Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Arroz Amarillo Con Chorizo y Garbanzo (Yellow Rice with Spanish Sausage and Chickpeas)

This is not my grandmother's recipe or anything like that, this is my recipe and I sorta made it up, well kinda.

I had seen a recipe behind the GOYA pack of dried garbanzos (or was it the can?), for yellow rice and chickpeas, I had also seen a recipe like that in another Cuban group, also on my blog when I posted "Arroz Amarillo Con Salchichas" one of my readers Mamey commented on rice with Spanish sausage.

So after a while of just thinking (I tend to day dream and yes sometimes I'll day dream about food and come up with idea's) I thought that a combination of Spanish Chorizo and Garbanzo would go really well cooked/ steamed together with rice. Sort of like a rice version of my grandma's (Tata's) Potaje de Garbanzo except no potatoes, cabbage, or squash, or chunks of pork or beef, just sausage and chickpeas and rice seasoned in the same fashion (yes yes I know I suck at expressing myself sometimes)

-3 cups white long-grain rice
-water (depends 1 1/2 cups for regular long grain rice per 1 cup rice or equal water to rice for a new crop long-grain white jasmine rice)
-1-2 cans of drained and rinsed canned chickpeas/ garbanzo (I used 1 but if I had another can I would've added 2)
-2 links of "El Mino" Spanish Chorizo or 1/2 of regular "Chorizo Espanol" (I use Palacio's "Chorizo Autentico Espanol") remove casing, and thinly sliced into rounds.
-1 small- medium green or red bell pepper finely chopped
-1 medium onion finely chopped
-1/2 a head garlic mashed to a paste (mortar or garlic press, if you don't have just finely mince)
-extra-virgin olive oil (as needed to sautee, etc. atleast 1/4 cup)
-1/2- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1 teaspoon Bijol or even better for this dish I think "Saffron"
-2 bay leaves
-atleast 2 tsp. salt or more (tastethe rice water if it's salty like the ocean that's good)
(1)Wash rice until water runs clear about 2-3 times. Add water, and set aside in rice cooker.
(2)Heat extra-virgin olive oil on medium to medium high heat, when hot enough add sliced spanish chorizo, fry the chorizo until the color and spices of the chorizo infuse into the oil (it won't take long maybe 1-2 minutes), now add onion and bell pepper sautee for 7 minutes or so until translucent, add garlic and sautee another 2-3 minutes.

(3)Turn off heat and add the sautee to the rice, add drained rinsed garbanzos, cumin, bay leaves, bijol or saffron and salt. Cover and turn on rice cooker, wait for it to beep when it beeps it's done, uncover and fluff rice and mix gently then serve.
(4)You can adjust the recipe to cook it on stovetop (simply sautee all the stuff, add washed drained rice seal it in the oil, add water, spices, chickpeas bring to boil and cover on low for about 30 minutes or so.
Everyone in my house loved this dish, we served it with some "Camarones en Salsa Criolla" (shrimp in Cuban tomato based Creole sauce) and "Ensalada de Aji" (Fire roasted bell pepper in garlic lime sauce)

I know some may think, "Oh gosh another lame yellow rice dish they are all so the same" my response, "THEY ARE NOT!" they have common components but the slight changes make a huge impact on the taste of the resulting dish, the strong smokey flavor of the Spanish Sausage that is packed with spanish paprika makes this dish unique and have a distinct flavor, the little Chickpeas get flavored by everything and taste so good in there so don't leave them out I insist.

Hehe I'm posting this from my father's lap top, turns out he's okay with me storing my food pics in his computer for now :) until I get my computer back.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Not Gonna Blog For a Couple Weeks Maybe

Hello this is Nathan again, my personal home computer is at some place for repair, so I won't be able to upload photos and post recipes, although I am taking photos and cooking still (so whenever I get my computer back about 2-3 weeks I'll start posting and have some treats)

Short story, my microsoft internet explorer stopped working (so I was using Firefox) but I am currently taking some Computer Science class and that class is only compatible with microsoft internet explorer, so I had warranty on my computer for anything so I simply took it and told them to fix it for me (I tried to fix it on my own but unsuccessful it must be some simple problem maybe with the settings but I still couldn't figure it out)


I am writing this from my computer science lab right now, I really should be paying attention in class...

