Soulgood's vegan chef, Chef Cynthia, traveled to Puerto Rico to explore post hurricane and pandemic recovery efforts and discover restaurants that serve traditional fare for the plant-based traveler.
I recently took a trip to one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Puerto Rico. Not only was I in search of a much needed getaway and vacation for our family but I was also in search of some incredible food. I wanted something authentic and rich in flavor yet vegan.
Moving around Puerto Rico I found the entire island and every little town was distinct in flavors layered by the love of their ancestors' past. I also found that same love and history in their foods.
During the exploration, we visited a restaurant called Terruno located at Luquillo Kiosks in Puerto Rico. Terruno provided a tranquil ambiance on the beach filled with tasty cocktails, friendly service and a traditional Puerto Rican dish I had never heard of before called Mofongo.
Once I got to researching this dish, I found out it was not a dish native to Puerto Rico, but its roots go all the way back to West Africa and was similar to fufu, which is made of either green or semi-ripe plantain boiled then mashed. And quite interesting enough, fufu and Mofongo are made the exact same way, by seasoning the plantains after they are cooked and mashed into goodness.
I had an opportunity to chat with the hostess to learn more about the dish I saw on the menu and decided I would bring this back to the states and veganize it. Traditionally, Monfongo is served with seafood, poultry or beef. My Monfongo was covered in an abundance mountain of sautéed vegetables rich in garlic sauce. Delish!
Here's the recipe below as featured on the CW33's Morning After news program on May 18, 2021.
Chef Cynthia's Vegan Puerto Rican Mofongo Recipe
3 green plantains
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
4 cups shredded green cabbage
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups broccoli
2 cups cauliflower
1/2 cup diced white onion
1/2 cup diced green onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb. Crisp vegan fried pork rinds
4 cups water
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Oil: grape seed oil or canola oil
1. Peel plantains. 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 plantain slices and fry for 15 minutes but do not brown. Drain on a paper towel.
3. In a Pilon or 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 plantains slices and the vegan pork rinds. 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 an oven pan and keep warm until you are ready to serve.
Heat the pan on low to medium heat and add tablespoon of grape seed oil and add diced onions and garlic, add salt and pepper and Caribbean seasonings of your choice
Add vegetables and sauté until tender (don't over cook)