National Mofongo Day Date in the current year: September 24, 2024

National Mofongo Day National Mofongo Day is observed annually on September 24, falling during National Hispanic Heritage Month that lasts from September 15 to October 15. It celebrates a delicious Puerto Rican dish made from plantains.

Mofongo is a Puerto Rican dish whose main ingredients are mashed plantains and pork rinds (chicharrón) or bits of bacon. Its roots can be traced to West African cuisine with its fufu (a staple dish made from starchy vegetables), but mofongo has also been heavily influenced by Spanish and Indigenous Caribbean (Taíno) cuisines. The name “mofongo” derives from the Kongo term mfwenge-mfwenge, which can be translated as “a great amount of anything”.

Mofongo is believed to have been introduced to Puerto Rico by African slaves sometime in the 16th century. The dish was a combination of limited ingredients available to slaves: green plantains, pork scraps, and lard. The first recipe for mofongo can be found in the 1859 cookbook El Cocinero Puerto-Riqueño o Formulario. Entitled mofongo criollo, the recipe calls for green plantains, veal and chicken, bacon or lard, ham, garlic, sweet pepper (ají dulce) and Mexican mint (orégano brujo).

Mofongo is traditionally made from green plantains that are cut into pieces and fried, roasted, or boiled. The cooked plantains are mashed with fat (olive oil, butter or lard), spices, and pork in a pilón (wooden mortar and pestle). The resulting mass is then shaped into a tight ball and served in a broth or stew. The dish may be accompanied by fried meat, shrimp, vegetables, and other ingredients.

Although mofongo is traditionally made with green plantains, it can be made with ripe plantains (mofongo de amarillo), breadfruit (mofongo de pana), or cassava (mofongo de yuca). If two starchy foods are mashed together to make mofongo, the dish is referred to as bifongo, and any combination of three starchy foods is called trifongo.

Mofongo is a popular street food sold by food trucks in Puerto Rico and throughout the United States, especially in big cities with a large Puerto Rican population. It can be accompanied by French fries or sweet potato fries, shredded meat, chopped vegetables, corn, and fry sauce (a combination of ketchup and mayonnaise).

National Mofongo Day was launched in 2021 by José Mendín, a renowned Puerto Rican chef from Miami. Mendín wanted to hold a celebration of mofongo and cocktails at his restaurant and decided to google the date of National Mofongo Day. Shockingly, his search led him nowhere: there was no National Mofongo Day. Mendín reached out to the National Day Archives, went through the hoops of submitting a new holiday, and so a national holiday dedicated to a quintessential Puerto Rican dish was born.

There are many ways to celebrate National Mofongo Day. You can go out to your favorite Puerto Rican restaurant and order mofongo, try making the dish at home, throw a Puerto Rican-themed party for your friends and family, and spread the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #NationalMofongoDay.

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National Mofongo Day, unofficial holidays, observances in the US, food days, mofongo, Puerto Rican cuisine