Bex’s Mofongo with Shrimp & Mojo Sauce: Grand Prize Winner!

Mofongo with shrimp by Bex, grand prize winner Familia Kitchen

“Mofongo with shrimp is one of my favorite dishes,” homecook bex travesti told Familia Kitchen when she sent us her family-famous recipe for this mashed-plátano dish. “It is often my first meal I seek out when I’m in Puerto Rico. In my opinion, this dish is the greatest representation of Puerto Rican food.”

Though she lives in Iowa today, Bex grew up in Chicago in a Puerto Rican and Polish family. Her dad is the Boricua, born in Humacao, a small city in the southeast of the island. From a young age, Bex loved to spend time in the cocina and learned to cook her way home to both sides of her heritage. Make that three sides: She also mastered recipes honoring her husband’s Mexican roots. To taste her Mexican cocina chops, check out Bex’s shrimp ceviche, a Familia Kitchen Recipe Contest of the month winner. (We love her ceviche so much, it’s in our Recetario Cocina Familia.)

This mashed-plantain mofongo dish with shrimp is the winner of Familia Kitchen’s 2022 Grand Prize, winning Iowa homecook Bex Streeper a trip home to her family’s homeland, Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico’s traditional dishes have a special hold on her heart, Bex tells us. These recipes remind her of visiting relatives on the island. Starting with this juicy shrimp mofongo. “I’ve had mofongo in restaurants but was never smitten until one family trip to Puerto Rico,” she says. “That’s when I discovered how lovely the dish truly is. The richness of the platanos, kissed with the essence of garlic. I feel it is a great representation of the Puerto Rican culture. A mash-up (pun intended) of what makes us Puerto Ricans. It marries our three cultures: the Taino, the African, and the European, into a simple but beautiful dish.”

What Is Mofongo? A History Mash-up

Mofongo is the name for the plantain mash itself. Green plantains are sliced into fat chunks, fried and mixed with olive oil, garlic, salt and chopped pork rinds into a warm, crunchy mound of garlicky deliciousness. Think a heartier, thicker mashed potatoes, sometimes loaded with a topping, in this case blackened shrimp.

This mofongo is a favorite recipe in the Puerto Rican family of Bex Streeper. She likes to add a flash-fried culantro leaf for garnish, as shown here.

What makes this comfort food an island favorite and takes it to a new level of delicioso is when the plantain mash is filled or covered with a protein — usually stewed chicken, pork, beef, seafood or vegetables — after being sautéed in sofrito, Puerto Rico’s essential cooking base.

Mofongo is the Boricua descendant of the West African dish fufu, which is made with boiled yuca or yams. Fufu was brought to Puerto Rico by enslaved Africans forced by the Spanish to work on sugar plantations. Over time, Puerto Ricans made the dish their own, replacing the boiled yuca with fried green plantains. African fufu is also the basis of Dominican dishes like mangu with los tres golpes, a traditional DR breakfast.

In Puerto Rico, mofongo is also served in a version called trifongo, made with two kinds of mashed plantain, green and ripe or maduro, plus a third ingredient: mashed yuca. Ed: This version is seriamente delicioso, in our Puerto Rican-food-loving opinion.

Plantains fried
To make mofongo, green plantains are fried and mashed with garlic, salt and chicharrones or pork rinds.
Mofongo with shrimp by Bex, grand prize winner Familia Kitchen
Bex made her Familia Kitchen Grand Prize-winning recipe of the year with shrimp, but mofongo is also traditionally topped with stewed chicken, pork, crab, beef or vegetables.

Bex’s favorite way to eat mofongo is topped with blackened shrimp. “In my recipe, I included chicharron or pork rinds, which is a traditional way to make this dish, but definitely optional if you don’t eat meat. Some purists will also balk at store- bought chicharrón,” she says, “But do what speaks to you.”
When Bex emailed this recipe to us at Familia Kitchen, she signed off “con sabor y sazon”—“with flavor and seasoning”—like the great Boricua cook she is. Gracias, Bex!

To try more of Bex’s family-famous Puerto Rican and Mexican recipes, start with her Recipe Contest-No. 1-winning Ceviche de camarón and then work your way through her guacamole, sopes de carne asada, chili with beef, beans and hominy, and her incredible coquito French toast. If you have a sweet tooth, this last one is for you, dulce fans. And finally, this mofongo with shrimp recipe dish includles one of our favorite words in all of Latino cooking: mofongo!