OH YEAH! If I'm lucky or up for the mood, patient, and have time I'll just deal with my dad's SLOW computer and use that to save my photos and keep posting until I get mine back.

Just wanted to keep my reader's informed :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Arroz Amarillo Con Gandules de Tata (Grandma's Rice and Pigeon Peas)

The reason I called this recipe my "Grandma's" is because I have another recipe in this blog called "Arroz Con Gandules", what I am posting now is my grandma's version of "Arroz Con Gandules" the other one I posted is a recipe from a Puerto Rican friend names "Lily"

Arroz Con Gandules is considered a Puerto Rican dish, but we have always consumed "Arroz Con Gandules" in my household, probably my grandmas version is "Cubanized" or she just makes it "her way"

My grandmas interpretation of this dish is yellow rice cooked with pigeon peas and browned pork little pork chunks, with a strong simple "sofrito" just seasoned with salt, bijol and cumin (very basic and simple)


-1 or 2 cans 15 oz. Gandules (pigeon peas) drained (depends how much you want in your rice we usually use 1 can)

-3 cups white long-grain rice
-water (depends what type of rice if you use regular long grain rice it's 1 1/2 cups water per 1 cup rice, if you use Jasmine Rice that is new and fresh like from this year 2009 which is what I eat at home, use equal water to rice)
-1/4-1/2 lbs. pork meat cut into little cubes like 1/2 inch big (like pork shoulder or boneless leg of pork, etc.)
-1 small green bell pepper finely minced
-1 medium onion finely minced
-5-6 cloves garlic mashed to a paste (through a garlic press)
-salt to taste ATLEAST 2 teaspoons
-1/2-1 tsp. ground cumin (to taste don't over do it for this dish or it will over power it)
-1 tsp. Bijol (annato/ achiote seed powder)
-atleast 1/4 cup olive oil or lard or bacon grease (my grandmother prefers bacon grease or lard leftover from making fried pork rinds to cook this dish, of course you can be really healthy and use extra-virgin olive oil, which also has a delicious taste, either way it will taste really good)

(1)Wash rice really well until water runs clear, strain well, put in rice cooker and add water, set aside.

(2)Heat pan on medium high heat, add olive oil or lard, let it heat up a bit like 5 minutes more or less. Be sure the oil is hot enough, you can test it by dipping a wooden spoon if it sizzles it's ready,

(3)Season pork cubes with 1 teaspoon salt (trust me) and add to hot oil, let it fry in one layer underdisturbed until browned. About 5 minutes more or less. Add minced onion and bell pepper and cook down together with pork for about 5-7 minutes, add minced garlic afterwards and cook for 2 minutes or so until fragrant.

(4)Turn off heat and dump this sautee into the rice cooker with the rice and water, mix well. Add drained can of pigeon peas, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon "Bijol", and 1/2- 1 teaspoon cumin. Mix well. Taste the water in there, it should be salty like ocean water, if not add more salt carefully. Increasing by 1/2 tsp. and so on but don't use more than 3 tsp.
(6)Cover and turn on rice cooker and set to cook, when it beeps the rice is done. Fluff it and it's ready.

(5)Serve with whatever you want, I like it with a simple salad, of sliced tomato, cucumber, and onion dressed in lime and salt along with a meat dish that's grilled or pan-fried.

(1)You can adjust this to your stove top, fry the pork, and make the sofrito (sautee of onion, garlic, and bell pepper) add the cleaned drained rice stir well to coat with sofrito, add water, salt, cumin, bijol, and drained can of pigeon peas, bring to a boil, stir, then cover and lower heat to low to cook for about 30 minutes covered, then open to check if it's done if so turn off heat and fluff.

