Last May, my husband and I, along with a couple friends of ours, went to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It was seriously one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. It quickly jumped to the top of my favorite places in the world list (next to Italy, of course!).
We stayed at a resort called Majestic Elegance and I already want to go back. The only thing I would change, though, is that none of the restaurants served local cuisine! The food was all very good, but for me, part of the fun of traveling is getting to experience new foods. One day there was a BBQ next to one of the pools and they served a rice dish that I think was a version of Moro de guandules. It was really delicious!!
Dominican cuisine has a lot of Latin and African influences, based on its history of control by other countries. Many traditional Latin and Caribbean dishes can be found here with their own Dominican twist.
Since I didn’t get the opportunity to try a dish that I wanted to recreate at home, I had to do some research and choose something “sight-unseen” so to speak. I found this great site called Aunt Clara’s Kitchen and she has a lot of really yummy recipes with great cultural connections and stories to go along with them. Check it out!
Plantains are a big part of Latin and Caribbean cuisine, and the Dominican Republic is no exception. A traditional Dominican breakfast is Mangú, which is boiled and mashed plantains. It is often served with fried eggs, fried cheese, and/or fried salami. I made mine with eggs and cheese.
I used Aunt Clara’s recipe.
This was my first time working with plantains. They look like big, firm bananas. They are not as easy to peel, though, so make sure you have a knife available. I found it easier to cut them in half first.
Aunt Clara says to scrape out the seeds before boiling. I just used a spoon.
Final verdict? Not my favorite. It wasn’t bad, it was just pretty bland. Maybe I should have added some salt? The bites with the egg and cheese were definitely better. I can see where this would be a good base for a stewed meat of some sort (which Aunt Clara has recipes for). It is sort of like a potato or polenta, where it is a vehicle for food and not necessarily something to eat by itself. That’s my opinion though. Plus, it is pretty healthy, so I don’t know if I’d want to write it off just yet.
It is definitely worth trying!