Thursday, June 25, 2009

Quipes (Deep fried bulgur roll)


Quipe (or Kipe) owes its origins to the Middle East immigrants who moved to the south of the island in the 19th century. Today they are an indispensable member of our picadera platter.Time: 50 MinsDifficulty: MediumServe: 6 peopleBefore starting to cook: Put the wheat in a bowl and cover with water. Now add four more cups of water and let it sit overnight.


Ingredients:

1 cup of whole wheat (bulgur)
1 1/4 lb. of ground beef
2 cups of oil
2 leaves of basil chopped finely
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1/4 cup of raisins
1 teaspoon of salt
1 small red onion
1 green pepper


Black ground pepperPreparation:

Drain the leftover water from the wheat. Squeeze the water out of the wheat. Chop the red onion into small cubes of about 1/2 cm. Cut the green pepper and get rid of the seeds. Chop the green peppers in small cubes about the same size as the onions. Put the ground beef in a bowl, mix the pepper and the onion, add a pinch of oregano, a pinch of pepper and a teaspoon of salt. Reserve half the meat.


In a shallow pan heat a tablespoon of oil. Add the ground beef and stir so it cooks uniformly. Add two tablespoons of water and the tomato paste. Let simmer at medium heat. Adjust water when necessary. When the meat is ready let all the liquid evaporate, adjust salt to taste. Turn off the heat and reserve.In a deep bowl mix in the meat that you had left uncooked, wheat, onion and pepper, herbs and spices. Put two tablespoons of the mixture in the palm of your hand. Flatten it and put a teaspoon of the cooked meat in the center. Roll the wheat mixture over it forming small rolls, seal the ends. Deep-fry immediately. Serve warm.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Arroz con leche (Rice pudding)


One of the most popular and simple-to-prepare of Dominican desserts. To the naked eye it could look like old rice pudding, but once you tasted it you can't fail to notice the touch of spices that makes our arroz con leche different.

Time: 55 Mins
Difficulty: Medium
Serve: 6 people

Before starting to cook:
Soak the rice in 2 cups of water and let sit overnight, or at least for a few hours.

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups of evaporated milk
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of long-grain rice
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Preparation:
  1. Put the remaining 4 cups of water in an iron pot, add the cloves, the cinnamon sticks and the salt. Bring to a boil and then add the rice.
  2. Turn heat down to medium temperature and stir the mixture regularly to avoid sticking. Adjust the water if necessary and when the rice is tender add the milk and half the sugar. When it breaks a boil add the raisins, butter and the remaining sugar.
  3. When the mixture reaches a pudding-like consistency turn off the heat and pour immediately into small bowls or ice cream glasses.
  4. Sprinkle the nutmeg on top and let cool down to room temperature. Chill before serving.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pica pollo (Breaded deep fried chicken)



Step aside KFC, here comes the Dominican version of deep fried chicken. You will find this humble dish in every small town and city in the Dominican Republic, and it is the meal of choice after a night of party and beers.

Time: 40 Mins
Difficulty: Medium
Serve: 4 people

Before starting to cook: Cut the chicken in small pieces.

Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs of chicken
  • 2 lemons cut into halves
  • 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1 small red onion chopped into small cubes
  • 2 cups of oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mashed garlic
  • 1 cup of all purpose wheat flour
  • Salt

Preparation:
  1. In a pot boil the chicken, onion, parsley, a pinch of salt and garlic until the chicken is tender but firm. Adjust salt to taste. Take the chicken out of the water and reserve.
  2. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt with the flour. In a pot heat the oil. Cover the meat pieces in the flour and deep-fry until golden brown. Drain excess oil on a paper towel.
  3. Serve with tostones and ketchup.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mofongo (Garlic-flavored mashed plantains)


Mofongo, not to be confused with mondongo, is a spicy dish, easy to prepare and that has great following among Dominicans. There are many restaurants throughout the island that serve the many varieties of this dish. I'm presenting here the traditional recipe.