ALSO here is "Lily's" "Arroz Con Gandules" it's prepared differently than my grandmas and is also delicious, both my Tata's and Lily's are delicious, each one has their own unique delicousness:

(1)Lily's Arroz Con Gandules

What should I label this? Should I label it Cuban sense it's my grandmother's version and it is in my opinion more "Cubanized" (since it's just a simple sofrito, cumin, salt, bijol and some pork)

I think I'll label it "Cuban" for navigation purposes, but if anyone has a problem with that, speak up and leave a comment, I'll gladly change it to "Puerto Rican"

Do any other Cubans here also eat or make "Arroz Con Gandules"?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Galleta Cubana Con Dulce Guayaba y Queso (Cuban Crackers with Guava and Cheese)

I was wondering if I should even post this (it is ridiculously simple, but trust me we have simpler snacks and sweets than this ha ha) but any who I'm here to share, and that's what I'll do, who knows maybe some other people have seen "Galletas Cubanas" (Cuban crackers) and never bought them because they don't know what to do with them. I decided to blog about them when I got home from school (hungry) and ate a mountain of white rice with cuban "Albondigas Con Salsa de Tomate" and a salad, but then my sweet tooth kicked in (like always) and there was a bag of these sitting on the counter and I had everything on hand thus I said to myself, "Why not take a picture of this simple joy and share it"

Cuban crackers hmmm... let see how I can describe them... well they are not salty, very plain, yet buttery, thick/ sturdy, crunchy but somehow easily breaks, feel's sort of powdery to. It's hard for me to describe, it makes a really good bed for different spreads or just ham with cheese, or ham with cream cheese, even for a deviled ham dip (yes Cubans make deviled ham dips that will be left up to another post) BUT in this post I will show it with guava paste and cream cheese. I don't know any Cuban that doesn't love Guava paste especially paired with a cheese in any shape way or form, as Marilyn from "My Cuban Traumas" once told me, "Nos corre la Guayaba por la sangre" (translates to, "Guava runs through our vains")

I love them, but not all "Galletas Cubanas" are created equally, from experience I have bought pre-packaged one's that are "Faraon" they tend to be really old, they are almost chewy? Cuban crackers are not suppose to be chewy or flexible or thin like the "Faraon" brand one's...

The one's I buy come from "Portos Bakery" which here in Southern California is a very reputable well known Cuban bakery, and is the only good Cuban bakery in California in my opinion. They have the authentic fresh made Cuban bread, the pastries, etc., my family goes there usually from Sunday brunch, we order an assortment Pastelito's de Guayaba (Guava Strudels), Pastelitos de Carne (Cuban Meat Pies stuffed with ground beef), and Cuban Sandwiches and Medianoches to drink we usually get "Batidos" (different types of shakes Guava, Mango, etc) or our Cafe Cubano.

I don't live to far from Portos but not close enough either, luckily I have a little "Bodeguita" near me (a small store, it carries many Cuban products) and they get their "Galleta's Cubanas" from Portos Bakery delivered. The bag has no labels or names only the Portos logo, they sell quickly there and are delicious and fresh. Although they can last up to 3 weeks or more.

-Galleta Cubana (Cuban Cracker)
-Philidalphia Cream Cheese
-Guava paste (the best one's are from flat, round, tin cans, I use "Goya" brand)
(1)Grab 1 Galleta, spread generous amounts of cream cheese on it.
(2)Top with a pair of thick slices of guava paste.
(3)Repeat process to make more. Then enjoy! Simple I know :)

(4)These make really good finger foods at parties, usually in our gatherings at home we have big plates full of a bunch of these and they finish quickly.


