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"sanford and son theme" Mofongo relleno (mashed fried plantains stuffed with garlic shrimp)

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This mofongo recipe encompasses it's Afro-Caribbean roots and Spanish influence; it achieves layers of flavor via simple and humble ingredients but is presented with flair.

This month of February, as part of Black History Month, my recipe for mofongo relleno will be featured as part of a Black History Month Virtual Potluck along with recipes by 27 other amazing and uber-talented black food bloggers.

Each of us will share one dish that’s deeply rooted in black culture; and because we all hail from different parts of the world you’ll have the chance to experience a myriad of dishes from across different meal occasions including vegan/vegetarian, meats/seafood, desserts, etc. as well as geographical locations from Africa and the related African Diaspora.

Scroll to the end of this post to get the full list of those bloggers participating as well as their recipes.

mofongo relleno topped with shrimp and red pepper sauce #shrimp #mofongo

Mofongo Recipe Inspiration?

My favorite TV show ever hands down is Sanford and Son. Of its top ranking among greatest TV shows there is no debate! Though it aired well before my time, thanks to syndication and DVD Box sets I’ve seen every episode multiple times.

It was through an episode that I learned of the greatness of mofongo. Fred and Lamont’s new Puerto Rican neighbor, Julio Fuentes invited Lamont over for dinner. Lamont explained to his incredulous Pop that Julio had made “a dish of some stuff that was terrific” in reference to mofongo. From that point on I was curious.

What is Mofongo Relleno?

Mofongo is a Puerto Rican staple dish. Relatively easy to make yet big on FLAVOR! In a nutshell, you’re just lightly pan-frying plantains and mashing them with a few simple ingredients.

It’s their mashed potatoes but with much more flair! It’s made with green plantains (savory bananas), mashed garlic and crunchy chicharron (fried pork rinds). It’s rooted in the West African dish fufu where yams or plantains are boiled and pounded into a doughlike consistency then rolled into balls and eaten.

It has a consistency that is neither too soft or too hard sitting somewhere in between mashed potatoes and chunky potato salad. Once mashed the plantains are molded into the shape of a bowl or ramekin and then stuffed with garlic and bacon in its simplest form.

Fresh herbs, onions, etc. may appear in different regional or familial versions. In this form mashed plantains are typically a side, but when stuffed or topped with braised meats or seafood it becomes mofongo relleno, a main entree.

In my version, I create a mofongo relleno de camarones which is Mofongo topped with shrimp and roasted red pepper sauce.

Mofongo Ingredients

Plantains are the key ingredient in this recipe which calls for both green and ripe ones.

  • Plantains
  • Shrimp
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Bacon
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Yellow Onion
  • Cilantro
  • Sweet Smoked Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

How To Make Mofongo w/ Shrimp

Step 1: Prep the plantains

Cut the ends of the plantains, peel them and cut into 1-inch thick pieces and let them soak in salted water for 15 minutes. Drain the plantains and dry them very well.

Step 2: Brown the plantains

Cook in hot oil about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the discs have turned a darker golden color but have not yet browned (do not let them brown!).You should be able to easily pierce them with a fork when they are ready. NOTE: Make sure there is sufficient fat in the pan, add additional if the plantains soak up too much.

Step 3: Prepare the vegetables

Add bacon to frying pan and cook 5 minutes then add the onions and peppers, stirring occasionally. Cook until bacon is crisp and onion is soft and caramelized a bit.

Step 4: Make the mofongo mix

Using a mortar & pestle of large bowl + potato masher - mash plantains then add minced garlic, spices, and cilantro. Next add in the bacon, onions, peppers, and pan grease. Knead until well mixed but not overmixed. 

plantains smashed in mortar and pestle

Step 5: Plate the mofongo

Spray inside of a small bowl or ramekin with cooking spray or grease with oil. Pack a portion of the plantain dough into the bowl to shape it, then invert the bowl to slide the mofongo out onto a plate. Press the top of the mofongo with your thumb to create a small crevasse.

Step 6: Cook the shrimp

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil then fry the shrimp 2 minutes per side

Step 7: Finish the dish

Place the shrimp around and on top of the mofongo. 

mofongo relleno topped with shrimp and red pepper sauce #shrimp #mofongo

Serving Suggestions

Served topped with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and more cilantro.

jar of roasted red pepper sauce with basil and garlic on a cutting board #redpepper #sauce

Expert Tips For Making Mofongo Relleno

  • Traditional recipes call for a mortar and pestle but don’t fret if you don’t have one as a potato masher and a large bowl will work just fine
  • To minimize calories feel free to boil the plantains vs. frying them
  • If you don’t have access to fresh pork rinds/crackling use crispy fried bacon or just skip the pork altogether
  • Slice the plantains thick enough to prevent drying when cooking
  • Use one ripe plantain in the recipe to add some sweetness and nice contrast to the green plantain
  • Don’t cook the plantains too long or it will be too hard and dry for mashing
  • I chose shrimp, but feel free to choose your protein of choice
  • The sauce can be made days in advance and refrigerated until ready for use.

What Does Mofongo Relleno Taste Like?

The mofongo is made with fried plantains that are then mashed (see picture below) with garlic, olive oil, fresh cilantro, and paprika. The light frying provides a slight amount of caramelization locking in that delicious plantain flavor.

Most recipes call for green plantains which are starchy and taste more potato-like. However, I add one semi-ripe plantain. I wanted a slight bit of sweetness hence the use of the ripe ones. They still have that firmness, but add hints of caramelized sugar taste notes.

Additionally you get a bit of tanginess from the mashed garlic and some smokiness from the paprika. The red pepper (mojo picon) sauce takes the dish over the top! You’re essentially taking the fried starchy bowl of mofongo and bathing it in a most flavorful sauce. The sauce is a creamy balanced flavor of earthiness, mellow heat, and sweetness.

