the mashed plantain into a cup shape. Take the molds to the toaster oven or a conventional oven preheated to the maximum temperature. Wait for the mofongo to brown, which shouldn’t take too long.

Once they have browned, take the mofongos out of the oven and add the cheese first and then the chicken filling. Finally, put them in the oven for 5 more minutes to heat the filling. Now all that remains is to unmold, serve and decorate the mofongos with a few touches of your avocado mayonnaise.

Mofongo stuffed with shrimp

The mofongo, popularly known as “camarofongo”, is one of the variants of mofongo most celebrated by diners. That is why we have left it for last, to close with a flourish. The preparation of this dish is quite similar to that of the traditional mofongo. However, the stewed shrimp sauce certainly elevates its flavor . Let us tell you how it is cooked.

Source: @mofongoelmocano

Ingredients

For the base of the mofongo
  • 4 units of green banana
  • 2 tablespoons crushed garlic
  • 1 cup of frying oil
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
For the shrimp stew
  • 1 pound shrimp
  • 4 large tomatoes or 1 dozen cherry tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 bell peppers
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt

Preparation

Of the stew

Pour the oil into a skillet and heat over low heat, then add the already chopped tomatoes, peppers and garlic. Next, add the tomato sauce and 1 cup of water. Stir and let the sauce cook for about 10 or 15 minutes . Finally, add the shrimp and wait for them to turn a bright pink color. Season with salt and pepper and walá! Ready the stew.

Of the mofongo

Peel the plantains and cut them into slices, heat the oil in a cauldron over medium heat and fry the plantains until golden. This should take 3-5 minutes. Once ready, take them out and place them on a paper towel to remove excess fat.

Meanwhile, pour three tablespoons of oil in a pan and sauté the garlic with a pinch of salt for a couple of minutes. Now, with the help of a pylon, mash the bananas with the garlic oil until you get a uniform dough. Finally, divide the mofongo into small dome-shaped portions and serve in bowls.The shrimp stew can be incorporated around each mofongo or on a separate plate . You can also shape several cups with the mofongo and fill them with this delicious sauce.

Video tutorials

Do you learn better by watching than by reading? We understand you perfectly! For this reason, we have compiled for you a series of YouTube channels and videos that will help you master the art of mofongo.

Last but not least, the Dominican Mofongo Recipe offered by El Sazón de Mika does not disappoint.

Conclusion

The gastronomic treasures of the Dominican Republic are as valuable as the diversity and splendor of its beaches. The Dominican Republic is not only a paradisiacal destination, but also a bastion of Caribbean culture. At YourDomicanGuide we could not waste a single opportunity to share the charm of our island with our users. Did you like these mofongo recipes? Are you planning a trip to the Dominican Republic? Below, in the Related Articles section, you will find a link to an article with the best Dominican restaurants to taste a good mofongo. You can also take a look at our Food and Drinks section or start planning your trip with the help of our Questionnaire . Thanks for reading us!

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