Traditional mofongo is made with unripe (green) plantains. However, a new trend is taking place on the islands. Yuca (cassava) is being substituted for the plantains with tasty results. This recipe calls for frying fresh yuca, which gives you the best results. But, if it's not available to you, then you can use the frozen kind and boil them instead.
Mashing: You can mash the yuca using either the customary mortar and pestle method (my favorite), or use a potato masher. I've given you instructions for both.
Shaping: Mofongo can be shaped two ways. Most common is a half dome shape, which I use in this recipe. But, it's not unusual to find mofongo shaped into balls and consumed almost like a dumpling with stewed meats or beans.
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 3 1/2 pound yuca (cassava)
- Olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 3 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 6 slices bacon (crisply cooked)
- Preheat about two inches of oil in a frying pan or deep fryer to 350 Fahrenheit.
- While the oil is heating up, peel the yuca (cassava) and cut into half-inch rounds or pieces.
- Fry the prepared yuca until fork-tender. This will take approximately 6 to 8 minutes.
- Remove cooked yuca from the fryer and allow it to drain on paper towels.
Traditional Mortar and Pestle Method
- Coat the inside of a mortar with olive oil.
- Add half of a clove of garlic and a pinch of salt. Pound to make a garlic paste.
- Divide yuca into 6 equal portions. Add 1 portion of the fried yuca to the mortar. Pound the yuca and garlic paste into a mash by pounding down and towards the sides of the mortar. This action helps turn over and mix the ingredients.
- Dice one slice of bacon and add to the yuca mash.
- Keep rotating the mortar and pounding down towards the sides until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed into a smooth mash.
- Push all ingredients down to the bottom of the mortar. With the back of a spoon, smooth over and level off the mix. Then use the spoon to scrape around the mortar and remove the mash in a half dome shape.
- Repeat these steps six times to create six portions of cassava mofongo.
Potato Masher Method
- With the olive oil, lubricate the inside of the bowl where you will be mashing the yuca.
- Make a garlic paste with the garlic cloves and salt, then add it to the bowl.
- Add the fried yuca to the bowl and mash it together with the garlic paste using the potato masher.
- Dice the bacon and add to the yuca mash.
- Continue to mash all ingredients together until thoroughly mixed into a smooth mash. Divide into six equal portions.
- For each portion, use a small condiment bowl as a mold. Push the mash down to the bottom of the bowl. With the back of a spoon, smooth over and level off the mix. Then use the spoon to scrape around the bowl and remove the mash in a half dome shape. Make six.