Two Ways to Make Mofongo
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Two Ways to Make Mofongo

Two ways to make this classic Caribbean dish, baked and fried!

Feb 22, 2024

By: Franchesca Livraghi | @breakthrukitchen

Mofongo is a traditional Puerto Rican recipe that comes together in under an hour with just a handful of ingredients! Preparing mofongo is simply done by mashing green, unripe plantains with seasonings like Loisa's Recaito and Organic Adobo, along with meat and butter. The dish is commonly served with chicharrones (crispy pork cracklings) or camarones guisados (shrimp stew). Although mofongo is a dish originating in the Caribbean, we have our African ancestors to thank for its inspiration. 

African History and Mofongo

Mofongo finds its roots in West Africa, particularly in a dish called fufu, which is a staple there. Fufu is made by boiling starchy vegetables like cassava, yams, or plantains and mashing them into a smooth consistency, and is served with soups or stews. Enslaved Africans in the Caribbean drew inspiration from fufu when they created mofongo. Instead of boiling, they fried or baked green, unripe plantains before mashing them.

While mofongo shares similarities with fufu in preparation and texture, it has its own unique taste, reflecting the creativity and cultural blend of the African diaspora in the Caribbean.

Mofongo in mortar y pestle with Recaito

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Vibrant Caribbean flavors. Dishes like this bring classic flavors that feel nostalgic for those of us who grew up enjoying mofongo at the dinner table with our familia.
  • Minimal ingredients. With just a handful of simple and readily available ingredients, this recipe makes it easy to recreate the authentic flavors of Caribbean cuisine in your own kitchen. No need for a long shopping list or complicated preparations.
  • Easy technique. Whether you've made mofongo before or not, the straightforward technique used in this recipe ensures that anyone can achieve delicious results with minimal effort.

    Fried vs. Baked Mofongo

    Mofongo can be made in both the fryer and in the oven. The main differences between fried and baked mofongo are:

  • Texture. Fried mofongo has a crispier exterior from the frying process, while baked mofongo has a softer texture overall.
  • Cooking time. Fried mofongo typically cooks faster than baked mofongo, as frying allows for quicker cooking and caramelization of the plantains.
  • Flavor. Fried mofongo often has a richer, more intense flavor due to the caramelization that occurs during frying, whereas baked mofongo may have a milder flavor profile.
  • Oil content. Fried mofongo requires more oil for frying, contributing to its crispy texture and richer flavor, while baked mofongo uses less oil, resulting in a lighter dish. Baked mofongo is also generally perceived as a healthier option compared to fried mofongo, since it contains less oil and is cooked in the oven.
  • Two different types of mofongo on plate 

    Recipe tips and tricks for mofongo

  • Use a skimmer. Loisa’s Skimmer helps make scooping those fried plantain slices from the frying pan super easy and seamless!
  • Choose the right plantains. Opt for green, unripe plantains for frying. They offer a firmer texture and less sweetness, which is ideal for mofongo.
  • Even slicing. Try to slice the plantains into evenly sized pieces to ensure they cook at the same rate.
  • Mash the plantains while hot. For the best texture, mash the plantains while they are still hot to achieve a smoother consistency in your mofongo.

  • Common Preguntas

    Can I make mofongo without a mortar and pestle?

    Using a mortar and pestle is the traditional way of preparing mofongo and will get you the best results. In my experience, Loisa’s granite mortar and pestle helps make the process extra smooth. But if you don't have a mortar and pestle on hand, I recommend using a food processor as an alternative. However, be mindful not to over process the mixture, or it can become too mushy and ruin the texture of the mofongo.

    Can I use ripe plantains instead of green ones?

    Green plantains are preferred for making mofongo because of their firmer texture and lower sugar content, resulting in a less sweet and more savory mofongo. However, you can mix things up and make mofongo with a combination of ripe and unripe plantains for a flavorful combo. The texture will be different from traditional mofongo, and I suggest you add any broth or butter to the mixture slowly to prevent it from becoming too soft.

    Should I use butter, oil, or broth to make mofongo?

    This is the most highly debated question when it comes to mofongo! I prefer to use room temperature butter in the classic fried mofongo recipe because it adds richness and texture, but you can substitute for oil if you prefer. You could also use chicken or beef broth for a lighter option, which is what I opted for in the baked mofongo recipe.

    Can I make mofongo with no oil?

    Yes, you can make mofongo with no oil by using the baked mofongo recipe and omitting the oil when baking the plantain slices. This will result in a healthier, lighter alternative to mofongo that’s a perfect weekday lunch option.

    Can I use the air fryer to bake mofongo?

    Yes, the air fryer will work great to cook the plantain slices for mofongo. The air fryer will also create some delicious caramelization that you wouldn’t really get using the oven method.

    What are some common toppings for mofongo?

    Traditional toppings for mofongo include mojo sauce, crispy pork cracklings (chicharrones), cheese sauce, bacon, pork rinds, avocado, and pickled onion.

    What kind of meat can I mix into my mofongo?

    You can mix any kind of meat into your mofongo. Some popular options include crispy pork cracklings (chicharrones), shredded or diced pork, bacon bits, chorizo, shredded chicken, ground beef, or even seafood such as shrimp or lobster.

    What do I serve with mofongo?

    Traditional Caribbean dishes like stewed meats or fish pair perfectly with mofongo. You can also opt for lighter options like grilled fish or salad.

    How do I store mofongo?

    To store mofongo, let it cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. For longer storage, freeze individual portions on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer bag or container for up to 2-3 months. Reheat in the microwave or oven when ready to enjoy.