This creamy Dominican-style mangú is made by mashing boiled, green plantains with butter, salt, and reserved cooking water. Top with sautéed red onions and serve with eggs, salami and fried cheese for a traditional Dominican breakfast!
What is mangú?
Mangú is an iconic Dominican dish made from green plantains that are boiled and mashed with reserved cooking water, butter, and salt. Mangú has a mild but unique taste and a rich, starchy texture.
The dish is usually topped with sautéed onions and served con los tres golpes – which is a trio of queso frito (fried cheese), fried salami and fried eggs. Although typically served for breakfast, mangú can also be eaten for lunch or dinner.
There are rumors about where the name ‘mangú’ comes from but since there doesn’t appear to be any validity to these claims and I don’t like to spread rumors, I’m not going to publish them here.
Why this recipe works
A trick I learned from my friend Wendy is to shock the plantains with a few cubes of ice while mashing them so that the mangú doesn’t harden. This step is optional but highly recommended if you enjoy creamy, silky mangú!
If you don’t want to try the ice trick, you should at least let the reserved cooking water cool to room temperature. I usually cover the drained plantains to keep them warm while the reserved water cools.
Also, there are no special tools needed to make mangú. All you need is a fork or masher!
Commonly asked questions
Because it’s made from boiled plantains, mangú is one of the healthier ways to prepare plantains. Much like bananas, plantains are very high in fiber, potassium and other vitamins and minerals. You can reduce the amount of butter, or use olive oil in its place to cut down on the amount of fat in the dish.
For fork-tender plantains, you’ll want to boil them for about 25 minutes. Cooking instructions are below.
Yes, mangú itself can be veganized by substituting the butter with olive oil or margarine. For vegan mangú though you obviously wouldn’t serve it with los tres golpes, which is a trio of fried eggs, cheese and salami.
Yes! Mangú is completely gluten-free since it is made from plantains. Gluten comes from wheat and there are no wheat products in mangú.
Variations and similar dishes
Here are some dishes from other cultures that are similar to mangú:
- Fufu de platano – Cuban dish very similar to mangú, often made with bacon or pork cracklings
- Mofongo – popular non-breakfast dish from Puerto Rico that’s made from green plantains that are fried rather than boiled.
Mangú is made using only a few basic ingredients! Refer to the recipe card for specific quantities and measurements.
- Unripe plantains – they have to be green! You can store them in the refrigerator to keep them from ripening.
- Unsalted butter – added for flavor and texture.
- Kosher salt – to salt the plantains.
- Sliced red onions – all you really need is vinegar and olive oil to prepare the onions. Fresh lime, a pinch of sugar and fresh garlic are optional.
A few ways that you can modify this recipe:
- Olive oil – a healthier alternative to butter and even softens the texture of mangú. A great substitute if you want to make vegan mangú!
- Margarine – some people prefer it over butter. It’s actually softer and easier to mash than butter. Another great substitute if you’re making vegan-friendly mangú.
- White or yellow onions – can be used instead of red onions.
- White vinegar – can be used instead of cider vinegar
- Don’t substitute yellow plantains – not saying that mashed sweet plantains aren’t delicious, it’s just not mangú 🙂
- Feel free to omit the sugar, lime and garlic from the onions – a lot of traditional mangú recipes don’t call for these ingredients although some people do prepare the onions this way.
How to make mangú
All steps and measurements are in the recipe card. Here is a detailed breakdown of each step, with photos:
Step 1: Prepping the onions
Start off by placing the sliced onions in a small bowl. Combine the apple cider vinegar and sugar together in a separate cup or small bowl. I like to add just a tiny squeeze of lime juice to this mixture but you don’t have to.
Pour the mixture over the thinly sliced onions and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
Step 2: Peeling and slicing the plantains
While the onions are sitting, peel the plantains by cutting off the ends and running a sharp knife along the ridges of the plantain. Use the blade of your knife to lift the peel from the flesh and then use your fingers to peel back the casing from the flesh.
Slice the plantains into 1 or 2-inch long pieces and then slice each of these pieces down the middle.
Step 3: How to boil plantains
Place the plantains in a pot and and cover them with water. Add a tablespoon of kosher salt and stir. Boil over a medium-high flame for 25 minutes. The plantains will become tender enough where you can easily pierce them with a fork.
