Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rellenas Malanga

Rellenas Malanga is a dish that 's inception came from pure curiosity. Have you ever done that? Said "Hmmm..I wonder how this would taste with that?" and then gone on to develop the recipe and find one of two things; 1.) Yuck..definitely not! or 2.) Wow, It actually is good! Score!!! This recipe is in the "2" category. 
My significant other brings home some Cuban traditional foods sometimes that I have to admit are quite intimidating at first blush. For this dish he brought home " Malanga. " 

Malanga is lightly described as a root vegetable that resembles Taro root in appearance, but similar to potato in texture and taste. My Hunny had been asking me if I would try to make his Mother's signature Papa Rellenas for months and I would not even think of it, for fear of not doing it justice. You know how it is to make your "Mother in Law's" signature dish...? It will never be "as good" as matter what you do. I was not in the mood for trudging along the path of never good enough with this dish. So when he brought the Malanga home I asked him, had his mother ever made Papa Rellena with Malanga, and he said "No". ~Lightbulb~
Even playing field!! Now I can do this. 
Papa Rellena is basically a Potato Ball stuffed with a Cuban Ground Beef mixture called Picadillo.
Picadillo is ground beef, slow cooked with Latin spices and tomato. It's good for lots of things besides this dish. Try it in a taco shell, or over white rice, or even in an enchilada...Yummy!
Now to swap out the potato for malanga I had to boil the malanga and check the texture. It was comparable. Even after adding the butter and cream..held up pretty well. So it was on like Donkey Kong.
On a day that my Significant Other went fishing...I decided to pop into it, and here is the resulting recipe!
The look on his face when he came home was priceless!!!  Give it a try!! 

Rellena de Malanga


2 lbs Malenga or Potatoes (peeled and cubed)
2 cloves Garlic (chopped)
1 cup Cream
1 Stick Butter

2 cups Cuban Crackers (crushed to crumbs)
*may substitute breading of your choice ie: Panko, Bread Crumbs etc
1/2 cup Seasoned Flour
3 lg Eggs (beaten)

2 Quarts Vegetable oil

1 1/2 lb Ground Beef (80/20)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic chopped finely
1 cup chopped Onion
1 Green Pepper chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Cloves
1 tsp Cumin
2 Bay Leaves
1/4 tsp Hot Sauce
1/4 cup Vinegar
4 cups chopped Tomatoes (may use canned)

In a Medium Saute Pan Warm Olive Oil on Medium-High Heat, Add Onion and Gr Pepper.
Saute until translucent and softened. Add Garlic and Ground Beef. Saute until Ground beef starts to caramelize. Add spices. Saute until spices are combined. Add tomatoes and vinegar, combine well. Lower heat to Medium-Low. Simmer for 1 hour. Remove Bay Leaves before Serving.

Preparing Rellenas (Balls)
Peel and chop Malanga (or potatoes) into cubes. Boil in Large Pot with garlic until fork tender.
While boiling Malanga, heat Cream and butter in a small pan.
Drain Malanga and toss back in warm pot. Mash.
Add enough cream and butter mixture to bring Malanga to nice thick mash texture. No lumps.
Set aside to cool. Can even be done night before or morning of.
**If you have leftover is perfect here.
Once mash is cooled to stiff, Use an ice cream scoop to obtain a 1/2 ball of the mash.
Pack scoop well.. 
Once 1/2 Ball is made, poke center of ball with straight end of a Wooden spoon.
Using fingers widen center to leave "pocket for the Picadillo". 
Fill center of the Malanga/Potato ball with picadillo.
(I used a teaspoon for this
Then take a Teaspoon more of the mash and cover over the open area of the ball.
Release the ball from the scoop and shape the ball with your hands into a closed ball.
Place on a Parchment lined cookie sheet and repeat until all balls are complete.
Refrigerate Balls for 30 mins minimum.

*Seasoned Flour: Salt, Pepper, Dry Garlic, Oregano, Cumin (1/2 tsp)

Prepare "Coating" Station:
First platter is your Flour platter.
Next is the bowl of beaten Eggs
Final one is the bowl or platter of breading (I used crushed cuban crackers)

Remove ball from fridge and coat in Flour, then Egg, then Breading.
Set aside.
Complete all balls through the "coating process"

Heat Vegetable Oil in "Deep Fryer" or on Stove Top with Dutch Oven.

Fry Balls in vegetable oil until golden brown.

Serve immediately.


  1. FAR too complicated with too many steps for me to try anytime in the next 14 years;) But this looks wonderfully divine!
    Thanks for the recipe;)
    Yvonne Elm Hall

  2. We can get Taro root here but not Malanga.Never the less it was interesting reading your preparation:)

  3. Oh man Laurie!! This looks incredible! I think you need to come cook for me for a day! ;-)

  4. This sounds delicious. This is my first visit to your blog so I took some time to browse through your earlier entries. I'm so glad I did that. You've created a great spot for your readers to visit and I really enjoyed the time I spent here. You have great recipes, so I'll definitely be back.
    I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  5. Mary, Thank you so much for your Wonderful Comment! I am so happy you enjoyed my Blog. I try very hard to make it accessible and easy to jump right in! Thanks so much for stopping by :)

  6. Kim, i'd love to cook For You or With You Anytime!!! :)

  7. Dzoli, They can be made very easily with a Potato substitution! It will be fabulous! I promise!

  8. Yvonne, So sorry they seem too complicated. Making them with leftover mashed potatoes..and left over chili, might help. :)

  9. Really interesting. We may have to try it with potatoes because we've never seen malanga around here before.

  10. I'll stack this against the Neapolitan Grain Pie or an Il Timpano for steps in preparation... (and you know I love a good 3 day recipe)

    Love the use of malanga. I bet it would be equally tasty stuffed with Manchengo and Chorizo. Yum