It can be hard to find a diverse selection of Latin and Caribbean foods outside of Northeast cities. Ironically that also lines up with most of the stricter marijuana policy states, so your chances of having such foods lovingly laced with another Caribbean favorite are waiting in the wings of congress.
Though many cultures and especially Caribbean cultures use the banana-esque plantain as a starch source in their meals, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rican Mofongo is one of the most delicious ways to have the green, unripe fruit, known to some as cooking bananas. These starchy friends of our sweet snack bananas are tasty when fried, roasted, and in this case, smashed with garlic and cannabis oil.
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When served with broth for soaking and a generous sprinkle of cilantro, you can understand why some people are hesitant to eat any outside their neighborhood enclaves where this food is available, affordable, and of highest quality. A sequel to tostones, which are fried and smashed pancake-like plantains, you can use leftovers or some roasted or grilled plantains to make the next step: tasty tasty mofongo.
Based on Clara Gonzalez of DominicanCooking.com’s recipe
Makes 4 servings; 14mg THC per serving
- 3 unripe green plantain
- 1 head garlic
- 2 shallots
- 4 c vegetable broth
- 2 Tbsp cannabis infused olive oil*
- 1 cube vegetable bullion
- Sofrito/salsa (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- Oil for frying
- Cilantro for garnish
In a small saucepan, add a drizzle of the cooking oil. Crush half of the garlic and one of the shallots and Heat til translucent. Pour over the broth and add one cube of bouillon to add some stronger flavor. Meat broths can be used too, but you will still have to season them with garlic, pepper, and some herbs if desired. Allow to simmer while you prepare the plantains.
Cover the bottom of a heavy bottomed pan with oil and preheat, reserving 1tbs of cooking oil for your knife, cutting board, and hands. Rub the oil in pretty well, this allows you to handle and break down the plantains without the sticky sap getting all over everything. The easiest way to prep this hardened banana cousin is to chop off each end, make a cut down a vein, and peel off with your fingers. Chop the fruits into 1-1.5” pieces for frying, since you are eventually mashing them, they don’t need to be super thin.
Fry the pieces for 2-3 minutes per side until lightly browned, allow to drain on paper towels. Once you are done frying, crush the remaining garlic and shallot lightly, fry quickly to soften, and put in a heatproof bowl. Add the plantains, infused oil, salt, pepper, and some sofrito if desired, and mash with a potato masher or pestle.
Add a splash of the broth if it seems too dry, but everything should maintain a chunky texture, it won’t be smooth like mashed potatoes and you don’t want it to be!
Form into a small bowl or mug and invert on a plate to form a little tower. Then fill this bowl with broth. Garnish both with cilantro and serve with hot sauce. Traditionally this has meat, which you add in the mashing stage, and many use anything on hand, from shrimp to shredded chicken. Dip bites of the salty, garlicky yum into broth before wolfing, it’s a taste you crave once you try for the first time.
*Cannabis Infused Olive Oil
Decarboxylate 3.5g of finely ground cannabis at 225 degrees for 20 minutes in a tightly sealed, oven safe container. Put in lidded mason jar or vacuum sealed bag with cannabis and four ounces of Olive oil. Heat in water bath just under boiling for at least 1 hour. Strain and chill to use in recipes
Latinx Caribbean food and Afro Caribbean food may be a staple in my city as a hub of Caribbean immigration, but if given the chance to take root elsewhere, this would be a go-to for so many of us. Plantains are cheap even imported, and they keep for ages. Even ‘rotten’ yellow ones make breathtaking sweet plantains or a killer twist on banana bread.
Photos: Maria Penaloza
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