Tale of Two Congos.
Democratic Republic of the Congo. Republic of the Congo. Neighboring countries with similar names. One was formerly known as Zaire, is the second biggest country in Africa, and was colonized by Belgium until the 1960s. The other was a Marxist-Leninist state from 1969-1992 and is one of the largest oil producers in Africa. Both are descendants of the ancient Bantu peoples.
Searching for recipes I found that both countries celebrate the plantain in its simplest form by boiling and mashing it. What I found is a recipe called lituma which mixes ripe and unripened plantains together after being boiled. It’s a dish that can be recognized in most Caribbean and Latin American countries as either mangú in the Dominican Republic, angú in Costa Rica, cabeza de gato in Colombia, bolón in Ecuador, and fufu de plátano in Cuba and Panama due to the transatlantic slave trade.
Personally, I love mashed plantains. I grew up eating it for breakfast with eggs, a couple pieces of queso frito (fried cheese) and sometimes fried slices of Dominican salami. This hefty meal is called los tres golpes (the three hits). Dominicans mash unripened boiled plantains to oblivion with either some good olive oil or butter. If you’ve never had it before, the consistency is kind of like mashed potatoes but heavier.
Lituma is super easy to prepare and reminded me how much I love plantains and how infrequently I use them. This recipe could definitely be seasoned to your liking - plantains can taste a bit starchy and bland without proper seasoning just like potatoes.
2 unripened plantains
2 semi-ripened plantains (yellow with black spots)
Salt, as needed
Peel the plantains and cut them into chunks. Refer to the video on how to cut a green unripened plantain. In a large pot, cover them with water and boil them until most of the water has evaporated.
Once thoroughly cooked (you can do a fork check) place them in a bowl and mash with either a fork or potato masher. You can also put it in a food processor, but will get a much denser but smoother consistency like play dough. Season with salt to your liking and enjoy!
Cook. Eat. Repeat.