The Magical Mofongo

Readers will remember that last month I had been anticipating trying mofongo, which had fallen through but introduced me to Goya Malta. Well folks, this little lady finally got herself some mofongo, and it was magical.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, mofongo is a popular Caribbean dish. It’s made from frying up plantains, smashing them, and frying them again. Yes, twice fried my friends! Then, while they’re still warm you mash them using a mortar and pestle, incorporating pork fat, broth, and whatever goodies the chef includes. As I was sitting with Jim in the restaurant we heard some loud banging. “That’s our lunch,” I told Jim.

Jim tried the mofongo de pollo, which is the dish with chicken. It came out as a dense ball surrounded by chunks of chicken and broth. I ordered the mofongo de queso, which is it with cheese. My logic being, fried starch and cheese must be good. I was right. We were given extra broth and homemade hot sauce to go with them.

If you haven’t tried plantains before, I should explain. Plantains, although looking just like a banana, are actually not very sweet. They are like a dense starchy thing. My dish was chunky, fried, mashed starch, mingling with a salty white cheese, molded into a ball. It was a dish made for having a beer with, so we each had a Presidente, which is the only beer brewed in the Dominican Republic. Since we were eating at a Dominican restaurant, it seemed appropriate. If you like a pilsner, give this one a try if you can find it.

It was a hearty delicious lunch. I think I summed it up when I told Jim, “Mofongo. It’s flavor may be Dominican, but it sits in your stomach like it’s German.”