Mangú (Mashed Plantains)

Mangú (Mashed plantains)

“El platano embrutece”. I recently heard this saying for the first time, but apparently it’s common amongst Dominicans. It means that eating plantains is associated with intellectual inferiority. The popular extension of this myth is that children who eat corn flakes are more intelligent than those who eat Mangú (Mashed Plantains).

Could this be true? What lies behind this saying? To be honest, I think I already knew the answer to the question when I first came across this belief, but I thought I’d look into it anyway.

Mangú Recipe(Mashed plantains): The national Dominican breakfast dish.

According to my research, plantains are nutritionally beneficial, they have more than twenty times the amount of vitamin A, about three times the vitamin C, double the magnesium, and almost twice the potassium as a banana. Very low in fat and sodium, they are cholesterol-free and offer a good source of fibre. One-half cup cooked slices contains about 89 calories. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

In the opposite corner, is a packet of Corn Flakes. 100g of cornflakes contains 370 calories, 84g carbohydrates, 7g of protein, 0.8g fat and 2.5g of fibre. Also a reasonable enough listing. What it doesn’t mention outright is the sugar content, which is as much as four teaspoons of sugar per serving. More so if you add sugar to your cornflakes, which most people tend to do.

Mangú

I looked up the nutritional information for the best known brand of corn flakes, but did not lose sight of the fact that for Dominicans, corn flakes (pronounced ‘conflé’) is the generic word for any breakfast cereal, many of which are junkier than standard corn flakes, with even more sugar and artificial colourings.

In both cases it also depends on how you eat the plantain or the cornflakes. Most children eat cornflakes with some sugar and some milk. Plantains for breakfast are usually eaten as mangú, which involves boiling the plantains and mashing them with some salt and oil. Accompanied by fried cheese or salami. A little heavy on the system, perhaps, but nutritious enough. It also depends on how monotonous your diet is. If you eat little else but plantains it is not as beneficial as a varied diet that includes plantains.

I realise too that I am making a huge assumption in that I am linking good nutrition to intelligence. I’m applying the information that says that children who eat a good breakfast do better at school, so maybe that’s it. What I can’t accept is that there should be a difference between children who eat corn flakes and children who eat mangú.

Mangú Recipe(Mashed plantains): The national Dominican breakfast dish.

There is a socio-cultural element here and that’s probably where the myth originates. Mangú is a traditional Dominican breakfast, eaten in the campo and in poorer homes. Families who can afford corn flakes are also the sort of people who send their children to private schools. Having said that, I have still to meet a middle class or even an upper class Dominican who looks down on mangú.

That is one of the things I love about the country: despite sayings like ‘el platano embrutece’ Dominicans are still fiercely proud and appreciative of their traditional cuisine, and are not about to replace it completely with foreign substitutes.

Mangú (Mashed plantains) is one of the best-known and most representative dishes of Dominican cookery. It could probably be called Dominicans’ Official Breakfast Dish, a must-try for those sampling our cuisine. Learn how to make it with this simple step by step recipe.

Aunt Ilana
Mangú (Mashed plantains)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is one of the best known and most representative recipes of the Dominican cuisine. It could probably be called Dominicans' official breakfast dish. A must-try for those sampling our cuisine. Learn how to make it with this simple step by step recipe.
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
To make mangu
  • 4 unripe plantains
  • 1½ teaspoons of salt
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 cup of water at room temperature
To make onion garnish
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 tablespoon of fruit vinegar
  • Salt
Instructions
Preparing mangu
  1. Peel the plantains and cut into 8 pieces.
  2. Remove the center where the seeds are located (optional)
  3. Boil the plantains adding until they are very tender, having added the salt to the water.
  4. Take the plantains out of the water and mash them with a fork until they are very smooth.
  5. Add olive oil and mix.
  6. Add the water and keep mashing and mixing until it is very smooth puree.
Preparing the onions
  1. Heat a tablespoon of oil in pan.
  2. Add onions and cook and stir until they become transparent.
  3. Add vinegar and season with salt to taste.
  4. Garnish mangu with the onions and serve with sunny side-up eggs or Dominican scrambled eggs, Dominican fried cheese or fried slices of salami.

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{ 50 comments… add one }

  • Kwame asokoro September 26, 2014, 3:13 PM

    In my country ( Ghana ) it’s know as fufu and it’ s made with yellow plantains

    • Aunt Clara November 2, 2014, 7:09 PM

      It’s funny you mention that, it’s called “fufú” in Cuba too.

  • Ricardito July 22, 2014, 12:42 PM

    I grew up eating this stuff. Thank god i can get platanos at Walmart here in the Pacific Northwest. I like my mangú with a tortilla de huevo “omlet?” on top. Mom calls it “Dominican pizza”.

