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2 years ago, I took a cruise with my family and one of the stops was Puerto Rico. For me, traveling is an exhilarating experience. I hope to one day travel the world and write about it. The culture, the people, language; it’s all intriguing to me. But what really catches my interest is the cuisine. I love learning about regional cuisine and eating things I thought I would never have in my lifetime. One such dish is Mofongo, the dish of Puerto Rico, where I first found my love for plantains.
Mofongo is composed of green plantains that are smashed and formed into the shape of a bowl. It is then filled with chicken, shrimp, or beef usually topped with a stew. It was probably one of the most delicious meals I have ever encountered.
Plantains are known as the “cooking banana.” They are unripen bananas. They are very heavy and starchy. Similar to a turnip or a potato. You can eat them whether they are green or completely ripened into a yellow color, or that of a banana. To peel them, if they are completely ripe, they will peel just like a banana. But if they are green, you will have to cut into them with a knife vertically until you cut through the entire skin itself and then peel it off or continue to cut portions at a time. Like I mentioned about cauliflower, this is also such a versatile ingredient. They are great dried, fried, or even covered in coconut sugar for dessert. But if you eat too many, it almost feels like there is a brick laying at the bottom of your stomach. One plantain usually ranges around 219 calories, but realize that they are very starchy, so half of one is usually enough for a serving depending on how you are consuming them. This recipe is probably the most simplistic yet delicious one out there.
1 plantain peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices **When choosing a plantain, if you want it to be more like a starch or potato, buy one that is more on the green side, but if you want them sweet, grab one that is yellow and completely ripe**
2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
Servings: 1 (just double everything for every extra serving)
1. Slice plantains and set aside.
2. In a pan over medium to high heat, pour in olive oil and wait for it to be completely hot. Make sure oil covers whole pan. So a smaller pan would be best.
3. When oil is hot, place plantains in the oil and watch for the splatter. If the oil is going all over the place, lower your heat a little bit.
4. While that’s cooking, get paper towels and stick them on a plate so when the plantains are done, you can place them on there so the oil can drip out.
5. When the plantains are golden brown (2-3 minutes), flip over and do the same thing, until they are golden brown.
6. place on the papers towels and sprinkle with sea salt. If you prefer not to consume salt, that works as well.
I think plantains are the perfect side for dinner or even something to snack on pre workout because they’re starchy (maybe right before legs day?)
The Puerto Ricans definitely know what’s up when it comes to cuisine. I can’t wait to go back and eat more Mofongo than I think I’m capable of actually consuming. And, I’m okay with that.