(1)Frituritas de Guayaba

(2)Cascos de Guayaba y Refresco de Guayaba (Guava shells in Syrup and Guava drink)

(3)Guayaba en Almibar (whole Guava in syrup)

P.S. (not important just me rambling)

Cuban crackers in Spanish is called "Galleta Cubanas". Although "Galleta" directly translates to cookie, but it can also mean "cracker" depending how it's used (there is no word for crackers in spanish, we combine the name "cookie" with other words to refer to it, like saltine crackers we call it "Galletas Saladas" translates to "salty cookie"

In "cuban" spanish (maybe in other countries spanish to) Galleta can also mean "slap" for example, "Te voy a dar una galleta" it can mean "I am going to slap you" or "I am gonna give you a cookie" depending on the tone. If you wanna emphasize the "slapping" making it sound like a super hard angry slap and just wanna sound big you can call it a "Galletazo" for example in this context it will always mean slap, specifically a big hard slap, "Te voy a romper la boca de un galletazo chico!" english equivalent, "Boy, I'm gonna break your mouth with one big @$$ slap" okay enough of that, just thought it would be interesting to share. (Cuban spanish can be very different in word usage and pronaunciation, we tend to skip "s" and "r" in words and shorten things, etc. it's more similar to the Spanish of Spain's "Canary Islands")

Monday, February 9, 2009

Arroz Con Leche de mi Tata (My Grandmas Rice Pudding)

I LOVE my Tata's (grandmother's) rice pudding.

Different countries have their own version of "Arroz Con Leche" and different cooks have their own personalized versions. It varies greatly, even in flavor and texture, the common thing is there's always a dairy and rice.

So what makes my grandmother's version worthwhile and delicious? Well it's so rich, creamy, and dense infused with a light lime or lemon flavor and cinnamon flavor. It incorporates whole milk, velvety evaporated milk, and rich creamy sweet condensed milk... as if that wasn't enough the butter gives it an unsurpassed richness and density. The short grain rice also makes it more creamy, more like risotto.

It's like "Arroz Con Leche" on steroids.

-2 cups short-grain rice (such as Valencia, , Bomba, Calaspara, Calrose, even other types of Japanese & Korean short-grain rices, oh almost forgot Arborio Rice also works here.)

-4 cups water
-1 big pinch of salt (about 1/4- 1/2 tsp. salt)
-2 cinnamon sticks
-2 small or 1 medium lime only the peel (lemon peel can be used in it's absence)
-3 cups whole milk
-1 can evaporated milk
-1 can sweetened condensed milk
-3/4's cup white cane sugar
-4- 8 tablespoons butter (that's about 1/2- 1 stick of butter)
-1/2- 1 cup regular raisins (optional some people hate raisins)
-ground cinnamon (to dust)

(1)In a large pot put rice and wash rice well, wash and drain about 3-5 times until water runs clear.

(2)Add water, salt, lime peel, and cinnamon stick, bring to a boil on high heat (stir occasionally while waiting for it to boil) once boiled stir, cover, and let simmer on low heat for 25-30 minutes on the lowest heat until rice absorbs water.

(3)Meanwhile in a big bowl mix evaporated milk with whole milk, whisk in sweetened condensed milk and incorporate 3 milks well. (whatever you can't get out of the sweetened condensed milk can don't worry grab a spoon and scoop it out and eat it as a treat for you ha ha)

(4)Once the rice absorbs all the water, slowly add 3 milks mixture and stir in , bring heat back to high heat, and stir every 5 minutes occasionally until milk comes to a raging boil with the rice.

Trust me at first it will feel like you added to much milk but the rice will absorb a lot of it and thicken with time.
(5)Lower heat to low and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes total. After 5 minutes of of boiling on low the rice should have absorbed some of the milk and thickened a bit, check if grains are tender, add in white sugar, stir well, taste and see if you want to add more sugar to taste.

(6)At this point let it cook an additional 5 minutes, add the butter towards the end, and add the raisins to stir until everything is well incorporated.

(7)Turn off heat and dust lightly with ground cinnamon. (Your probably wondering why I have 1 pot and 1 other ceramic filled with rice pudding the reason is my father and little sister do not like raisins, so before adding the raisins I set aside some without raisins for my Dad and sister and whomever else may want to eat it without raisins)


This can be eaten as dessert at any temperature desired, it can be eaten hot, warm, room temp., or cold, it doesn't matter it's whatever you like. In hot day's I like it cold, in the winter I like it piping hot or warm. You can serve it in individual bowls and dust with cinnamon on those or like in my house we just make a big batch and everyone just get's their own bowl and goes help themselves. You can also eat this as a snack or heck even a big bowl for breakfast or late night meal ha ha.

