National Mofongo Day is an annual event celebrated on September 24 that falls within Hispanic Heritage Month. Mofongo is a national dish on the island of Puerto Rico made from Spanish ingredients such as pork, garlic, olive oil, broth, and of course, the main ingredient plantain.
The delicacy is prepared by mashing the plantain in a wooden mortar with a pestle, then adding the spices and liquid elements such as the oil and pork fat to soften the blend. In Puerto Rico mofongo is served either during lunch or dinner or as a side dish with vegetables, chicken, shrimp, beef, or even octopus.
History of National Mofongo Day
The origins of mofongo can be traced to the West and Central African fufu. ‘Fufu’ or ‘foofoo’ is a starchy dough-like food made from mashing tubers like yam, cassava, and plantain. Same as mofongo, it is made using a mortar and pestle and served with sauces made with a stew of meat, chicken, fish, or vegetables.
The dish was introduced to Puerto Rico by slaves from Angola in the 1500s. The name ‘mofongo’ actually stems from an Angolan Kikongo term called ‘mfwenge-mfwenge,’ which means “a great amount of anything.” The main difference between African fufu and the Puerto Rican mofongo is that mofongo is generally quite dense and thicker than fufu, and it is often served as a main dish whereas fufu’s a side dish with a stew or soup of some sort. There are a few other distinctions between the two, like preparation. When making fufu the culinarian will use boiled plantain or cassava while when making mofongo the plantain is fried before mashing and mixing it with the other flavors such as olive oil and garlic.
Mofongo has been served on the island for nearly 150 years. It is one dish that blends African and Caribbean flavors uniquely and seamlessly. It is so richly flavored, with textures and vibrant colors. These among many other reasons are why Chef Jose Mendin felt the dish deserved its holiday. He picked out September 24 because it fell right within Hispanic Heritage Month, and he hoped that the day could be a source of pride for the people of Puerto Rico.
National Mofongo Day timeline
During the first Columbus expedition, a cafe serves Puerto Rican dishes that include mofongo.
The Spanish bring slaves from West Africa and among other materials they carry fufu.
The recipe is titled ‘Mofongo Criollo.’
Jose Mendin requests that National Day Archives add it to the list of holidays.
National Mofongo Day FAQs
Who makes the best mofongo?
There is still an ongoing war between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, both countries claim they invented the dish. But now, mofongo is made and is available in many countries across the globe; but according to some food experts, the best mofongo in the world is made in the United States.
Where do you find plantains?
There are two primary groups of plantains known as the French and Horn plantain, both of which have similar origins and are grown in India, Africa, Egypt, and tropical America. Generally, the plant grows in either sandy or rocky soil and needs a lot of sunlight.
How is mofongo served?
Mofongo is served with any choice of protein or vegetable. In Africa, it is enjoyed with a bowl of soup or stew; while in Puerto Rico, the dish is accompanied by shrimp, chicken broth, or sofrito made from vegetables and herbs.
National Mofongo Day Activities
Visit your favorite Puerto Rican Cafe
Mofongo is a staple dish for Puerto Ricans. A good way to celebrate is to have a hearty mofongo meal at your most beloved restaurant. If you’ve never been to one, now is as good a time as ever to explore.
Make it for dinner
Invite over some friends or family. There are many tasty recipes for mofongo on the Internet; pull out that mortar and pestle, get some plantain, and start mashing. We’re sure your guests will love it.
Share on social media
As we now know, the holiday is relatively new, so spread the word. and inform others about it. You can do so by sharing this holiday on your social media pages. Post a picture of the dish and share a little information about it.
5 THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT MOFONGO
They are big bananas
There aren’t major botanical distinctions between bananas and plantains apart from size.
They are eaten in many countries
Plantains are popular in West Africa, the Caribbean Islands, India, Central, and South America.
They are good for your diet
Plantains contain high levels of dietary fiber that boost digestion.
They are packed with vitamins
Plantains contain vitamin A and C, which are great for the immune system and eye health.
Plantains are good for the heart
They are high in potassium, which is important in maintaining heart rates and blood pressure.
Why We Love National Mofongo Day
It is a local favorite
Mofongo is one of Puerto Rico’s most precious dishes and it holds a special place in our hearts. We believe it is important to celebrate the things we all love.
It is very healthy
In this new healthy and earth-conscious world we are in, many people are looking for recipes that can be both healthy, tasty, and filling. Not only is mofongo savory but it can also satisfy our dietary needs and is cooked in several different ways.
It provides a mini-history lesson
By focusing on authentic cuisines with rich roots such as this, we are compelled to go down the lanes of history. Not only do we learn more about the food but we also learn more about the heritage behind it.
National Mofongo Day dates