Recipe for Puerto Rican Dish, “Monfongo”

420019_4541961827312_2146149392_nI don’t normally post recipes but this is a good one. My dad used to own a restaurant in Puerto Rico named, “El Coqui” after the indigenous frog from the island. It was where I got my work ethic. Dad worked six days a week and on the seventh there was no rest. That was when he bought up supplies for the small bistro-style place only 10 minutes from the beach. I know that sounds romantic and all but it really was all work and no play.

Even though I hated it at the time he passed on a wonderful work ethic which I believe has already been passed on to our daughter.

Anywho, on to the recipe. Oh and if you’re on a diet or worried about your caloric intake, stop reading now. Go buy my books instead because this will break your diet like a rampaging rhino in a tea shop. I’ve lost 60 pounds in the past year so I made this my only indulgent, diet-busting meal for the year. Onward.

First things first. You’ll need a mortar and pestle. In Puerto Rico it’s referred to as a “pilón” and looks something like this:


You don’t have to travel to Puerto Rico or any other Latin place to get one. Amazon has them. I even found the link for you here.

Now for the ingredients…

  •   Canola oil for frying
  •  4 cloves garlic, or to taste
  • Olive Oil
  • Two packages of bacon
  • Two green plantains (per serving). The plantains MUST be green, not yellow.
  • Garlic salt

Here’s the how…

  • Crush the garlic cloves and mix with olive oil inside of a mortar (pilon). This is so the monfongo doesn’t come out tasting like wood. Let it soak while you prep the other ingredients.
  • Fry the bacon and let it dry for 10 minutes. Then cut into small pieces about 1/4″ each.
  • Peel and slice the plantains into 1/2 inch rounds.
  • Fry the plantain chunks in corn oil until golden and crispy, but not brown. 
  • Each time you make one serving, make sure the mortar is soaked in olive oil and garlic.
  • Transfer the fried plantains into the bowl with the garlic mixture. Add bacon and garlic. Toss garlic salt to coat. Mash the coated plantains with the mortar and pestle until smooth. Season with garlic salt.(Yes, more garlic.) Be sure to taste periodically to make sure that there is enough garlic in the mixture.
  • Mash until half the mortar is filled. Take a spoon and move the edges away from the mortar. Turn the mortar upside down and bang it on the counter until the monfongo falls out. Serve in a bowl.

Separately (and optional):

Sautee shrimp in garlic and butter. Add to the monfongo bowl.

OR (and this is the way it is eaten traditionally)

Heat some chicken broth and pour over the monfongo (in a bowl).

That’s it. If you dare try this, please write me and let me know how it turned out. I’ve also created a PDF of it for easy download. Simply click on Monfongo.

Chat soon!


Leonardo Ramirez is an author of Children’s Steampunk, Speculative Science Fiction and a graphic novel. He is also a husband, father and a 3rd degree Black Belt in American Karate. You can visit his website, Science Fiction for the Human Condition at  His books are available for purchase on Amazon.

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