For other Caribbean inspired recipes you might like:

or for more shrimp based recipes try these:

If you make this delicious shrimp mofongo recipe or any other from the site, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.

mofongo relleno topped with shrimp and red pepper sauce #shrimp #mofongo

Mofongo Relleno (mashed plantains with shrimp and red pepper sauce)

Recipe for Puerto Rican staple mofongo relleno which is mashed fried plantains stuffed with garlic, olive oil, spices, and shrimp then topped with creamy roasted red pepper sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Caribbean
Servings: 2 people
Author: Marwin Brown


  • 2 plantains (1 green and 1 ripe) you'll need 2 total for each mofongo to prepare
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 strips bacon (optional) cut into small pieces
  • 1 medium red bell pepper diced finely
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • Fresh cilantro chopped finely
  • ¼ tablespoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
  • 1 pound Shrimp (peeled and deveined) fresh or frozen


  • Cut the ends of the plantains, peel them and cut into 1-inch thick pieces and let them soak in salted water for 15 minutes. Drain the plantains and dry them very well.
  • Heat oil in a pan and carefully add plantain slices to the hot oil and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the discs have turned a darker golden color but have not yet browned (do not let them brown!).You should be able to easily pierce them with a fork when they are ready. NOTE: Make sure there is sufficient fat in the pan, add additional if the plantains soak up too much.
  • When removing the plantains from the oil, place them on a napkin to drain the oil well before mashing them.
  • Add bacon to frying pan and cook 5 minutes, then add onions and red peppers, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking until bacon is crisp and onion is soft and caramelized. (If not using bacon just use oil with the vegetables and saute them)
  • Use the mortar and pestle or large bowl with potato masher. Mash plantains then add minced garlic, spices, and cilantro. Then add the bacon, onions red pepper and all of the grease from the pan. Knead until everything is well mixed. 
  • Form a large ball of the mofongo with your hands or shape in a ramekin or small bowl and serve it on a large plate. Apply a small amount of olive oil to the inside of the bowl to help the finished product release from the sides. Press a portion of the dough to form a bowl-shape. Place your vessel over a plate and quickly flip it over to release it. Tap on the top and sides to help it out. You may need to use a butter knife to help release the edges so it falls easily onto the plate.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper and salt over shrimp. Add shrimp to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until shrimp are done.
  • Place shrimp around and on top of the mofongo.
  • Top with roasted red pepper sauce. Garnish with cilantro.


  • Best to serve the mofongo FRESH as it does not reheat well.
  • I like to press a hole in the center of the mofongo and then stuff it with chunks of the shrimp mixed with the sauce.
  • Depending on size of mortar and serving size you may need to mash the plantains in stages. 
  • If you feel that the mofongo is too dry you can add a little olive oil.You should be able to roll the dough into balls without it falling apart - if it crumbles it's too dry and needs more fat.
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Here is the line-up and recipes for the Virtual Potluck. Be sure to check them out!

Beautiful Eats & Things | Turkey Sausage Stuffed Collard Green Wraps

Better With Biscuits | Corn Pudding

Beyond The Bayou Food Blog | Redfish Courtbouillon

Brandi's Diary | Better than Jiffy Cornbread from Scratch

Butter Be Ready | Southern Style Mac and Cheese

Chef Kenneth | Fried Sweet Potato Hand Pie

Chocolate For Basil | Pilau and Kachumbari (Spiced Rice with Pico)

Cooks with Soul | Braised Short Rib Meatloaf

D.M.R. Fine Foods | Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding

Dash of Jazz | Nigerian Jollof Rice

Domestic Dee | Fried Peach Hand Pies

Eat.Drink.Frolic. | Olive Oil Collard Greens

Food is Love Made Edible | Buttermilk Biscuits with Fried Chicken and Tabasco Honey

High Heels and Good Meals | Crawfish Etouffee

HomeMadeZagat | Shrimp with Spicy Curry Cream Sauce

Houston Food Fetish | Sweet Almond Tea Cakes

In the Kitchen w/Kmarie | Pineapple Lemonade

Marisa Moore Nutrition | Bourbon Peach Glazed Salmon

Meiko and The Dish | Candied Bourbon Peach Cobbler

My Life Runs On Food | Lentil Soup and Roast Okra

Orchids + Sweet Tea | Carrot and Zucchini Noodles Stir Fry with Shrimp

Raised on Ramen | Orange Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Savory Spicerack | Creamy Fish Stew

Simply LaKita | Blackberry Cobbler

The Hungry Hutch | Orange Bundt Cake with Vanilla Glaze

The Kitchenista Diaries | Smothered Turkey Wings

The Seasoning Bottle | Honey Turmeric Skillet Chicken

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Recipe Rating


Friday 30th of October 2020

Thank you so much for sharing all these recipes. I enjoy cooking and then eating many African and Caribbean recipes. Since I familiarized myself with plantains through cooking tostones, I'm intrigued how in your recipe, and probably most, you fry the plantains once. I definitely can appreciate one less step! I cannot wait to try your take on mofongo, and let you know how it goes.

Marwin Brown

Sunday 1st of November 2020

You're welcome! I love plantains, and you definitely need to double fry tostones, but you'll be fine with single fry with mofongo because you're going for a different texture.

Valorie Aderman

Sunday 23rd of December 2018

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Monday 24th of December 2018

Wow. Thanks!

Karen Stone

Thursday 1st of February 2018

In the notes you say substitute jarred roasted red peppers. Replace the green bell peppers?


Thursday 1st of February 2018

Karen, the base recipe calls for red bell peppers which you'd have to roast yourself. You can buy jarred red peppers already roasted in place of the bell peppers. Hope this clarifies and thanks for visiting the site.