  • pancho peguero July 19, 2014, 9:09 PM

    the dominican spanish is reach in expresions like eating platanos embrutece. the traslation of that is satisfies the Hunger and causes comfort .the cost of breakfast
    foods specially those imported and prohibitive Vs the cost of plantains ,yuca. yames .eggs,bacon
    education Vs diet makes sense

  • Keiry May 22, 2014, 4:10 PM

    Does anyone add milk to the mangú? When I make it I add cold milk instead of cold water. Gives it a softer consistency but the trick is mainly.. Don’t let it get cold! If the mangu gets cold, it will get hard.

  • Selenia May 7, 2014, 11:33 AM

    Why not just provide the type of vinegar. If you indicate “fruit” I would use apple wine vinegar. I think I’ve had it with Red wine vinegar. I love this for my mom. She has dementia and the soft food is nice. yum
    Thanks for the recipe.

    • Aunt Clara May 9, 2014, 11:39 AM

      Each home uses whatever type of fruit vinegar they have. There isn’t a fixed choice.

  • Hiraida April 13, 2014, 1:47 PM

    I don’t trade my platanos/mangu for any other none Dominican dish. I grew up en el campo and yes I have to agree with you that having mangu for breakfast is not nearly the same as having corn flakes, I’ve had both and mangu sustain more because of its heaviness. For kids that have a long day in school is better to have mangu. The lunch provided in school is a snack to them. I speak for experience. My kids love platanos, mangu, tostones, mofongo or just the sweet plantain. My son pops it in the microwave for 5 min (sweet plantain) and scramble an egg and the has lunch or dinner. I love platanos!!!

  • michael March 24, 2014, 9:54 PM

    Huge plantain fan, this looks amazing. As to the children- the things that modern nutrition teaches us are crazy. Real whole foods over fortified corn starch any day!

  • Marlene February 10, 2014, 6:45 PM

    Thanks so much for this recipe! It is wonderful and just what I was looking for! I just arrived back from my first visit to Dominican and I am so happy with our vacation that we are already looking into booking our next visit there again! The first time I ever tried Mangu was this trip and I loved it! I loved the Dominican foods, the beautiful place, and the beautiful Dominican people.

  • Adrienne January 18, 2014, 12:10 AM

    First time I made this was this morning. My husband said it was delicious and some of the best he has ever had. I told him I had a special breakfast planned for him. Thanks a bunch.

  • Ingrid October 28, 2013, 8:41 PM

    The Mangu “de-mistified” I love it!

  • Sharon Allure October 2, 2013, 10:37 AM

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe. This came out delicious!

  • Christa September 6, 2013, 11:07 PM

    Mmm……I wanted a late night snack with a plantain and found this recipe, but I cheated and cut 1 plantain into small chunks, cooked in the microwave for 4 minutes with about 1/2 cup water, mashed it and added 1 tsp butter. So delicious! I would totally eat it instead of hot cereal!

  • Bobby Whitehead August 18, 2013, 11:51 AM

    just returned from the DR and HAD to have this recipe,,, thanks for posting looking forward to more of your recipes!

  • Lewis August 4, 2013, 1:02 PM

    I’m desperately looking for a recipe for VEGAN Dominican cake. The Suspiro and everything. I’ve been searching high and low with no luck. Any one have any insight? I live in nyc and haven’t found a place to buy some. I’ve found vegan arepas etc but not Dominican cake. Pleasee help!!!!

  • angee May 30, 2013, 11:26 AM

    So yummy! Those onions are to die for! My husband showed me the “proper” way to cut into a plantain, and we had a lot of fun making this! Thank you for posting this recipe. He was so excited to have our family taste his favorite dish from his years of living in the DR! We all loved it!

  • Gladys Fletcher February 27, 2013, 11:13 AM

    Riquisimo, yo lo habia comido pero nunca lo habia hecho, se puede poner tambien chicharon de puerco en el mix.

  • Latasha Troche February 16, 2013, 3:20 PM

    This came out GREAT i love it. im totally making in the future…..i was trying not to make it with onions because my family does not eat them…it came out great anyway
    ThAnK yOu VeRy MuCH

    thanks,my family

  • Luis February 8, 2013, 9:49 AM

    Good nutrition may not make you more intelligent, but it will seem that way. Good nutrition unlocks your potential. “Conflé” will make you slow and sick, but a hearty meal with plantains will give you the edge you need to have a brilliant day.

  • Heather @ Stuffed Pepper January 8, 2013, 12:47 PM

    This sounds delicious! I love fried plantains but only recently heard about plantain mash. Its would be a great side dish for those of us on a gluten-free diet.

    I also love another commenters idea about stuffing peppers with the mangu. :)

    I assume my plantians would have to be ripe. Will this still work if they are just starting to blacken a bit on the outside?

    • Recipeman April 6, 2013, 10:34 AM

      The plantains should be green – unripe.