Also, in case your wondering why I call my grandma "Tata" it's because she say's that's what they called grandmas in her family grandpa was called "Tato". I went to do some research and it came up that it's sometimes used in Madrid, Spain by some to refer to grandpa or grandma, it is used when the child is to young to properly say grandpa or grandma I think that's what came up, I don't know, some Cubans also call their grandma "Tata" and some Spaniards do to., I'm grown up well kinda and still call my grandmother "Tata" and she'd kill me if I called her anything else she say's "Abuela" (Grandma) or "Abuelita" (Granny) make her feel old.

*If you want to speed up the cooking time, while the rice is cooking with the water for about 25-30 minutes or so, you can mix the 3 milk mixtures and bring it to a boil then leave it on really low heat, that way when the rice has absorbed the water and you have to add the milk you won't have to wait long for the milk to come to a boil, after it boils you'll be done in like 10 more minutes.

*Well that's all I have to share for today :) Til next time ha ha.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Arroz Rojo Mexicano (Mexican Red Rice)

I'm re-posting this I had this in my blog before but it had no pictures

Mexican rice in Mexico is known as "Arroz Rojo" (literally red rice) or "Sopa de Arroz" (soup of rice, it doesn't make sense and I have no idea how other name for it came to be since this isn't a soup in any way)

Mexican rice. Pretty common, most people know what it is. This is my mom's recipe and it is better than any other Mexican cooks rice.

Some people say it's bland that's probably because they don't know how to make it or had it from a bad cook.

Most home cooks add some chopped carrots and peas. For a beautiful color and a nice sweet bite here and there.

Those are optional but I think it makes a big difference and is nice presentation
It's CRITICAL not to skimp on the sodium here.

-1 1/2 cup rice (rinsed well and drained of most water remove as much water as possible you'll see why later even put it through a fine strainer)
-water(depends on the brand of rice you use regular long-grain white rice use 1 1/2 cups per 1 cup trust me, do the math for the 1/2 cup in this recipe I think it's like for the 1/2 cup it's 3/4's water?)
-1/2 of chopped onion minced
-2 garlic clove minced
-1 8oz can tomato sauce (or 2 large ripe tomatoes finely chopped)
-2/3 cup chopped squared carrots (optional)
-2/3 cup sweet peas (optional)
-2 teaspoonfuls chicken bouillon
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-salt to taste (the water should be salty like the ocean)
-2 bay leaves (optional)
-Cooking oil
-1/2 a bunch of cilantro leaves minced to garnish (optional)

(1)Before you start bring water to a boil in a separate pot then turn it off.

(2)Heat a GENEROUS (notice the emphasis on generous) amount of cooking oil heat it on medium low. (don't worry, after teh rice is toasted we are going to drain most of the excess oil)

(3)Add the rice and toast it until a strong golden brown. Stir constantly it may take 5 minutes or longer but if you don't stir it wont brown evenly and clump up BE PATIENT

(4)Add the onion and sautee until translucent then add garlic until fragrant.

(5)Stir in tomato sauce stir well, then add water.

(6)Add the bouillon and cumin and carrots and peas.

(7)Bring to a boil and add bay leaves cover to cook for about 30 minutes on low.

(8)Open to check if cooked, taste it. Check if theres any water left on the bottom. At this point add cilantro over the top.

(9)Turn of heat and cover for 5 minutes to let it fully poof more.

(10)DON'T FLUFF WITH A FORK! (for this dish my mom just thinks you shouldn't like I guess in Mexican culture if you fluff the whole pan of Mexican Rice shouldn't be fluffed because she say's it looks "manociado" which would translate to "touched to much" like messy leftovers? I don't know it's her idea) the reason in the picture a huge chunk is missing is because my little sister had taken a big plate before I was able to take a picture.

