Mangu a delicious popular Dominican style breakfast
What is Mangu you may ask, it’s simple: Mangú is made up of mashed boiled green plantains.
Plantains are to Dominicans what apple pie is to Americans. Plantains are so much a part of the culture that many a Dominican-American refers to himself as “plátano”.
Dominicans will attest, the most important step is to mash the cooked, tender plantains with ice cold water, not hot or warm water. It’s a technique that’s been passed down through generations, even though no one can explain exactly why it makes such a difference. But all insist it mysteriously loosens the plantain’s starches, keeps the mash from hardening and ensures a creamy texture.
Mangú is considered the official breakfast of “the D.R.” (as the island is affectionately called by most Dominican Americans.) The humble dish of boiled plantains laced with creamy butter or silky olive oil and accompanied by any number of hearty, savory sides, was brought to the island by West African slaves during Spanish colonial times. Indeed, neighboring Caribbean nations, where West Africans also were present, have similar spins on the dish. In Puerto Rico, there’s mofongo, in which plantains are first fried, then mashed and served with a thick gravy-like broth; in Cuba, there’s fufú, which calls for plantains to be boiled then mashed with loads of garlic, onions and pork rinds.
4 to 5 large green plantains, peeled, brown spots and blemishes scraped off, cut in half, halves sliced down the middle lengthwise
3 tablespoons butter
¾ cup ice-cold water, divided
1 small red onion, cut into ¼ inch slices
¼ cup white vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Place the sliced plantains in a large caldero or Dutch oven. Cover with water by one inch. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and cook over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue simmering, adding water as needed so the plantains remain submerged. Cook until plantains are fork tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the onions. In a small bowl, place the onions and mix in the vinegar, salt and sugar. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. In a small sauté pan, over medium-low heat, cook the onions and vinegar mixture in the olive oil until translucent, being careful not to brown. Set aside in a bowl.
2. Drain the plantains. Immediately place the plantains in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and mash together, using a fork or potato masher, until the butter in melted and well incorporated. Add ½ cup of the ice-cold water and continue mashing, until the mixture soft and creamy but with small chunks remaining. If it is too dry, add remaining ¼ cup of cold water.
3. To serve, place a heaping mound of the mangú in the center of a plate and top with the sautéed onions. Serve alongside fried eggs, cheese and/or salami.
Eggs, fried over easy
Salami (try this Dominican-style one), cut in ½-inch thick slices, and lightly sautéed
Mexican or Caribbean queso para freir (if unavailable, you can substitute with halloumi cheese), cut in ½-inch slices and fried according to package instructions