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Dominican Mangú and a Typical Breakfast

If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, hopefully I enticed you with my Caribbean ventures the past 10 days. I was in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic doing some social media work with a few other bloggers and writers. Since I straddle the fence in the writing realm and professionally work as a writer/journalist first, I stayed a few extra days to cover and document some excursions and facets of the island.

To say I didn’t have fun on a working trip would be a lie, but my Cuban a$$ grounded to an extreme point of oblivion. I have muy detailed experiences to share with you than I can’t possibly process right now but have tentatively scheduled a 3-part series for later this year. In the meantime, I have to share  some of the food that caused a daunting 3# weight gain in that short week. I wanted to indulge in everything Dominican cuisine has to offer, but our schedule was somewhat limited. I was cornered to eating resort food, mostly, but ventured out to the downtown area to taste some street food on my last day. I had to get all up in the local kitchens and see what the staple dishes are; what makes their food different from Cuba’s, their neighboring Latin Caribbean island.

I learned many years ago of mangú, or mashed plantain. Not having actually had it, I assumed it was much like our fufú — a sweet plantain mash and my default option. Was I wrong. Since no one had ever specified the variety or ripeness of the plantain, it was safe for me to put it right with our version.

I quickly learned on our first day in DR that mangú is the national breakfast dish. It’s eaten by everyone and everywhere. Though it originated in el campo and mostly eaten by the poorest islanders, it’s remained a dish that doesn’t divide the classes; not that that really exists in the modern day.

Every breakfast I enjoyed at the Gran Marien all-inclusive resort was healthy and full of heavy and typical foods, principally the mangú. Not your everyday hotel food with weak scrambles and watered down café. They laid it out! Visitors, both local and foreign lined up to attack the chafing dish of mangú like it were the last of crispy bacon! I was stunned. I should have figured so when I heard fellow Latina blogger, Carol from NYC Mama,  hoot and holler about needing her mangú in order to stay fit for the intense excursions we had planned. She got lucky and indulged like the rest of us. She was right. Complete energy food!

Traditionally, mangú is made with a green plantain; the less starchy, unripened one. However, I was told it’s also made with smaller and thinner platano called guineo. That one’s also very green. I’ve not seen it here in the States, so I’m going to go ahead and say it’s okay more common to make it with the regular plantain we all know and can pick up in our mercados. Mangú is on the more savory side and seasoned with tons of onions and dices of green and red bell pepper, olive oil or butter. It’s pretty basic. Nothing complicated or fancy. Just plain good soul food.  It’s served alongside a hodgepodge of other foods like fried salami rounds and other meats. I enjoyed it most with incredibly juicy roasted Roma tomatoes and boiled banana (possibly guineo) in a sweet and musky thick sauce and topped with chunks different fruit. I’m not a fan of watermelon, but it paired nicely with the warm dish.

Legend has it that mangú got its name like this: an American soldier on the island was visiting a local home where he was served this mashup of platanos. The soldier liked what he ate and proclaimed: “Man, good!”

Not sure how true it is, but it works. It just so happens to also corroborate with how Cuban fufú go its name. I’ll save that for later. Don’t you love learning the etymology?

I’m a fan… I’ll just have to make it for myself and play around with it. I’m thinking it may actually be nice with a great cheese. We’ll see. Enjoy this staple Dominican breakfast and then say you had an authentic experience of eating good, good Caribbean and Latin food!

Stay tuned for that 3-part series on all things Puerto Plata, DR. So much going on up on that north shore!

 

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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Enjoy

DOMINICAN MANGÚ or MASHED PLANTAIN a lo DOMINICANO (c/o Dominican Republic Office Of Tourism)

Ingredients:

  • 4 Plantains
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter (may use a butter substitute like margarine)
  • 1/2 cup Cold water (DO NOT SUBSTITUTE WITH HOT WATER)
  • 1 tsp Salt

Method:

Fill a pot halfway with water, put on high heat. While water is heating, peel the plantains.  I usually rub my hands with cooking oil to peel the plantains, it really makes washing your hands easier because the oil doesn’t let the stain from the plantains stick on your hands as much.  To peel the plantain, cut the ends off of, cut a thin line down each side of the plantain,  pull the peel apart, use a pairing knife if the peel is very difficult to pull away.

Once the plantains are peeled, for quicker cooking, I cut them in half, then, slice each half in the middle (to get 4 pieces from each plantain). Once all plantains are peeled to in the water (it’s ok if the water is not boiling yet), cover and bring to a boil. When the plantains come to a boil, add a generous amount of salt (a tablespoon is about the amount I add). Let the plantains boil until they are fork tender (about 20 – 25 minutes). Drain ALL of the hot water. While the plantains are hot, add the butter or margarine (I prefer to use margarine), then add the olive oil. Then add the salt.  You may adjust the salt level, but I’ve made this recipe too many times to count and I think that 1 tsp is the perfect amount.

Now, mash the plantains (don’t add the water yet), this is just to ensure the butter (or margarine) melts and to dissolve the salt as well.

