Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mangu with Sauteed Peppers and Fried "Cheese"

Tonight's dinner was so delicious and fun!  It started out not being either fun or interesting because I had several green plantains that were becoming a little ripe and needed using very quickly.  I didn't know what to make, even though I have successfully made several things from green plantains: Tostones (Double Fried Plantains), Mofongo (Double Fried Plantains mashed with lots of garlic and broth) and Mangu (Mashed Boiled Plantains).  However, I know there are so many more things to make with them and would definitely like to learn more about them, but I really wasn't in the mood today.  I have worked with several women from Peurto Rico who told me about other green plantain dishes, and I know the Hubby has told me about several as well, but I would need to do some research before I really get into it.  I would want to give the Hubby something that is as close to traditional as possible.  The other things I would like to make are: 1) Aranitas (shredded plantain fritter - kind of like a hashbrown), 2) Jibarito (a sandwich where fried plantains are used instead of bread, slathered in garlic mayo, some kind of "meat", cheese, lettuce & tomato - yum!) and 3) Pastelon de Platano (plantain lasagna with "meaty layers").  All sound good, right?  I just need to figure out how to make them as traditionally as possible, but veganized.  Hubby is not very good at giving recipes.  I really need a plantain cookbook or to find a great Dominican website.

So, back to the meal.  I was just going to make tostones because they're easy.  But Mangu is easy too and that's what the Hubby wanted. 

Mangu with Sauteed Peppers & Fried "Cheese":

Mangu, Sauteed Peppers & Yummy Fried Cheese

Serves 2-3

3 green plantains, peeled, sliced in half and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Earth Balance
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoons black pepper

Sauteed Peppers:
2 small orange bell peppers, sliced thinly, about 2 cups
1 small green pepper, sliced thinly, about 1 cup
1 small onion, sliced thinly, about 3/4 cup
1 1/2-3 teaspoons vegetable boullion powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Fried Cheese:
4 oz. chunk of daiya, sliced into pieces and placed in the freezer until very cold and firm
1/2" canola or vegetable oil

1.  Start with the plantains.  The easiest way to peel them is to cut off both of the ends and make a slice the long way down the plantain with a pairing knife.  Then use the back of a spoon to remove the peel in sections.  It seems strange, but this is by far the best and easiest way I have found to peel those bad boys. 
2.  Slice the plaintains in half the long way, then cut the halves into about 3-4 pieces, depending on the size of the plaintains.  This is just to help the plantain cook more evenly.  Place the peeled, sliced plantains in a medium pot filled with water and place on the stove over high heat.  Allow the plantains to cook until they are very easily pierced with a fork.
3.  In the meantime, prepare the veggies to be sauteed.  In a medium pan over medium-high heat, add the oil.  Allow it to become hot and then add the orange and green bell peppers and the onion.  Stir frequently to prevent burning.  Once the veggies have softened slightly, but still maintain their crunch, add the boullion powder and black pepper, seasoning to taste.  Keep hot while preparing the rest of the food.
4.  For the Mangu, drain the cooked plantains and place back in the pot.  Mash with a potato masher until the pieces are even in size.  The mixture will be very dry.  Add the minced garlic, earth balance, sea salt and black pepper and mash together again.  Add the cold water and mash until the desired consistency is achieved.  You can add more water as you wish, but it must be cold.
5.  The last and optional step is the fried cheese.  It is totally not necessary, but oh so damn delicious.  The trick is to partially freeze the daiya until it is very firm, but not frozen all the way through.  Place the oil in a small pot and bring the heat up to medium-high.  Once it is hot, very carefully place the cheese into the oil.  It will sputter and make a lot of noise, but it will be okay- just be very careful.  Use a long fork to turn the cheese over.  Allow it to cook for an additional 30-60 seconds, until lightly browned and soft.  Remove from the oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels. 
6.  To serve, I like to lightly oil a small mug and place the mashed plantains inside, pressing them in tightly.  Then, unmold them onto your plate, surround with the sauteed veggies and top with the fried cheese, if desired.




  1. My family makes pastelon regularly. I suspect you can use TVP to substitute for the meat. Ive used ground turkey--which is about as far as my family will go. (To them, if it's not red meat, it's "vegetarian") Eggs are also added to keep the layers together, but Im not sure what would be a good substitute for that. Good luck!

    1. Thanks for the suggestions! My hubby is surprisingly up to trying most of my veganized Dominican food, which I love. I enjoy learning about the things he ate growing up and modifying them so we can eat them together.