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Mofongo bowls are the best way to get your fried plantains game on

My mom always makes mofongo on special occasions (or when she gets in the mood to really cook), and her recipe is super delicious. Mofongo is a Latin-Caribbean dish made with mashed plantains and served with chicken stew or other meats. This is my version of a family classic; I make the recipe the same way my mom does, but instead of shaping the mofongo into an upward mound (as it is typically made), I like to shape it into a bowl and fill it with stewed chicken.

The mofongo bowl can also be filled with shrimp, veggies, even carne asada — whatever your heart desires, you can add to your mofongo bowl.

More: Tonight’s Dinner: Mofongo with shrimp

Mofongo bowl with stew chicken recipe

This recipe is portable, surprising and makes a great addition to your next dinner party.

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 45 minutes | Total time: 55 minutes

Ingredients for the stewed chicken:

  • 4 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 packet sazón con achiote
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup sofrito
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions for the stewed chicken:

  1. Season the chicken with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and sazón con achiote packet.
  2. To a pot over high heat, add the olive oil along with the yellow onion and green bell pepper. Sauté until the onions and peppers are tender and translucent, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken, bay leaves, sofrito, tomato sauce and water.
  4. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid, and let the chicken cook for 30 – 45 minutes, until tender.
  5. Add more water during the cooking process if necessary.
  6. Shred the stewed chicken with a fork once cooked through.
Make your mofongo while your chicken stew is cooking.

Ingredients for the mofongo:

  • 4 green plantains, cut crosswise into 2-inch rounds
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 pound crisp-fried pork rinds, also called chicharrones (optional)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil

More: Low-carb Spanish cooking

Directions for the mofongo:

  1. To a large saucepan over high heat, add olive oil 3 inches up the saucepan.
  2. Once the oil reaches 350 degrees F, fry the plantains for 5 – 7 minutes, turning halfway through, until the plantains are golden brown.
  3. Remove the plantains from the oil, and drain on a paper towel.
  4. With a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic cloves. Add salt to taste, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and the pork rinds.
  5. Transfer the garlic and pork rind mixture to a bowl.
  6. Add 4 – 5 pieces of cooked green plantains to the mortar and pestle. Crush the plantains, adding in the garlic and pork rind mixture a tablespoon at a time. Mix until well incorporated.
  7. Scrape the mixture out of the mortar and pestle and into a small bowl, and mold it around the bowl so it takes the shape.
  8. Repeat until all the plantains are turned into bowls.
  9. Ladle the chicken into the mofongo bowls, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

More: 16 traditional Latin comfort foods you need to make this fall

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