The classic Puerto Rican dish with a deli twist! Pastrami Mofongo is delicious on its own or topped with more meat and Mustard Amba.
It’s crazy that we have lived in Puerto Rico for a year now! (Yes, island life is the inspiration behind Pastrami Mofongo.) But not much crazier than the fact that I moved from Austin to San Francisco 2.5 years ago as a fun single lady, and now I’m an ever more fun married lady living in Puerto Rico! It just shows that life can change very quickly, if you put yourself out there and see where it takes you. If you told me three years ago where I’d be now, I just wouldn’t believe it (well I sort of would believe it, because it does sound like me.)
We couldn’t be happier! Married life has been grand so far. It does feel a little different, a little extra special to call Andrew my husband now. And our wedding was perfection if I do say so myself. It was personal and colorful and full of everyone we love plus lots of love. What more could you want? I’ll write a recap post soon, but here are some photos on Instagram for now.
And we have settled right into married life. The first week, Andrew had to dispose of two dead birds that got stuck in our window. #manlythings Week two, I almost sent blank thank you notes out automatically to all our guests (I ordered addressed envelopes but meant to send them to us blank to fill out, not to the guests directly!) Well now we are bird free and the correct thank you notes are safely in hand. Next up, our honeymoon this winter!! Yay.
Anyway, back to the Puerto Rico food portion of this post. Mofongo is fried plantains mashed with chicharrones and garlic and deliciousness. It is super popular in Puerto Rico, usually topped with a tasty sauce or two and a meat or fish for a complete and filling meal. Since chicharrones aka pork rinds are not kosher, I set out for a kosher substitute for you. Enter, pastrami! Some gribenes thrown in there wouldn’t hurt either. It added a rich and meaty quality that was delicious in mofongo form, especially topped with Israeli amba sauce. Which is a spicy pickled mango sauce that seemed to add to the tropical vibe!
Have you had fried plantains ever? They are delicious and easy to make! Especially mixed with mayochup (which is exactly what you think it is, a mayo and ketchup hybrid.)
Then you mash everything up- if you have one of those mortar and pestle things that would help here! If not, two forks or a wooden spoon works too. It’s easier to mash if you don’t super brown your tostones (fried plantains) as I learned the hard way, but those brown bits do add flavor. So slightly lighter than the photo above!
Ooh it’s looking good now! Then mold in a ramekin and top with more pastrami, and amba sauce or the sauce of your choice! Maybe a horseradish sauce?!
You could also top it with chicken shawarma maybe or shawarma churrasco? I like these ideas.
So cute! I garnished with cilantro too because it needed color (why is all the most delicious food brown?) but you do you.
- 4 green plantains, sliced 1-inch thick
- Oil for frying (such as canola)
- Salt to taste
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ pound of pastrami, diced, reserve a slice for garnish
- ¼ cup olive oil or schmaltz
- ¼ - ½ cup chicken stock
- Pepper to taste
- Cilantro for garnish
- Amba sauce
- First, some plantain peeling tips! I trim the ends and then score with a knife the long way and then peel away the skin. It looks like a banana, but is not that easy to peel!
- In a large heavy bottom pan, heat two inches of oil over medium heat. Fry the plantains until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Don't brown them too much or they will be harder to mash. Trust me! You may need to fry in batches.
- Then lower heat to low, remove some of the oil, and add garlic and fry until fragrant and soft.
- Add the diced pastrami to the pan just to warm it.
- Mash the plantains with a mortar and pestle with olive oil, stock, pastrami, salt and pepper to taste. Add more stock and oil if it's too tough and mash until it's uniform.
- Mold them in a small bowl or ramekin- I really pushed the mofongo in there and place on a plate.
- Top with pastrami and cilantro garnish and serve warm ideally with amba sauce. (You can re-heat in a warm oven before serving.)