Beginner’s Guide: How to Make Traditional Dominican Mangú

Are you an adventurous eater? Do you like international food?

If you’re always on the hunt for the next unique flavor, then this delicious Dominican dish is for you. It’s made with plantains, and you won’t regret it.

Here are the best tips and tricks for making traditional mangú.

What Is Mangu?

If you’ve never been to the Dominican Republic or eaten from anyone’s kitchen who loves Dominican food, you probably don’t know. Mangú may be the best-kept secret from international cuisine lovers.

Even if you’ve had the chance to taste food from many cultures, this flavorful mashed plantain dish could be new to you. Traditional mangú means mashed green plantains topped with perfect fried onions, eggs, cheese, and salami.

Mangú Variations

Talk to native Dominicans and everyone’s mom or grandma had a different way of making mangú. This one’s grandma made it smooth, this one’s mom with lumps. It’s sort of like the tradition of American pancakes–everyone says their dad made better pancakes than every other dad on Saturday mornings growing up.

Any way you prep it, this dish is the perfect comfort food and satisfying for your taste buds. It’s hard to mess up mangú, but ripe plantains will do it in a hurry. The key is to use green plantains. These give it the thick, almost mashed potato feel in your mouth.

You can also have dryer mangú or one that’s more saucy, depending on your preference. In terms of spices, the traditional mangú doesn’t call for many. But you can add them for more flavor if you like.

And varying the sides can bring variation, too. Try adding avocado to the three hits (egg, cheese, salami), or “los tres golpes.” In some countries, this dish includes other kinds of meat.

Because Dominicans eat this meal for breakfast, the fried egg, cheese, and salami go well with it. Think of the plantains as a replacement for grits in the southern United States, or oatmeal in the north.

Other Caribbean cultures fry the plantains before mashing, instead of boiling.

How To Make Mangú: Tips and Tricks

Much of the food from the Dominican is heavy on the starches, and this is no different. Instead of rice or potatoes, you make mangú with plantains.

Preparing the Plantains

Make sure to choose green plantains, because yellow ones will be too sweet for a traditional mangú flavor. Then peel the plantains and boil them. You can take out the middles with the seeds if you want to give it a smoother texture.

It’s helpful to salt the water while boiling. Don’t use too much or the dish will be too salty. When they’re soft, mash them in the water with oil or butter.

Using a fork to mash should work fine because the plantains will be soft enough that it won’t be difficult. If you want to get fancy, though, you can use a hand mixer or a potato masher.

The more liquid you have, the smoother the texture and the softer it’ll stay. Mangú hardens as it cools, so be prepared to combat the gluey texture with extra water. The best way to soften mangú is to heat it up and slowly add more water while continuing to mash.

Remember if you like plantains, there are many other ways to prepare them. One dish you can try is tostones. They make a good side dish for lunch or dinner.

The Onions

It’s traditional to cook the onions, although some people garnish their mangú with raw ones. To achieve the right look, you’ll need to use red onions.

Cut very thin slices of the onion and fry while the plantains are cooking. You can use oil or butter, whatever tastes best to you. Oil is probably the most traditional.

Add vinegar and salt for flavor, and allow onions to get soft and a little caramelized before you serve them on top of the mangu.

Los Tres Golpes

Dominican mangu, fried eggs, fried cheese and Dominican salami on white plate.
Dominican Tres Golpes

Breakfast isn’t complete without the eggs and meat. The third part of the delicious trio known as los tres golpes is cheese. All three get fried and served next to the mangú.

Fry the salami like you would bacon, in the same pan as the onions. Cook until they’re brown on each side, but not burned.

Most often you fry the eggs sunny side up. This means you don’t flip them. Yet you can also fry them on both sides or scramble them.

Use the salami/onion pan for the eggs as well, to pick up their flavors and help blend it all together.

Doing the cheese is easy. You coat the slices in corn starch, and fry them in oil. You can even use the same pan again.

When you fry the cheese, make sure that you let the oil get very hot first. Don’t put too many slices of cheese in together because they will cool the oil down. If the oil is too cold, the cheese won’t cook fast enough and instead will start to melt.

You can cook only a few slices at a time, and fry quickly in the hot oil until each side turns golden. Serve all the sides with the mangú for a traditional Dominican breakfast.

Latin American Cuisine

From traditional mangú to all the variations, there is something for everyone with this delicious Dominican breakfast food. Use these tips and tricks for the plantains, the onions, and los tres golpes to get the most out of your experience.

And don’t stop there. If you love Dominican food, there’s lunch and dinner to consider, too. For more ideas on what to make next, read more of our blog. Our you can check out more authentic Dominican recipes too!

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