As part of our “Puerto Rican” dinner in Paraguay we made mangú. Mangú is a Dominican Republic staple, actually eaten very typically for breakfast. It’s so hearty and filling that in my book is more aptly eaten as a main dish.
Mangú is made with green plantains… but if the plantains are starting to ripen and turning a bit sweet, it’s fine too. Maybe this is not the traditional Dominican way, but this is a “Puerto Rican” mangú and I say it tastes very delicious too. Usually you also create a topping/mix-in mixture to soften the green plantains with. We created a vegetable mixture made from onions, tomatoes, garlic, peppers and spinach. Onions are what’s most traditional but you can get creative and add what you have around in your fridge.
What’s best about mangús is the fried cheese. We didn’t have any, so we decided to make a vegan mangú. But if you’re not keeping a dairy-free or vegan diet, I highly recommend covering the top of the mangú with slices of fried cheese in addition to the vegetables. You will thank me after trying it.
My friend Tania is an expert on mangú and she can make it in one of a thousand varieties. So in honor of all the Dominicans in our yoga group, we give you Mangú.
4-5 green plantains, peeled and cut into 2” pieces 3 large yellow onions, 1 of them chopped and 2 sliced thinly 1 large green bell pepper, sliced thinly 1 large red bell pepper, sliced thinly 6 garlic cloves, 2 left whole and 4 chopped finely 3 large tomatoes, chopped 4 cups of fresh spinach leaves Olive Oil ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar Garlic and Herbs Seasoning Salt and pepper to taste
- First we boil the plantains… so add the cut plantains to a pot of water. Do not add too much water because we’ll use this water to mash the plantains afterwards so try to add just enough water to barely cover the plantains. Add only 1 onion that you’ve chopped and 2 garlic cloves. Add some salt to the water, cover the pot and bring to a boil. After reaching a good rolling boil, reduce the heat and cook the plantains until they’re fork-tender. That’ll take about 20-30 minutes. To prevent the plantains in the bottom from getting scorched, stir the pot a few times during the boiling process.
- When the plantains are cooked well, just turn off the heat and leave them there covered until you’re ready to mash them.
- While the plantains are boiling away, you can make the vegetable mix-in/topping…
- In a large deep skillet, we will cook all the vegetables for the mangú. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan over medium-high heat and add the onions slices from the 2 onions left, the strips of green and red bell pepper and the chopped garlic. Season the veggies with some salt and pepper and sauté until the onions and peppers start to soften.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and the fresh spinach. Mix in well to help the spinach wilt. The moisture in the tomatoes and spinach will start to create juices in the bottom of the pan. Those will be a tasty addition to our mangú later on. Season again with some additional salt, pepper and the garlic and herbs seasoning. Mix well and keep on cooking until the tomatoes and spinach have wilted enough and looked thoroughly cooked.
6. To finish off, add the vinegar and mix well. This will add a nice tangy taste. Let the mixture sit until the plantains are fully cooked.
7. Transfer the cooked plantains to a large roasting pan or baking dish… this is where you will serve it in. Transfer as much of the cooked onions and garlic as you can and most of the boiling water, but there shouldn’t be that much water anyways. Mash well with a potato masher. Make sure you have mashed every piece of plantain there is. If the mixture is dry, add as much of the boiling water as you want but you want to avoid it getting too soupy. It should have soft consistency.
8. Add half of the vegetable mixture into the mashed plantains. Mix well using the potato masher or a large spoon. Feel free to add as much of the vegetable liquid as you want. After it’s all mixed well, add the remaining vegetable mixture over the mangú.
9. Serve immediately. But if you can’t serve immediately, the mangú will keep warm for a while… Just cover the dish with a plastic wrap or aluminum foil and keep warm on the side until you’re ready to serve. Mangú makes a great potluck dish too.
If you’re adding the fried cheese slices… place them on top of the mangú after you’ve mixed in half of the veggies. Place them right over the mashed plantains and pour the remaining veggies over of the cheese slices. Delicious!!!!!