Tag Archives: mango

Not Your Mama’s Plantains

We watch a lot of cooking shows, like a lot a lot.  I’ve noticed that most dishes focusing on Puerto Rican food have plantains in it.  I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to visit my parents in Puerto Rico over the Thanksgiving holiday.



on the beach

San Juan fort

Being that I had never tried plantains before (shocker, I know), I was so excited to try them on this trip.  I tried so many different versions and was so stinkin’ disappointed that I didn’t really care for them.  Not to let that stop me, I kept trying them.  Over, and over, and over, and…you get the idea.  To those of you who like the original plantain, I am so jealous, and this recipe is probably not for you.  Although the recipe may provide an interesting change…maybe?

When figuring this recipe out, I was thinking about my favorite way to indulge in starches.  I love mashed potato leftovers formed into patties and pan-fried.  I was hoping plantains wouldn’t be any different.

To start, take two ripe plantains.  They should be fairly soft (again, I have no idea if this is traditional when using plantains, but it is what I did).

ripe plantains

Peel the plantains, mash ‘em, and lightly cover the mush with salt and pepper.  I love salt, so it is a must for me.  If you don’t like salt (whaaaaa????) then leave it out.  I must warn you…if you leave it out, you may end up with bland goop.  That’s just my very biased opinion.


Ok.  Now that we have established that I love salt, I will remind you, yet again, that I have had a long-standing love affair with scallions.  Unfortunately, I was out and no interest in going to the store.  The next best option was to use sliced washed leeks.  I sautéed them in butter for just a few minutes to slightly soften them.  If you use scallions, there is no need to soften them.  Now combine everything, and add a few tablespoons of flour, just to firm up the texture a little bit.  I also added about 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro, just for a little extra flavor and the pretty green color.


Next, take ¼ cup of the mixture, flatten it between your hands and coat the patties in seasoned breadcrumbs.  Once all the patties are formed, place them on a plate and refrigerate for an hour or so.  This will ensure that they stay together during cooking.

Finally, heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, and add just a little bit of oil to keep the butter from browning.  Cook the plantain patties until both sides are browned, turning only once during cooking.

Now comes the best part: time to chow down.  I decided to serve them with the most delicious spicy mango sauce that my amazing mother made and sent home with us from Puerto Rico.  It is unfortunately almost gone…she may have to mail more.  That wasn’t too subtle, was it?  Maybe she will even post the recipe sometime (it is that amazingly good, and you haven’t lived until you try it.  For real.)


Happy February to you all, and here’s to many more delicious meals in 2014.


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Roasted Mango + Yogurt Paletas

Boom, roasted mango paleta

Stop whatever you’re doing right now.

You NEED to go make these paletas (Spanish for popsicle).

I’m not joking.

This post wasn’t even supposed to be all sweet, creamy, and tangy. It was supposed to be grilled, crunchy, and springy. But life, it is strange. Sometimes life brings you champagne mangoes for $1/each and you go crazy and buy five. Then you notice that the mangoes are getting a little too wrinkly and decide that roasting them with some habanero-infused maple syrup and a sprinkling of piloncillo for good measure would make them quite tasty. And then you realize that you have some leftover strained yogurt just waiting to go bad in the fridge, and that it’s getting pretty hot outside, and that you’ve been waiting for just the right circumstances to break out your popsicle mold and dig back into Frany Gerson’s Paletas

mangoes ready to roast

maple and piloncillo


These paletas are the perfect end to a spicy meal, or the perfect treat for days when you feel particularly dewy. I adapted them from Fany Gerson’s recipe for paletas de yogurt con moras, or yogurt ice pops with berries, swapping three roasted champagne mangoes for the blackberries. I originally intended on just chopping the mangoes and tossing them in, but I thought roasting them with piloncillo and a touch of maple syrup would make them nicely caramelized and blend well with the strained yogurt.

I was right.

blending blending


Roasted Mango +  Yogurt Paletas
adapted from Fany Gerson’s Paletas

Note: I made these with 1/2 cup sugar in the water mixture, per the original recipe. Since I also add more sugar when roasting the mangoes, next time I’ll add a little less sugar to the water mixture. The paletas aren’t overly sweet, though; I just prefer things to be less sweet. As usual, go with what you feel.

  • peel from 1/2 lemon (no need to chop it)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups plain, unsweetened Greek Yogurt (you can also DIY your Greek Yogurt and make strained yogurt)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 champagne mangoes, peeled and cut into thin chunks (see picture above)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup piloncillo, roughly chopped or grated (or substitute brown sugar)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons maple syrup, optional

1.  Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon peel, lower the heat, and simmer for five minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Remove the lemon peel and refrigerate syrup until chilled.

2. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scatter the mango pieces on the sheet, then sprinkle on the piloncillo. Roast for 7 or so minutes, until the mangoes start to release some juice and are sizzling a bit. Remove from oven, stir everything around, and sprinkle on some maple syrup, if using. (Don’t add the maple syrup right away or it could burn.) Return to oven for another 5 – 7 minutes, until the mangoes look nicely caramelized but aren’t burnt. If you do burn them, though, I wouldn’t worry too much. You’ll just have toasted mango paletas instead of roasted. No one will be the wiser. Set mangoes aside.

3. Blend the yogurt, honey, and chilled lemon syrup with about half of the mangoes until smooth. Divide the mixture among your popsicle molds. If you don’t have popsicle molds, divide them among cups. If you don’t have cups, try ice cube trays. (Although I hope if you have ice cube trays you also have cups). Use a muffin tin if you have to. Next, divide the remaining roasted mango among your molds. Using a popsicle stick, a chopstick, a fork, or your fingers, push the mango chunks down to distribute somewhat evenly throughout each paleta. If you have a popsicle mold with the lid thing featuring slits for the popsicle sticks, insert the sticks now. If you’re using cups or whatever else, allow the mixture to freeze for about an hour until it gets hard enough to hold a stick in place. If you don’t have popsicle sticks, you could us a skewer. Or toothpicks if you’re using an ice cube tray. Or you could just go buy some.

OR: If you don’t think you want chunks of mango in your paletas, blend all the mango with the yogurt mixture. It will also be delicious. (Thanks, Elizabeth!)

4. Freeze paletas until solid, about three to four hours. To de-mold, run hot water over the mold for a minute or so. The paleta will slide right out.



p.s. I got my popsicle mold here.

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