After mashing briefly, add 1/2 cup of Cold water (NOT HOT WATER), don’t ask me why but adding cold water makes the mangu really soft and if you put it in the refrigerator then reheat, the mangu is not hard.  It’s an old trick that has been passed down by generations and most of the seasoned Dominican cooks I know mash their mangu with cold water as well (same way my mom taught me).

After adding the water, mash some more until the mangu is thoroughly combined.  If you are finding that your mangu is still very dry, just add more cold water.  Add 1/4 cup more at a time, for me a 1/2 cup is the perfect amount because you don’t want watery mangu.  After mashing for a couple of minutes, see how soft and creamy it gets.

One of the most popular items that mangu is paired with is sauteed onions and fried salami (there is even a song dedicated this dish called “platano con salami” ). If you prefer to serve it as a side dish  and omit the onions, it works well with meat, eggs, veggies, cheese, etc.

172 thoughts on “Dominican Mangú and a Typical Breakfast

  1. OMG! This is one of my favorite dishes! My mom’s coworker was from the DR so I tasted this dish from the heavens way back when I was a kid. Thanks for the recipe! I think Mami needs to help me make this ASAP!

  2. Es riquisimo. Hay otras maneras de hacerlo depedendiendo de la zona de la isla adonde te lo comas. En el norte le echan el agua caliente donde se hirvieron los platanos y al final se le echa el aceite o la mantequilla y sobretodo el agua fria de nevera un poquito solo para garantizar que lo que sobre no se ponga duro si lo guardas por un dia en la nevera. Echandole esa agua hirviendo de los platanos tambien estas poniendo en el mangu los nutroentes que quedan en el agua al hervirlo. EN el oeste no le echan aceite de oliva sino manteca de puerco derretida y el mangu no es tan “soft”.

  3. Mouth watering. I’ve had mangu served with scrambled and fried eggs. It’s absolutely delicious.

    Looking forward to the rest of the series.

  4. Jehan Can Cook: I hadn’t had mangu but I loved it. I ate it almost every day I was there. Super simple to make. Glad you followed my iphoneography! 😉

    Carol: awww. So glad to have finally met in your motherland!

    Patty: I love your passion in talking about how much you love it! I’m like that about our fufu! 🙂 Tell me you’ve had it!

    Sylvia: Me imagino que eso es el caso. Yo lo hiciera con un poco de queso y mantequilla y ajo. Si lo encontre un poco reseco. Es normal?

    Rosa: Yes, girl! Sure is! You took the words out of my mouth!

    Aly: Me either, actually. I took over 2600 pictures. It’s going to take me a minute to go through them all and edit. Meh. But, it’ll be worth it.

    Unknown Mami: I’m thinking it’ll work.

    Joan Nova: Really! Girl, you get around. I love that! 🙂 I’ll ping you when I start the series 🙂 Hugs.

  5. Makes me want to go back. For sure, Carol was not the only one to stuff her face with mangu; I had my daily share as well. 🙂

  6. this looks really good. I love soft bananas that are sweet. And watermelon is one of my favorite fruits. I don’t mami has ever made mango for me.

  7. Bren, this sounds like green plantains (since the talk about stains). Will definitely have to try this twist. You know how we Caribbean nationals love our bananas! Sounds like you had a great trip. Now following you on Twitter.

  8. David: I’m glad we all enjoyed it. Was too filling for the morning but that could be a good thing!

    Missy: I’ll make it for you on a long weekend.

    Adriana: Thanks. I’m sure you’ve had it!

    Chef: oh, you know it. We swear by them. Any variety. We have everyday bananas with spaghetti!

    Madelyn: Having seen all of their food, it makes sense they have it for bfast. But, we do too.

    Ashley: Really!!?!? Wow. you’re 1 of only 2 ppl I know don’t like plantains. I could possibly convert you 🙂

    Maria: me too!

  9. Reading this brings back to many memories of my summer vacations in DR where every morning started with a big serving of mangu. No day was complete without it!

  10. I am Dominican and coincidently also from Puerto Plata. I decided to check online if Mangu was actually known to the Americans and I stumbled upon here. Wow, it’s nice that other cultures also enjoy the awesomeness of this dish. But have you ever tried “Pastel de Hoja”? It’s a dish I mostly get during Christmas time when my mom makes it and it tastes absolutely incredible. Its made from using plantain leaves (You take the big leaves from the tree) as square sheets where you spread a platano, yautia ,auyama , and guineo mixture and cooked meat (the closest I can get to describing it is as taco meat just not as spicy); afterwards you wrapped the leaf around the spread and close it in until it forms a small rectangle (size is about like a granola bar; could be longer or wider). Then you take the wrapped leaf and wrap in parchment paper and tighten it with strings. You boil it (or freeze it for weeks) about 20 minutes (it rises) and then take a bite of a deliciously soft thick Dominican dish.
    There are many different versions but this is the one I like best. 🙂
    My mom’s recipe makes a lot of wrapped Pastel de Hoja (more than 70) so my mom freezes them. When you feel like eating it you just take them out of the fridge boil it and eat them.

  11. I am Puerriquena and I can tell you that Pasteles is a typical Puerto Rican Christmas dish along with arroz con dulce. Mangu is all over NY and Long Island every Compare Food supermarket sells it and most bodegas. I guess you all have to come to NY lol! Happy New Year

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