(11)Your done, this can be used as a side for anything, good with some grilled meats, refried beans, hot sauces or pico de gallo, etc.

If you where interested in teh Mexican Red Rice you may be interested in the:

Mexican "Green Rice"

Papas Con Chorizo (Mexican Potatoes and Sausage)

The Mexican version of Potatoes and Sausage, this uses a raw pork sausage called "Chorizo Mexicano" (to Mexicans it's just known as "Chorizo") I'm not sure what it's seasoned with.

Potatoes are cubed, fried until golden, drained, and tossed in a flavorful sautee of garlic, onion, chili pepper, tomato, crumbled cooked Mexican chorizo, salt and pepper. Very simple.

This recipe can also be made with Mexican pork longaniza which is simply called "Longaniza de Puerco" it's a type of sausage that is fresh, and can be removed from casing and crumbled I am not sure what it is seasoned with but I believe it has dried "Chile California" maybe cumin, allspice, pepper, etc. not so sure.


The difference between Mexican Chorizo and the Longaniza is that Mexican pork Chorizo is more pale, and very very fresh, it also has a higher fat content in comparison to the longaniza. (I'm speaking from what I have observed)

Mexican Chorizo get's a bad reputation for being "overly" greasy, but I must say it really depends what brand you buy, and where you buy it, the one I buy is from "Vallarta" (a chain of of stores that sells mostly Latin, Central, and South American products, it cater's mostly to Mexicans) at that store I can find the chorizo fresh, it's not branded I don't know if they make it on site but they have these huge ropes they cut off of when you ask for Chorizo at the deli & creamerie within the store.

A lot of the pre-packaged brands are kinda gross to me, they are toooo greasy, runny, fall apart easily etc. and overly salted, and have a weird almost rediculously artificial red color, if you are using a pre-packaged one that is like that, be sure that when you fry it in the oil to drain some of the fat.
-6 regular brown potatoes (peeled and cut into cubes)
-2-3 medium sized Mexican Chorizos about 1 lbs. (casing removed, crumbled)

-1 onion finely chopped
-1 green chili pepper such as Jalapeño or Serrano peppers minced
-6 cloves of garlic finely minced (preferably through a garlic press)
-2 medium round tomatoes or 3 roma tomatoes finely chopped
-salt to taste
-ground black pepper to taste
-1/2 a bunch or more of finely minced or chopped cilantro leaves (cleaned)
-cooking oil (something with a high smoking point, a neutral flavored oil, I use canola for deep-frying, and high heat cooking)

(1)Heat oil on medium high heat, let it heat for like 5 minutes. Make sure to enough oil to pan-fry the cubed potatoes, add the potatoes, and let them fry for about 15-20 minutes until golden, stirring and folding every 5-8 or more minutes, just check it occasionally.

(2)While that's cooking (the potatoes) take the casing off the chorizo, add to a pan on medium high heat, and crumble and let brown, depending on the chorizo you may need or not need to add a little oil. Let it brown and cook through (remember this is a raw sausage it neeeds to be cooked unless you wanna risk food poisoning)

(3)So meanwhile the potatoes are frying, and the chorizo is cooking down, take advantage and chop up the onions, garlic, chili pepper, and tomatoes.

(4)When the chorizo is browning add the onions and chili pepper and let them cook until they are translucent about 5 minutes or more, add garlic sautee like 1-2 minutes until fragrant, add salt and pepper and cook down another minute.

(5)While you where sauteeing the potatoes should've been done, remove them, set them on a plate or whatever with paper towels and lightly salt them.

(6)Add the cubed fried potatoes to the sautee, mix well and cook for a little bit not long just enough to incorporate everything, taste for salt.

(7)Turn off heat and garnish with cilantro.

*You can serve this as a side with whatever you want, it can replace the meat and vegetable dishes in a meal since it has potatoes and sausage, serving this with a meat dish would be to heavy. (of course I am no authority in anything, these are just suggestions you don't need to listen to me)

*You can serve it with tortillas, a hot sauce if desired,seasoned refried beans or boiled beans and that's it. It can even be used as a filling for tacos.

