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Mashed Plantains (Machuca de Plátano)

This recipe, which exemplifies the Caribbean influence in the food of Veracruz, comes from Raquel Torres's wonderful collection of Afro-Cuban recipes, La Cocina Afromestiza en Veracruz.

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  • Servings: 4

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  • 3 large yellow plantains, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 to 3 jalapeños—stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
  • Salt


  1. Put the plantains and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the plantains are just tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook over moderate heat until most of the water has been absorbed and the plantains are completely tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer; don't let the plantains burn. Using a potato masher, mash the plantains in the saucepan until a slightly chunky puree forms; add a few tablespoons of water if the mixture is too stiff.
  2. In a mortar or using the side of a chef's knife, mash the jalapeños and garlic to a coarse paste. Melt the butter in a small skillet. Add the jalapeño paste and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant and just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the seasoning mixture to the mashed plantains and cook, stirring, until heated through. Season with salt and serve.
Contributed By Published April 2000

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