  • Felipe December 22, 2012, 12:10 PM

    awsome, thank you very much for the great info. Also, thank you for the recipe. Im making mangu for the Christmas dinner we are having with my Bible talk group. I need to make it for 15+ people. This recipe is going to come in handy, so thank you very much. I love my dominican cuisine.

  • eghosa obaseki December 10, 2012, 2:48 PM

    i like plantain a lot so want to learn as much recipes there are to it

  • jon October 29, 2012, 11:32 PM

    Love mangu. We make it a little different. Cut a slit down the plantains on one side lengthwise just enough to percie the skin. Do not peel, boil in the skin. After a bit the skin will fall off. Take out the skin and let the plantains boil until tender. Leaving the skin makes a little broth that you can use to mash the plantaines with instead of cold water. Add about a cup of that water to the plantains and mash with butter. Add more of the water as needed to make it more moist.

    • Felipe December 22, 2012, 12:12 PM

      Yeah, this sounds good. Will do.

  • Stalyn October 25, 2012, 6:51 PM

    Wow that looks so good.

  • Ted September 8, 2012, 6:48 AM

    Had my first experience of Mangu,
    Egg, Onion, & fried cheese yesterday
    @ our local DR restaurant. Very good
    meal. Very filling.

  • Hazel September 1, 2012, 12:18 PM

    Wow this Mangu was Delicious ;) Ty

  • Carmen July 14, 2012, 3:02 PM

    I am trying to learn how to cook mangu

  • Connie T June 2, 2012, 9:50 PM

    I made mine with lots of butter, garlic and sour cream, then added a dash of half-and-half at the end to loosen it all up. Delicious!

  • gustavo a gonzalez-a May 23, 2012, 4:38 AM

    Excelente explicacion.

  • Marta April 1, 2012, 7:38 AM

    Aunt Clara I'm having a fundraiser for an Animal Refuge Center and the food has to be all Vegan, if I wante to turn this into an appetizer what do you suggest I stuff the Mangu into so that it can be a bite sized appetizer

    Thank you

    • Jackie Cardona April 8, 2012, 12:39 PM

      Try this: Stuff a Green or Red Pepper with the mangú. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes until pepper becomes tender. Quite a tasty treat!

  • AMANDA March 31, 2012, 8:27 PM

    mangu es la mejor comida que un dominicano puede comer si no mee lo creen pregunteselo a nuestro amigo el cosinero en nuestra pagina

  • Jill February 4, 2012, 10:31 AM

    After several sad attempts at mangu, I decided to do an internet search for a recipe. Man am I glad I came across this one! Turned out perfect! My daughter and husband were thoroughly impressed. Thanks from a Polish gal in Santo Domingo!!!

  • Steph November 10, 2011, 7:52 AM

    Thank you so much for creating this website! I lived in the Dominican Republic for two years and fell deeply in love. Since returning to the States not a day has gone by when I have not longed to return to the DR. These recipes (and your commentaries on Dominican life) help bring my adopted home closer.

  • Sherlly October 21, 2011, 8:58 AM

    I LOVE Mangu! I've gone to DR 4 times and my father's ex-wife was from DR and she used to make this for breakfast and it's just so delicious. Thanks for the recipe! Will be making this soon.

  • Carolyn Jung October 21, 2011, 8:00 AM

    I love fried plaintains so I bet mashed is equally wonderful. Would make a nice addition to a Thanksgiving table, too, for a real change of pace.

  • Marni October 21, 2011, 6:57 AM

    Me encanta el mangu, con un chin de salami y queso frito! :)

  • Rita October 21, 2011, 6:56 AM

    Everyone I know takes the water for the final step from the leftover water used for boiling the platanos.

  • foodie @ Tasting Spo October 20, 2011, 11:11 PM

    this is an interesting recipe.. different from what i have tried so far… will keep it bookmarked

  • Yadsia @ShopCookMake October 20, 2011, 8:11 PM

    Toda la semana he estado pesnando en un buen plato de Mangú como el que hace tiempo no como, ya que las matas de plátano en mi patio aún no han dado fruto. Esta receta cayó como anillo al dedo!

  • Jesenia August 21, 2011, 1:02 PM

    In the last step, when adding the cup of cold water, doesn't that make the food cold?

    • Aunt Clara October 21, 2011, 8:10 AM

      Not really, the cold water keeps the mashed plantains from getting hard after some time, it's an old pros' trick.

  • enya May 30, 2011, 9:45 AM

    red wine vinegar

  • dolores May 25, 2011, 9:36 AM

    what kind of vinegar?

  • Aunt Clara April 25, 2011, 11:03 AM

    Enough to cover them. Keep them below water level until they are cooked.

  • Joshua Camacho April 25, 2011, 10:39 AM

    how many cups of water are needed to boil the plantains?