Bex’s Mofongo with Shrimp & Mojo Sauce

5 desde 1 votar
Receta por bex travesti Cocina: puertorriqueño


tiempo de preparación


Hora de cocinar




  • para el mofongo
  • 3 3 plátanos verdes

  • 1 cucharadita 1 salt, plus more to taste the dish is done

  • 4 tazas 4 vegetable oil (or a neutral frying oil)

  • 1 taza 1 chicharron or pork rinds, chopped (you can also use bacon or fried fatback)

  • Chicken broth, warmed, to thin the mofongo mash, as needed

  • For the Blackened Shrimp
  • 3/4 taza 3/4 olive oil, divided

  • 2 a 3 clavos de olor 2 a 3 ajo, picado

  • 1 cucharadita 1 sal, o al gusto

  • 1/4 taza 1/4 cilantro picado

  • 1/3 taza 1/3 pimientos rojos asados, cortados en cubitos

  • 1 1 lime, cut in half

  • 1 libras 1 shrimp, cleaned and deveined (Bex buys extra jumbo, 16/20 count)

  • 1/2 taza 1/2 vegetable oil for shallow-frying the shrimp

  • For the Mojo
  • 1/4 taza 1/4 aceite de oliva

  • 3 clavos de olor 3 ajo picado

  • 1 a 2 cucharada 1 a 2 adobo seasoning (see note below)

  • 1 cucharadita 1 condimento de sazón


  • Fry the Plantains
  • Peel and slice the green plantains into 1 1/2 inch-thick wheels.
  • Soak the plantains in salty water for 20 minutes.
  • Drain the plantains and pat them with a clean kitchen towel until they are thoroughly dry.
  • Warm the frying oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven on medium-high, until it reaches frying heat: 350 degrees.
  • Fry the plantains in batches, so as not to crowd them. Fry for about 3 minutes per side or until each turns light brown. Make sure not to over-brown the plantains or you will ed up with a dry mofongo. Use a fork to test for doneness. You want each piece to be chewy and soft on the inside.
  • Using a large slotted spoon, remove the plantains from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Once the mixture starts to simmer, remove the pan from the heat and let the garlic sit in the warm oil for about 5 minutes. Transfer the oil and garlic to a bowl and set aside.
  • Mash the Ingredients Together
  • In a pilon (what Puerto Ricans call a mortar and pestle), molcajete or heavy bowl, mix 1 tsp mojo, the chicharron or pork rinds, and salt. Mash together until the mixture forms into a wet paste.
  • Add the plantain chunks, 1 or 2 at a time. Smash and incorporate into the paste. Repeat until all ingredients have been combined. You want the mixture to be soft and juicy. If it gets too dry, you can add warm chicken broth to make the mofongo smoother, to your taste.
  • Once all the plantains are mashed into the mixture, it can be served in the same pilón or mold them in a bowl. Run a butter knife around the edges to release the plantain mash from its container.
  • Make the Mojo
  • In a small saucepan, add olive oil and chopped garlic. Turn the heat to medium.
  • When the oil starts to simmer, remove the pan from the stovetop and let the garlic sit for 5 minutes in the warm oil, infusing.
  • Mix in the adobo and sazón seasonings. Taste and add salt, if necessary. (Depending on how much is in your seasonings.) Set aside.
  • Marinate and Cook the Shrimp
  • In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup olive oil on medium, until just simmering. (Reserve the remaining ¼ cup for sautéing the shrimp.)
  • Add the diced garlic and salt. Sauté for about 1 minute.
  • Stir in the chopped cilantro. Cook for 1 more minute or until the cilantro becomes fragrant.
  • Add the chopped, roasted red peppers to the mix. Stir to incorporate. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool. Add the shrimp, stirring to make sure it is fully coated. Place the saucepan with the shrimp mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes to marinate.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the fridge.
  • In a fresh, large cast-iron skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  • Add the shrimp in a single layer and let cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Flip the shrimp and cook until just opaque, firm and curled — about 1 minute.
  • While the shrimp is cooking, warm the saucepan with the red peppers and garlic mixture. Transfer the cooked shrimp and let the flavors meld together for 1 minute more. Add a squeeze of lime, toss until well coated and serve.
  • How to Serve This Dish
  • Serve each person a rounded mound of warm, juicy mofongo topped with the blackened shrimp and a scoop of its sauce.
  • Accompany with a small bowl of warmed chicken broth to thin the mofongo as needed, plus a second bowl of mojo sauce.
  • To add a dash of elegance to this humble staple, Bex garnishes each serving of mofongo with a flash-fried leaf of culantro, a Puerto Rican favorite herb that’s something like cilantro, but different. “Buen provecho, everyone!” says Bex.


  • Pro tip from Bex’s dad: When peeling plantains, add olive oil and salt to your hands to prevent them from turning black. This is also a must when her family makes pasteles. Added bonus: olive oil is great for your skin!
  • For the shrimp, Bex uses 2 Tbsp of her family’s adobo recipe, which is salt-free. If you’re using a salted version of adobo, reduce the salt to 1 Tbsp.
  • As an alternative to mofongo, Bex makes these shrimp to serve with rice, too! Delicioso, she promises.

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