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spiced curiosity | mangú – plantains with red onions - spiced curiosity

Thursday, December 8, 2011

mangú – plantains with red onions

  • 2 unripe plantains — green, preferably
  • 1 large red onion — red! not white or yellow
  • 1/4 C. red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil — or pork drippings
  • water
  • salt

I realize something about myself. I love like crazy through food. I mean, I love people by making them food.

Last weekend my boyfriend took me to see his entire extended Dominican family (no pressure!). They are everything that epitomizes family to me: loud, loving, and caring. And, of course, food-centric. And while they stuffed me (literally: I could’ve hung myself above the fireplace and been identified as a new species of winter elk), I took notes. Now I’m slowly learning that I could dedicate the rest of my Dominican-cuisine education to just one solitary item: the plantain.


I didn’t grow up eating it, or even having heard of it. To me, food that makes me buzz with happy homesickness are more along the lines of buttermilk biscuits, tacos, and sweet potato pie (Southern for life). What is this plantain business. Bananas but no sweetness? Eat them while green?! Mix them with meat?!! Uh huh.


But I am in deep with this guy. One sweet look from him and I could eat green plantain peels the rest of my life. I have to make him food that makes him happy…because bizarrely enough it makes me ecstatic. So I aim to get acquainted with these crazy fruits, one way or another. Please enjoy.

Seriously simple recipe (thank goodness!). And it may seem like I’m bein’ a stickler here (especially with the ingredients), but I’m just relaying the recipe as close to the source (his mom) as possible.

First, dice the plantains into eighths. Place in pot, cover with water. Lightly salt. Bring to boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes (or until the fruit is tender).

While your pot is simmering (a watched pot never boils, aha), dice your onion into slivers. Now take a skillet and warm up 1 Tbsp of oil. When olive oil becomes fragrant, add the onion and 1/8 cup of vinegar (not all). Sauté by stirring occasionally; as vinegar reduces, add the second 1/8 cup. Onions are done when soft and translucent. Sprinkle over 1/8 tsp salt and stir together. Hopefully your plantains are done by now! Drain the fruit, and place in a big bowl. Take a regular fork and mash them until only medium-sized chunks are left. (Tip: gradually add a small stream of cold water to make the consistency smoother.)

Now bring the two beauties together! Mix the onions in with the plantains, salt to taste.

Voilá, mes amis.

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