Step 4: Cooking the onions
Once the boiled plantains have about 10 minutes left of cooking time, transfer the onions and vinegar mixture to a small saucepan. Add the olive oil and grate the garlic over the onions. Sauté for 5-10 minutes over medium-low heat, or just until the onions become tender.
Cover and set the onions aside.
Step 5: Mashing the plantains
Once tender, drain the plantains and reserve the cooking water. Place the plantains back in the pan, add the cubes of butter and mash.
If you’re using a fork to mash the plantains, it may be easier to mash them on a plate or in a very shallow bowl. Keep mashing until you’ve reached your desired texture.
It’s ok to add more water if you want a looser texture. Season with more salt as needed.
Tip: Add a few ice cubes while mashing the plantains to prevent the mangú from hardening. If you don’t want to use ice, let the cooking water come to room temperature before mashing to prevent the mangú from getting hard.
Step 6: Serving the mangú
Top the mangú with onions and serve right away with eggs, Dominican fried salami or fried cheese!
Reheating and storing leftovers
Leftover mangú will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. you can reheat in a steamer or microwave but I like refrigerate any reserved cooking water, simmer it in a pan, add the mangú and mash again until creamy. You can also use regular water for this step if you didn’t save the cooking water.
I threw in a few tips throughout this post. Listing them here and adding a few others so you don’t have to go back and search for them!
- Green plantains can stain your fingers, so use gloves if you have a fresh manicure!
- Use room temperature water or add a few ice cubes while mashing to prevent the mangú from hardening
- You can use a masher like I did in the photos but I prefer to use a fork because it makes the mangú extra creamy and soft.
- Add a little extra water to your mangú for a softer, looser texture
- If you’re storing leftovers, it’s also a good idea to reserve any leftover cooking water in the fridge separately. You can heat it and use it to mash your leftover mangú!
Other recipes you’ll love
- Pigeon Peas and Rice (Arroz con Gandules Recipe)
- Easy Morir Soñando Recipe with Lime (Dominican Drink)
- How to Make Tostones (Platanos Fritos)
- Fried Sweet Plantains (Maduros Recipe)
- Ensalada Rusa (Dominican Potato Salad)
Dominican Mangú (Mashed Boiled Plantains)
- 4 green plantains
- 1 small red onion thinly sliced
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 or 2 lime wedges
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- ⅔- 1 cup reserved cooking water
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Start off by placing the sliced onions in a small bowl. Mix the apple cider vinegar, sugar and a squeeze of lime together in a small cup. Pour this mixture over the onions and set aside.
- Peel and slice plantains into 1 or 2-inch rounds and then slice each round down the center.
- Place the plantains in a 3-quart pan and cover them with water. Add the salt and boil for 25 minutes or until the plantains are fork-tender.
- Once the plantans have about 10 minutes left of boiling time, transfer the onions and vinegar to a small saucepan. Add the olive oil and garlic and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or just until they become tender.
- Drain the plantains and reserve the cooking water. Place the plantains back in the pan mash them with butter. Add 2-3 ice cubes (optional) and keep mashing. Add the cooking water and continue to mash until all of the big lumps are gone. For looser mangú, feel free to add a little extra water. Once you've gotten the mangú as smooth as you can, taste it and season it with salt and pepper as needed. Mix the mangú with a rubber spatula until the mangú is nice and creamy.
- Top the mangú with onions and serve.
- How to peel plantains: cut the ends and run a sharp knife along the ridges of the plantain. Use the blade of your knife to lift the peel from the flesh and then use your fingers to peel back the casing from the flesh.
- For the softest mangú, add 2-3 ice cubes while mashing or let the reserved cooking water cool to room temperature before mashing.
- Reserve any leftover cooking water for mashing and reheating leftovers
- Store leftover mangú in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- To reheat: boil some water in a pan (no more than an inch or so) and add the mangu to the pan. Turn off the flame and mash the mangú, then mix with a rubber spatula until creamy again.
Here are a few safety tips!
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat. If you’re preparing salami to go with your mangú, use separate utensils!
- Don’t leave the mangú sitting at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended!
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove