How to Make Traditional Mofongo

How to Make Traditional Mofongo

Mofongo is a very popular dish in Puerto Rico that is made with green plantains. Plantains grow in the tropics, and is within the banana family (see image below). Some grocery stores in the states carry plantains, especially if there is a Latin community in the area. Mofongo is a very versatile dish, you can enjoy it stuffed, or as a side dish.​ I give it my healthy twist by frying in refined coconut oil, but you can fry in any oil you wish. Plantains are also super healthy. Calorie wise, they are similar to a potato, but they are a rich source of fiber, vitamins A, C, B-6, magnesium and potassium. They are also a great carb alternative in a Paleo Diet, and are Vegan friendly too. 

Ingredients: ​(2-3 servings​)

  • 3 large green plantains (platano macho)
  • Refined coconut oil or oil of choice ​(for frying)
  • 1 or 2 Garlic cloves
  • Optional: Pork rinds 
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 

You’ll need a mortar and pestle (aka pilon). Find the one on the picture above on Amazon

Directions: 

  • Peel the plantain using a knife. (It’s easier to peel if you do it under water) 
  • Cut the plantain in 1-inch pieces. ​(see image below)
  • In a frying pan, add about 1 cup of oil. Heat the oil to medium heat.
  • Fry the plantain pieces on both sides.  Plantains should look golden yellow/brown and cooked until soft enough to stick a fork in them easily. ​(see image below)
  • For an even healthier mofongo, boil the plantains until soft, instead of frying them. 
  • Remove plantains from heat (or drain if you boiled them). 
  • In a mortar and pestle (pilon) mince 1/2 or 1 small garlic clove. 
  • Mash the plantains a little at a time. Start mashing the plantain while mixing it with the garlic, add olive oil or butter if the plantain looks dry and not sticking together.  Also add salt and pepper (or adobo) to taste and pork rinds if you wish. 
  • Repeat with the rest of the plantains. 
  • The plantains should be soft and consistent enough that you can shape it into a ball or small balls. 
  • Typically it’s served with a bowl of broth. Can also be served as a side dish with meats, fish, seafood, etc. 
  • You can use ripe plantains instead (for a sweeter mofongo) or a mix of both green and ripe.

Note:  I personally don’t use pork rinds. I added them as an option because it’s a key ingredient in the traditional mofongo.

Either way, it’s all delicious! 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Check out our other recipes on the blog, and make sure you are in our Facebook Group @HealthyLatinos

Made with Love, 

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide

Green and ripe plantains.

Peeled and cut in pieces. 

Fried (cooked) plantains. 

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Puerto Rican “Pinchos” (Shish Kabobs) Plus Secret Sauce

Puerto Rican “Pinchos” (Shish Kabobs) Plus Secret Sauce

“Pinchos” is what Puerto Ricans call good ol’ shish kabobs. They are considered one of the best street foods on the island. Mainly because they are delicious, and pretty affordable when you are on the go. They are typically made with chicken or pork, but chicken are definitely the most popular. Here I will teach you how to make them as they have the potential to be a sensation during your next bbq. Plus, I will also share the SECRET SAUCE that made my best friends dad a hit during the 90’s when he lost his job and put up a little stand in front of their house. They would sell out every time! That’s how I learned how to make pinchos and the secret sauce… I’d come over to visit my best friend, and was offered to work for a bit in exchange for free food. It was a win win, and I was one a happy teenager with my belly filled with pinchos. 🙂 

What you’ll need: (Makes approx. 24 pinchos) 

  • Approximately, 6 lbs of chicken thighs (boneless & skinless)
  • Adobo for seasoning (check out my homemade recipe HERE)
  • 3 medium yellow onions
  • 3 large green peppers
  • Shish kabobs sticks
  • 16 oz or 2 cups of BBQ sauce
  • 16 oz or 2 cups of Thousand Island dressing (yup! that’s the secret sauce) 

Directions: 

  • Cut the chicken thighs into square pieces. Between 2-3 inches thick. Cut off the fat (white chunks) if needed. Depending on the size, you can get 4 to 6 pieces from each thigh. Add chunks to a large bowl.
  • Season the meat thoroughly with the Adobo seasoning. If Adobo is not available, add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
  • Chop the onions and peppers into approximately 1-2 inch squares . (See picture below)
  • Prepare the pinchos/shish kabobs by adding a chunk of meat, one slice of each of the onion and pepper, and repeat the process until the stick is full. To avoid the meat from flopping out, you can fold or twist the meat before adding to the stick. (See picture below)
  • Cook on a charcoal or gas grill on medium/low heat to avoid burning. Slight burning might occur on the outside, especially when cooking with charcoal. That is why low heat is recommended to allow the meat to cook thoroughly.
  • Depending on the thickness of the meat, it will take approximately 45 – 60 mins to cook. The thinner you cut the meat, the faster it cooks.
  • For the sauce, add 2 cups of bbq sauce, and 2 cups of thousand island into a large bowl. Divide into 2 bowls. One is for applying onto the raw chicken, and one to apply right before serving.
  • Add the sauce mixture onto the raw pinchos immediately after placing them on the grill.
  • Close/Cover the grill.
  • Half way through, flip the pinchos, and add another layer of sauce. Continue to add sauce, every time you flip the pinchos.
  • Be careful and do not use the same utensils used to add the sauce onto the raw meat, onto the cooked meat.
  • Add the last layer of sauce right before serving.
  • Serve with a slice of Italian style bread (or how we call it “pan de agua”) on top (not shown in pictures).
  • Enjoy! 

Made with lots of love, 

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide

P.S. Stay tuned for the release of our new book; Healthy Rican – How to make traditional Puerto Rican food in a healthy way! Pre-Register to get notified when the book comes out. 

Funfetti Healthy Cake!

Funfetti Healthy Cake!

I’ve been craving funfetti cake for weeks now. Probably because I’ve been watching lots of Netflix’ Nailed It during this quarantine. I hope they have another season, because I totally want to audition. I’m definitely no baker, but I love it! And I love to give baking a healthy twist as well. Sugar, dairy, and gluten are like my kryptonite, so I love making healthy alternatives that actually taste good! This cake is just that, because even the kids liked it. 

Funfetti Healthy Cake

Ingredients: 

  • ¾ cup softened organic butter (or plant based butter) 
  • 1 cup coconut sugar for low-glycemic ​(or regular cane sugar if preferred)
  • 4  eggs
  • ½ cup almond or coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups almond flour​ 
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Organic or regular sprinkles

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  • Makes 12 cupcakes or two 8-inch round cake pans. 
  • Line with parchment or cupcake paper. Or oil the pans and set aside.
  • Mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs (one at a time) and beat until completely blended.
  • Add milk, vanilla extract and mix well. 
  • In a separate bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until smooth and creamy.
  • Fold in the sprinkles.
  • Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake or cupcake pans. 
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Test with a toothpick in the center of the cake to see if it’s ready. Toothpick should come out clean.
  • Allow the cake to completely cool down before applying the buttercream. 

For the buttercream:

  • 1 softened stick of butter (or plant based butter)
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar and/or sugar replacement Swerve (a mixture of stevia and monk fruit). You can find this at any health food store and/or Thrive Market online. If desired, you can add half cup of each, for a still sweet but less sugar alternative. 
  • 2 tbs of almond or coconut milk

Directions: 

  • Add all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix all the ingredients with a hand mixer or by hand until the butter cream is nice and fluffy. Slowly add more powdered sugar if needed, or until you achieve a desired consistency. 
  • Apply to the cake and/or cupcakes. Decorate with sprinkles. 

For more healthy recipes like this, download my FREE Healthy Desserts Ebook

I hope you enjoy! 

Made with love, 

Mayra 

Your Nutrition Dork Guide

Healthy Puerto Rican “Gazpacho”

Healthy Puerto Rican “Gazpacho”

Gazpacho is a cold dish made with “Bacalao.” Bacalao is salted codfish that is used in many ways in Puerto Rican dishes, and it’s actually one of the healthiest. It’s high in protein, omegas, and healthy fats.

Codfish health benefits include; high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, the same type found in oily fish or seafood like salmon, mackerel and sardines. It’s also one of the few and best vitamin D–rich foods. No wonder our ancestors were so healthy, they would eat bacalao almost every day.

Omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats are proven to improve joint mobility, brain function, reduce inflammation, improve overall health, and much more. Check out more of the benefits in the resources below.

Nutrition Dork Tip: Make sure the package says “Wild Caught” and/or codfish from Alaska. Due to ocean contamination, we need to make sure we get our fish and any other seafood from great healthy sources.

GAZPACHO RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of fully cooked boneless salted cod or pollock fish fillets (pollock is a marine fish species of the cod family)
  • 2 or 3 small ripe avocados (the more the merrier)
  • 1 or 1/2 small chopped yellow or red onion (your preference)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 – 3 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional: 1 tsp of vinegar or squeezed lemon (maintains the freshness of the salad)
  • Pink salt (if needed) and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Rinse the salt of the fish very well (2 or 3 times). You can also soak overnight or for a few hours. I usually rinse the fish very well, then boil it to remove the excess salt. Sporadically taste the fish to make sure it’s to your liking.
  • Let it cool and rinse with cold water.
  • In a large bowl mix the chopped avocados, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.
  • Pull the fish into flakes and make sure there are no stray bones.
  • Add the fish to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix very well.
  • Add pepper to taste and salt if needed. The fish might still have some remaining salt.
  • Serve immediately and ENJOY!
  • You can refrigerate for up to 24 hours but it’s best when served immediately.
  • Typically this dish is served inside soft roll, or with white rice as shown in the picture. 
  • Other healthy pairings are, 1 cup of brown rice, and/or cooked quinoa, for a low-carb option.  
  • If served with quinoa, this dish is high in protein, omegas, and healthy fats. All proven to promote weight loss, so ENJOY!!

