Here we present a simple plantain recipe which we consider is typical Dominican 'Mangu', a dish that is dear to our hearts. For a real taste of dominican cuisine we hope you give this mangu recipe a try soon:
4 fresh young green Plantain (Platano)A good pinch salt per plantain5 fluid ounces of water3 fluid ounces of milk4 ounces/125 grams stick of butterSalt and pepper
NOTE: In this plantain recipe we assume that a cup holds 5 fluid ounces if this helps you calculate what you need.
Back at home we enjoy 'mangu' regularly as the basic carbohydrate component for a variety of meals, and especially when we are having a 'full Dominican breakfast'.
For many parts of the world it is perhaps more likely that ‘mashed potato’ is eaten, but we think this simple plantain recipe, which is raelly a regional variation of ‘mash’ using fresh young plantain, or even young green bananas, is even better!
Taking the green plantain, remove the outer peel with a sharp knife and slice the ‘banana-like’ fruits into chunks, say, 2 inches/10 centimeters (cm) long.
Put the pieces in a good sized pan that allows the plantain to be covered with water and leaves some space for safety, as they will be boiled for quite a while.
Season the water with a good pinch of salt per plantain used.
Bring the pan to the boil and simmer for at least 15-20 minutes stirring just occasionally to ensure the plantain pieces are evenly cooked to a softness that is evident when they can be easily pierced by a fork or knife. Cook the plantain for a little longer if you feel it is necessary.
Put a colander/sieve over a large bowl and drain the plantain, reserving the cooking liquor.
Put the plantain in another bowl and mash well, using a potato masher, or even the flat bottom of a strong, tall glass, or bottle. You may find that you need to work quite fast as the plantain mash will stiffen up considerably as it cools.
Work in the cup of water, taken from the cooking liquor as you continue to mash the plantain to a smooth consistency. You can also stir the milk (which should be warmed through to keep the mangu warm and aid mixing) to make the mash more creamy.
Cut the butter into ½ inch/1 cm cubes (it is easiest to do this if it comes straight from the fridge) and add it to the mash. You can use another oil of your choice...but we think for the best flavor it has to be butter. Blend it into the mash with a wooden spoon until the mash is perfectly smooth and has a creamy texture.
Season the mangu with salt to your taste…and the mash is ready to eat! You might also like to add a grinding of black pepper to this plantain recipe, although this is not so commonly used in the Dominican Republic.
Mangu is ideally served with a rich onion based ‘sauce’ called ‘Escabeche’ the recipe for which you can find HERE (web site editor's note: 24/08/05 link coming soon). Then when you served it a sprinkle of parmesan cheese is the perfect finishing touch!
This plantain recipe is very commonly used as part of a typical Dominican breakfast. You will often find hotels and households serving mangu alongside other breakfast items such as fried eggs, fried salchichon (Dominican sausage), fried salami and even fried cheese! So when you visit the Dominican Republic you may be surprised to see that most Dominicans are actually quite slim considering their great love of fried foods to start the day!!
You will have noticed that we call the plantain recipe outlined above a ‘basic recipe for mangu’. This is because it is possible to enrich it or make it a more ‘up-market’ product by adding grated cheese to the mix whilst making the mash. Some people also like to add ‘lardons’ (small strips) of fried bacon (along with the tasty fat rendered from the meat whilst frying!!) to add even more flavor...and plenty more calories too!!!
We hope you enjoy inventing your own variations on this basic recipe for mangu! And if our recipe pages have inspired you to plan a vacation to the Dominican Republic to try the real thing, be sure to look at our 'Mother' site for lots of great tips and free travel advice for visitors to the Dominican Republic today.
‘El Jefe de Cocina Dominicana’
(Copyright www.dominican-foods.com (2005) - Basic mangu recipe)