If you love mofongo you'll squeal with glee when you try this Camarofongo Recipe (Shrimp Mofongo), and will be surprised to learn about its origins.
We all know and love the classic mofongo, this Camarofongo (Shrimp Mofongo) is every bit as good as the fried one, if not better.
And in better news: This Camarofongo is based on the authentic traditional Dominican mofongo.
Traditional Dominican mofongo
If the words "authentic traditional Dominican mofongo" come as a surprise to you, you're probably Boricua, and you're not alone. The first time I ate what is now the most popular version of mofongo (fried) I thought that it was just another Dominican dish I didn't grow up with.
While I was helping with some fact-checking for Ilana's masterful introduction to our Mofongo Recipe, I learned a whole lot myself. Mofongo is possibly a pan-Caribbean dish (it may exist in one way or another in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico). In an 1875 dictionary of Cuban words (1), I found a mention of a dish called "mogo" that sounds like something between a Mangú and a mofongo.
In Dominican cookbooks of the beginning of last century, all the recipes for mofongo were based on roasted plantain (2). I also remember that my grandma used to make something like this. Dominican mofongo, turns out, it's a thing, and was made with plantains roasted (asados) over hot ashes.
So, while we've put out to the world our informed opinion that fried mofongo comes from Puerto Rico, it's clear that Mofongo was a Dominican dish probably for just as long, and maybe --I speculate-- a proto-mofongo of a common African origin also found its way to Cuba. My belief that both mofongo and mangú came from our African side of the family perfectly explains how all this came to be.
About this recipe
So here I bring you a camarofongo: a shrimp mofongo. It is every bit as good as the fried one, and while not exactly the authentic Dominican one with chicharrones, this is an approximation.
Or perhaps it is an homage to our great-grandmas' mofongo.
Camarofongo Recipe (Shrimp Mofongo)
For the plantains
- 4 unripe plantains , peeled
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves mashed
Shrimp and sauce
- Wrap the plantains: Cut 4 pieces of aluminum foil big enough to wrap a plantain in each. Place each plantain on a piece of aluminum foil and wrap tightly.
- Roast the plantains: Cook in preheated oven at 350 ºF [175 ºC]. oven for 1 hour. Remove one from the oven, cut in the middle and make sure it is cooked through. If it isn't, wrap again and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.
- Cook garlic: In a pan heat olive oil over very low heat. Stir in garlic and sprinkle with salt. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring ocassionally, and making sure the heat is low enough that the garlic does not burn or change to a dark color. Set aside.
- Make plantain balls: Unwrap the plantains. Mash one by one in a mortar and pestle, adding to each plantain 1/4 of the oil and garlic. Form each plantain into a ball, or scoop into a bowl and make a hole in the center (see pictures), and serve with the shrimp.
Tips and Notes
(1) Amanda Ornes de Perelló, Cocina Criolla. Sto. Dgo: Ed. del Caribe, 1962.
"Mafongo (sic) [...] Se asan plátanos y se majn (sic) y se mezclan con chicharrón molido."
(1) Ligia de Bornia. Comidas Típicas Dominicanas. Sto. Dgo: Arte y Cine, 1965
"Mofongo [...] Maje los plátanos asados y los chicharrones en el mismo pilón."
(2) Esteban Pichardo. Diccionario Provincial Casi Razonado de Vozes y Frases Cubanas. Habana: Imp. El Trabajo, 1875
"[...]plátano salcochado y majado con manteca [...] En Bayamo . se denomina Mogo, que tal vez será síncopa de Mofongo, palabra de Nigricia, usada en algunas de las Antillas."