Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jan 25: More Fun with Plantains

I'm currently fascinated with cooking plantains so I was looking-up recipes when I found Mofongo. Mo who what? Mo-fong-go. Actually more like Mo-fung-go. The interesting name caught my eye. Looking at Mark Bittman's Mofongo Recipe, the recipe seems straight forward and had few ingredients.

That's another thing I've been into lately - simple recipes with few ingredients.
The only downside is the deep frying. I try to avoid deep frying because of the mess and calories, but it's cold today so I can use the extra calories... lol!

As I've done previously, I've made a small batch to test out the recipe.

1 Green Plantain, cut into 1" thick rounds
1 clove of garlic
1 slice of bacon, cooked
1 T bacon drippings (This is my addition to boost the bacon flavor)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro for garnish
Oil for deep frying

The ingredients: bacon, garlic and the plantain which is just starting to yellow.

1. Peel* and cut the plantain. The recipe calls for soaking in salted water. I skipped this step reasoning the soak is used to prevent oxidation browning... since I was going straight to the frying I didn't have to worry about browning.

*Note: My first time peeling a green plantain. It doesn't peel like a sweet Cavendish banana. With the plantain, you cut off the ends and use a knife to cut off the skin. The skin is very crisp like celery.

2. Deep fry (350F**) until golden. The oil I used was mainly bacon drippings. Canola oil was added to raise the oil level to 1". Fry 5 minutes, flip and fry another 5 minutes.
**Note: I didn't not measure the oil temp, I just started when the oil seemed hot enough.

3. While the plantain is frying, pulse together the bacon, garlic, a dash of salt and pepper.

4. Add the hot, fried plantain to the food processor.
The plantain had a crispy outer shell while soft on the inside.

Pulse until mashed.... Interesting result here. The crispy outer aren't breaking down to a mash. The texture is remains a little coarse.

5. Form into balls and garnish with cilantro to eat as is...

or serve in a soup.
Pictured is a simple chicken broth enriched with garlic, red pepper, green onion and tomatoes.

I was expecting my mofongo to have a soft mashed banana texture, but the results were more like brown rice balls. The flavor was nice. A hint of bacony goodness and the residual heat from the fried plantain cooked out the rawness out of the garlic.

Next time... I'll add a little more bacon and try soaking it see if the texture is softer (or not fry as long).

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