Time: 90 Mins
Difficulty: Advanced
Serve: 6 people

Before starting to cook: Peel the plantains and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb of pork cracklings
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 4 unripe plantains
  • 4 cups of prepared beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons of mashed garlic

Preparation:
  1. Sauté the garlic with a teaspoon of oil. Reserve.
  2. In a deep frying pan heat the oil and fry the plantains till golden brown. Using a pilón (wooden mortar) mash the plantains, garlic and cracklings together. Serve preferably in a pilón garnished with the beef stock.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Moro de habichuelas (Rice and black beans)


Moro is a mixture of rice, beans and vegetables. This is one of the most common dishes on the Dominican table. I'm presenting here a generic recipe in which you can substitute the black beans for white beans, red kidney beans, faba beans or green pigeon peas.

Time: 35 Mins
Difficulty: Medium
Serve: 4 people

Before starting to cook: No prior preparation is necessary.

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups of rice
  • 2 cups of boiled black beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 5 tablespoons of oil
  • 4 teaspoons of tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup of chopped green peppers
  • 1 pinch of oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon mashed garlic
  • 1/8 cup of capers
  • 1/4 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon of finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of finely chopped coriander/cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme leaves
  • 1 cube of chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Preparation:

  1. Heat 3 spoons of oil in an iron pot and add the herbs, olives, spices and the salt. Stir while adding the tomato paste. Add the beans, also while stirring, then add the chicken bouillon. Once well heated, add the remaining water and bring to a boil. Add the rice and stir regularly to avoid excessive sticking. When all the water has evaporated cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer on very low heat. Wait 15 minutes, uncover, stir, and add the remaining oil. Cover again and wait another 5 minutes. The rice should be firm but tender inside. If necessary, cover and leave another 5 minutes on very low heat.
  2. Serve with meat, (or seafood) and a side dish.

Mangú (Mashed plantains)


This is one of the best known and most representative recipes of the Dominican cuisine. It could probably be called Dominicans' official breakfast dish. A must-try for those sampling our cuisine. You can see instructions with pictures here.

Time: 20 Mins
Difficulty: Easy
Serve: 4 people

Before starting to cook: Peel the plantains and cut into 8 pieces.

Ingredients:
  • 4 unripe plantains
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • Salt

Preparation:
  1. Boil the plantains adding 2 teaspoons of salt to the water. When the plantains are very tender turn off the heat.
  2. While the plantains are boiling, heat a tablespoon of oil in a shallow pan. Sautee the onions, add the salt and the vinegar. Reserve.
  3. Take the plantains out of the water and mash them with a fork. Add the butter and the cold water and keep mashing until it is very smooth. Garnish with the onions and serve with scrambled eggs or deep-fried slices of salami or Queso frito (Fried Cheese).

Queso frito (Fried cheese)


Queso frito is a common component of the Dominican breakfast, for this you will need authentic Dominican "queso de freir", a salty, stringy cheese that does not melt easily. A good "queso de freir" will keep its shape when deep fried, but as some times it is not necessarily the case we present you here a simple trick to make it a successful experience.

Time: 15 Mins
Difficulty: Easy
Serve: 4 people

Before starting to cook: No previous preparation is necessary.

Ingredients:
  • 12 slices of queso de freir. (Provolone, Mozzarella, Gruyere, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup of oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup of corn starch

***There are many different type of cheese to buy for this dish, try: Queso Blanco (Costco Stores).***

Preparation:
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Cover the slices with corn starch and shake off the excess. Fry in the hot oil on one side until it turns golden brown. Turn and repeat. Do not add many slices at the same time as the oil must remain very hot to prevent the cheese from staying in the oil for too long.
  2. Serve hot with mangú.

Arroz blanco (White rice)


Arroz Blanco is the base of most Dominican lunch menus. Done right, you can get a thin and crispy "concón". Concón is the crust of rice formed at the bottom of the pot when you cook rice Dominican-style, but if you are not Dominican, and have never lived in the Dominican Republic, you will probably not understand the passion that Dominicans feel for concón. My suggestion is that you try it, you could be surprised.