Note: For a healthy vegan option, omit the fish and add over greens for a tasty and delicious salad!

Buen Provecho!

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide!

 

Resources:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3#section14

https://draxe.com/omega-3-benefits-plus-top-10-omega-3-foods-list/

http://nourishingtraditions.com/are-we-over-dosing-on-omega-3s-or-why-we-need-fish-liver-oil-not-fish-oil/

Cauliflower “Arroz con Pollo”

Cauliflower “Arroz con Pollo”

My first time trying this and it came out perfect! 

It tasted like Puerto Rican “arroz con pollo.” A bit mushy, but if you are okay with that, and just looking for the flavor to satisfy your craving, then you are in luck! It’s a great alternative for a low-carb diet. 

Here’s the recipe! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb – cooked pulled chicken
  • 1-2 tbs – healthy fat of choice
  • 1-2 tbs – homemade “sofrito
  • 1-2 tbs – homemade “sazón
  • 1-2 tbs – homemade “adobo
  • Optional: olives, diced red peppers, and onions.
  • 2 tbs – plain tomato sauce
  • 2 lbs – cauliflower rice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  • For the chicken, boil 2-3 chicken breasts for approximately 10 minutes or until pink is gone. Let cool and pull the chicken in treads using 2 forks.
  • In a separate pot, add healthy fat and “sofrito” on high temperature until the “sofrito” sizzles and releases the aroma.
  • Quickly mix together the “sazón”, “adobo”, and tomato sauce. At this moment you can also add any olives, onions, peppers, or any extra ingredients you’d like to add.
  • Add the chicken, mix well with all the ingredients until the chicken absorbs the color and flavor.
  • Add the cauliflower and mix well.
  • Add the salt and pepper to taste.
  • Lower temperature and cover.
  • Do not add water. The cauliflower will release juices as it cooks.
  • Cook on low for approximately 10-15 minutes, mixing in between to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

NOTE: Make sure the flavor is to your liking. Everyone makes Puerto Rican foods in different ways. My rule of thumb is, if you are familiar with Puerto Rican food, start the recipe as you normally would at the beginning. When it comes time to add the rice and water, you’d add the cauliflower rice instead, minus the water. The cauliflower will release juices as it cooks and there is no need for extra water. 

Enjoy!! 

Made with love, 

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide 

Finished product! Yummy! 

 References: 

https://draxe.com/healthy-cooking-oils/
https://empoweredsustenance.com/lard-is-healthy/

Puerto Rican Sofrito

Puerto Rican Sofrito

Everyone makes Puerto Rican sofrito in their own way. Just like cooking, we all have our own styles. This is my personal way of making sofrito. You will find that everyone makes it slightly different. There isn’t a perfect, right or wrong way, we all have our own “Sabor” aka style. After making sofrito a few times, and cooking with it, you’ll be able to play around with the recipe and make it your own.

Made with more red, yellow, and orange peppers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small bag of yellow onions
  • About the same amount of onions, buy a variety of peppers (green, red, orange, yellow). It’s your choice, although they can all be green.
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (and/or culantro)
  • 6 to 8 oz. of peeled garlic cloves. I don’t measure, but I’d say about 2 or 3 handfuls. I like a lot of garlic so I buy a pack of already peeled garlic cloves and put it all in there.

The next 2 ingredients are optional, as these are harder to find in stores sometimes. It all depends on where you live, and how much access you have to Latino groceries. No biggie if you can’t find these, as cilantro and bell peppers are very similar in flavor.

  • About 2 handfuls of “Ajisito” aka “Aji dulce” (similar to a sweet pepper).
  • 1 bunch of “Recao” aka culantro. In stores, it would be near the cilantro as they are very similar in taste. If you do find it, it’ll be long green leaves and probably say “Recao” on it.

Note: You would add these in addition to the other ingredients.

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together in a blender, if it’s too hard to mix, add a bit of water or oil until they start to blend. If they don’t all fit, you can start a bit at a time or in batches.

To store; Keep 1 jar or container in the fridge to use as needed, and freeze the rest.  You can either use various plastic containers or use ice cube trays to freeze the sofrito in portions, then move to a large ziplock bag, and save in the freezer. It’s all up to you!

Sofrito is a very important ingredient in Puerto Rican cooking, and even on a daily basis. It’s used in rice, beans, stews, soups, meats, and more. It’s what gives Puerto Rican foods it’s amazing flavor.

Depending on what I’m making, I use about 1 or 2 tbs at a time. It all depends on the amount of food you are making. Examples, for 1 can of beans, I’d use 1 tbs, and for 3 cups of rice, I’d use 2 tbs. It is all preference, and you may have to play around with it to find out yours.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and able to apply to your next Puerto Rican dish!

Made with love,

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide

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