Mashed Green Plantains With Shrimp (Mofongo con Camarones)

Plantains are grown in tropical regions around the world and found in a variety of cuisines. They’re a type of banana with a very different flavor profile and culinary application than the sweet, yellow banana with which most people are familiar. Like bananas, plantains are originally from Southeast Asia. However, they are now grown all over the world, including in India, Egypt, Indonesia and tropical regions of the Americas, especially the Caribbean.

Plantains are usually larger and tougher than bananas, with much thicker skin. They may be green, yellow or very dark brown. Plantains are starchy, tough, not very sweet, and require cooking. Green and yellow plantains are often sliced, fried and eaten as a fritter called tostones, a popular dish all over the Caribbean. When sliced very thinly before frying, tostones can be eaten more like chips. Another common dish from these regions is known as maduros. Maduros are a sweeter take on plantains in which very ripe, dark plantains are fried or baked in oil until the outside caramelizes.

Even though arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) is considered Puerto Rico’s national dish, it is Mofongo that is arguably its most important dish. This dish of green plantains fried and mashed together with oil, garlic, salt, and sometimes chicharron (fried pork skin), exemplifies the heart and soul of the island…different backgrounds coming together over time to create something enchanting.

When the Spanish began to colonize the island in the early 1500s, the brought slaves from West Africa to work in the sugar plantations. Those slaves brought the staple from their home lands called fufu, boiled root vegetables (yam, plantains, or yams) that are pounded into balls and served as a side. The locals modified fufu by mashing the ingredients in a pilon (mortar and pestle) and frying rather than boiling. They also took it up another level by cooking the fried plantain in the uniquely Puerto Rican cooking base of onions, garlic, and peppers called sofrito.

Mofongo con Camarones – Puerto Rican Mashed Plantains with Shrimp

The basic mofongo is served as a side dish to a protein, similar to fufu or mashed potatoes. In Puerto Rico, the most common way to eat mofongo is to fill it with meat, seafood, or vegetables (mofongo relleno). This recipe matches creamy mofongo with shrimp bathed in a garlicky sauce.
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Course: Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Caribbean, Puerto Rico
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Large frying pan or skillet
  • Large bowl
  • Colander
  • Potato masher.



  • 3 large Green plantains
  • 1 large Black plantain (ripe)
  • 5 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 medium Red bell peppers
  • 5 strips Bacon, sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ cup Cilantro, chopped
  • ½ tsp Smoked paprika (or sweet paprika)
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Camarones al Ajillo (Shrimp)

  • 1 lb Medium shrimp; cooked, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • ¼ cup Lime juice
  • 3 tbsp Garlic, chopped
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup Parsley chopped (or cilantro)



  • Prepare Plantains – Cut end off of plantains and cut a deep vertical slit. Seperate off peel and cut into 1-inch slices. Soak in salted water for 15 minutes. Drain and dry well.
    Heat oil in a medium-hot wide pan. Place plantains cut-side down and cook 3-4 minute on each side. The disks should be a golden brown color. Careful not to let them turn dark brown and add more oil if necessary. Remove to paper towels to drain.
  • Cook Vegetables – Add bacon to frying pan and cook 5 minutes. Add onion and red pepper and continue cooking until bacon is crisp and onions are soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  • Complete Mofongo – Place plantains in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher. Mash-in garlic, spices, and cilantro. Scrape pan with the cooked onions, bacon, and red pepper into bowl and knead everything with hands until well mixed.
    Shape a large balls of mofongo with your hands and then flatten slightly on serving plates. Serve as a side like mashed potatoes or surround with Shrimp in Garlic Sauce.

Camarones al Ajillo

  • Place shrimp in a colander with 1 tsp salt for 15 minutes. Pat dry. In a wide frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and lightly brown. Add shrimp, salt and pepper, and lime juice. Cook until shrimp turn pink and garlic has blended in. Remove from heat, mix in parsley or cilantro, and pour around mofongo and serve.


  • Shrimp can be served separately along side of rice and with bread for dipping.
  • Replace bacon with 2-3 tbsp oil if not using.
  • Don’t overcook the plantains or they might be too dry. If they seem dry when mashing, add a little oil. Too dry and they will be crumbly when shaping into balls.
  • For a prettier presentation, lightly oil a small bowl, press a quarter of the mofongo into the bowl. Lightly place bowl upside-down over a serving bowl and remove bowl. 

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