New take on a classic at Leche Y Miel in the Bronx

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Lauren Glassberg has the story.

Try out a new riff on a famous Dominican dish.

You may have tried mofongo, but how about mofonguitos?

The idea for the small version of mofongo probably came to the chef after years of working in the catering world, but at heart, he cooks with family in mind.

Leche Y Miel opened two years ago in the Bronx. It's located at 5761 Broadway at 236th Street.

"So a lot of our families actually joke around with us because they thing we actually got the name for the restaurant because of our complexion so Leche Y Miel," said Altagracia Pena, the owner.

Altagracia and Rideiby Pena chose Leche Y Miel, or milk and honey, for its biblical reference. They chose to open in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx because this is where they attend church.

"The community is a blessing to us," Altagracia said.

It seems the feeling is mutual.

"It's the greatest new spot in all of this area, the food is great it's always fresh, it's the best," a customer said.

Altagracia has a background in hospitality world and has been cooking since he came to America from the Dominican Republic 12 years ago.

He says this is soul food, cod fish, to the oxtail made with eggplant, pork chops with tostones, and even tripe.

"When I'm cooking I do it like I'm going to eat it, I do my best for it and to it and that's why it pays off," Rideiby said.

He has his own twists. You won't find mofongo but mofonguitos! He steams plantains before he molds them into small cups which he deep fries.

Meanwhile, he sautees shrimp in garlic, paprika and chicken stock. The shrimp fills the cups with a little parmesan on top.

"We serve the neighborhood things we'd like to eat when we're in a restaurant that's healthy for us and our children," Altagracia said.

There are four children, Luis plus his three step siblings, who are 3 years old and younger.

"They are our inspiration. They are the ones that trigger that energy," Altagracia said.

RECIPE FOR MOFONGUITOS

Ingredients:
1 green plantain
2 cups canola oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp smoke paprika
pound peeled, deveined shrimp
3 TBLS shredded parmesan

Directions:

Heat oil-(reserve 2 TBLS) medium hot in deep frying pan or deep fryer
First steam the peeled plantain
Then cut into 4 pieces
Using a small juicer, press each piece of steamed plantain into the juicer and shape as a cup
Put each cup in hot oil for about 7 minutes
Remove and drain
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in saute pan
Add garlic and paprika, stir
Add shrimp and cook for about 3-5 minutes
Put one or two shrimp into each fried plantain cup
And top with parmesan

Serves 4-6 little mofonguitos
Related Topics:
foodneighborhood eatsfoodrestaurantrecipeNew York City
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