Mashed Plantains (Mangu)

This dish was one of the big hits of yesterday’s Caribbean themed dinner.  In the Dominican Republic, where I first had it, it’s typically served for breakfast, but it’s a great substitute for mashed potatoes.  Sadly there are no photos of this meal.  I was so busy getting the food on the table that I completely forgot to take pictures!

Plantains are a lot more readily available than they used to be.  I got these at my local Kroger.  Just be sure that you get green ones.  You don’t want them to be sweet.  You’re using them as an alternative to potatoes, not as bananas, despite their appearance.  They’re more difficult to peel than bananas.  I found that it worked best to cut off the ends; cut the plantain in half crosswise and then again lengthwise; and then slice through the peel lengthwise. 

This dish is really easy.  Just boil the plantains like potatoes.  Be sure to salt the water.  Make sure they’re tender enough to mash with a fork.  The recipe calls for you to mash these with a fork until they’re smooth.  I didn’t have the time or the energy for that.  I mashed them a little with a fork and then put them in the stand mixer.  I added water until they were a little thinner than I wanted them to be in the end because I knew I’d be warming them in the pot with a little butter and some of the water would cook out.

What makes these special is the onion garnish.  I actually cooked the onions until they were soft and fairly brown.  The recipe calls for fruit vinegar, but I used balsamic and it worked fine.  Just a little sweetness and tartness for the top of the dish.

These got rave reviews from the No Football Sunday Dinner crowd so there weren’t many leftover, but I’ll be enjoying them for a breakfast or two and maybe a lunch!

Good? Very good.
Easy? Very easy.
Good for company? All signs point to yes.
Special shopping? You should be able to find plantains in your local grocery store, but if not try a latino market.

Mashed Plantains

Note: this recipe serves 12 so you may want to reduce the amounts


1-2 t salt
8 green plantains, peeled and cut into pieces
8 T butter, divided
1 C water, plus or minus a little
1 T olive oil
3 white or red onions, sliced
1 T balsamic vinegar


Add salt to a pot of boiling water. Add the plantains and boil until they mash easily with a fork. Drain. Put the plantains and 4 T of butter in a mixing bowl and mix until they are mostly smooth. Add water a little at a time until the plantains reach the desired consistency.
Melt the remaining 4 T butter in the cooking pot. Return the plantains to the pot to warm through.

Heat 1 T olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and golden brown. Stir in balsamic vinegar to taste. Serve on top of mashed plantains.


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