Time: 35 Mins
Difficulty: Medium
Serve: 4 people

Before starting to cook: No prior preparation is necessary.

Ingredients:
4 cups of rice
6 cups water
5 tablespoons of oil
1 teaspoon of salt

Preparation:

Heat up 3 spoons of oil, add the salt and water. Bring to a boil and then add the rice, stirring regularly to avoid excessive sticking. When all the water has evaporated cover with a tight fitting lid and allow to simmer at very low heat. Wait 15 minutes and remove lid, stir, add the remaining oil and cover again. In 5 minutes the rice should be firm but tender inside. If necessary, cover and leave another 5 minutes on very low heat.

Serve with meat, (or seafood) a side dish and beans.

***Concon - Just let the rice cook a little longer (about 5 - 10 minutes) so that the crust forms at the bottom***

Morir Soñando (Slip Away in a Dream)



Morir Soñando,literally translated means "to die in a dream". To be honest, its the most appropriate name for it. This unusual mix is one of Dominicans' favorite drinks. Truly heavenly.

Before starting to cook: Mix the milk and the sugar to taste. Put the milk in the freezer until it is very cold.

Time:
10 Mins
Difficulty: Easy
Serve: 4 people

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 4 cups of evaporated milk
  • 2 1/2 cup of ice cubes

Preparation:
  1. Mix sugar and milk and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Add the ice to the milk and stir. Slowly pour the orange juice in the milk stirring constantly. Serve immediately.


Bistec encebollado (Steak with onions)




Many Dominicans eat their meat cooked over a long period of time until it becomes tender and flaky. This might not be of your preference. Feel free to cook the meat as best suits you.

Time: 40 Mins
Difficulty: Medium
Serve: 4 people

Before starting to cook: Wash the meat with warm water and scrub with the lemon. Cut in small pieces.

Ingredients:
  • 4 lbs prime beef cut into 2 inches-wide strips
  • 4 small red onion sliced in strips
  • 4 tablespoons of oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
  • Salt

Preparation:
  1. Sprinkle the steaks with pepper, salt and oregano and rub with the garlic, reserve. In a pot heat half the oil and sautee the onions until they become transparent. Add the vinegar and simmer over very low heat until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the pan and reserve.
  2. In the same pan add the steaks and pan fry until the meat is of your liking. Remove the steaks from the pan and reserve. Add the onions to the pan to reheat them.
  3. Serve with Arroz Blanco (White Rice), a side dish (or salad) and beans.

Tostones (Flattened fried plantains)


Tostones is, without doubt, Dominican's favorite side dish.
Consider this dish as "Dominican Fries"

Time: 15 Mins
Difficulty: Easy
Serve: 4 people

Before starting to cook: No prior preparation is necessary.

Ingredients:
  • 2 unripe plantains
  • 1/2 cup of oil
  • Salt

Preparation:
  1. Peel the plantains and cut into 1 inch thick slices. In a deep frying pan heat the oil and fry the plantains till golden brown. Flatten the plantains using the bottom of a flat-bottomed glass bottle. Fry the plantains again for 30 seconds on each side.
  2. A little salt sprinkled over
  3. Serve immediately.
***Ketchup or Ketchup & Mayonnaise makes a great dip!***

Pan con aguacate (Avocado-stuffed bread)

There are many ways to prepare this simple & delectable dish. Here I present you with my own version of "Pan con aguacate" that you can change to your own liking. The ingredients marked as optional are my own addition; skip them if you prefer the traditional Dominican preparation.

Time: 10 Mins
Difficulty: Easy
Serve:
4 people

Before starting to cook:
No prior preparation is necessary.

Ingredients:
  • 2 avocados
  • Juice of half a lime or 1 teaspoon of fruit vinegar
  • 2 mini-baguettes
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 small red pepper cut into small cubes (optional)
  • 1/2 small red onion cut into small cubes(optional)
  • Salt
  • Cilantro
Preparation:
  1. Peel and cut the avocados into slices and mix with the onions and pepper. Season with lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Top the bread with this mix, and garnish it with a cilantro leaf. Serve immediately!