*If having for breakfast, you can have it with eggs prepared however you want or over-easy. You can even make it for breakfast and add beaten eggs to it to make a potato, sausage, egg type scramble

*When I had this I just had it with Mexican rice, and I like to put some unsalted Mexican cream on my Mexican rice, you can use regular sour cream if unsalted Mexican cream is not available.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Harina de Maiz Con Patas de Cangrejo (Cuban Polenta with Crab Legs)

It doesn't get more messy and home-style than this. These are crab legs and claws cooked in a flavorful cornmeal pudding with a strong cuban sofrito and spices. This dish is VERY MESSY! The crab legs and claws are smothered in polenta, you got to use your hands and teeth and dig in that's how you eat this, and a spoon to eat the polenta, but for the most part you'll be using your hand and mouth to break the crab leg pieces and suck the polenta stuck to them, the delicious polenta even get's inside the crab legs so good. I suggest you eat this with family and close friends because it is not a dish to be practicing one's "manners"

Cubans refer to cornmeal used to make "polenta" type dishes as "Harina de Maiz" which means "Flour of Corn" if translated directly. We use regular fine yellow corn meal for this stuff.

Cuban cornmeal based dishes are almost non-existent in Cuban restaurants from what I have seen and I really don't know why they aren't in Cuban restaurant menu's. I'm sure many would love them.

In Cuban cooking cornmeal was used to make cormeal porridges similar to polenta that are flavored with typical Cuban seasonings, and then meat or seafood is added, such as pork, shrimp, or crab that's how it is in my household. Also cornmeal can be boiled with water or milk and sweetened with sugar to have it as a breakfast, or simply just boiled with water and salt to use in place of rice in Cuban cooking. We also have a dessert called "Majarete" (Sweet Cuban Corn pudding) which can be made with a really fine ground cormeal. Eventually in my blog I will have all the cornmeal dishes that I enjoy in my house posted to share with all of you.

Anyways in Oriente provinces (Eastern Cuba) my grandma told me that plain boiled salted cornmeal was usually associated with "poor people food" as it was cheap and filling, and during the depression it was popular. OF COURSE she says that many people consumed it simply because they enjoyed it (such as her and her family which where never poor in Cuba and fortunate enough to leave before that revolution and Castro's conquest of Cuba)

Just so you guys know when I speak of Cuban cooking I speak of pre-castro, as in 1950's and way more back as in the food my grandmother and grandfathers family cooked a long time ago and passed on through generations which eventually ended up with me still preserving their cooking and eating habits.

-2 lbs. crab legs and claws (washed well, and torn into segments like seperate them at each joint into sections)
-2 cups yellow cornmeal
-10 cups water
-1 medium onion minced
-1 medium or small green bell pepper minced
-1/2 a head of garlic peeled mashed to a paste (garlic press or mortar)
-extra-virgin olive oil
-salt to taste (about 2 tsp. or more)
-1/2- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1 teaspoon "Bijol" (annato seed/ achiote powder)

(1)Have everything chopped and ready. In a large pot, bring 10 cups water to a boil WITH NO SALT.

(2)Meanwhile heat generous amounts of olive oil in a pan, sautee onions and bell pepper until translucent (5-7 minutes) add garlic and sautee until fragrant. You may add a few pinches of salt in there. Stir and set aside in pan leave it alone. Turn off heat.

(3)Get cornmeal and put it in a bowl, wash it in cold water twice. Yes you heard wash it to remove excess starch. You do this by putting it in a big bowl, adding water and swooshing your hands, then letting it sit less than a minute so the cornmeal sinks back down just a bit and pouring water out. Do this twice.

(4)Add this to the boiling water and stir constantly (this is the toughest part if you don't stir constantly it will lump on you) stir well on high heat until it comes to a bubbling boil (you do not want this hot bubbling cornmeal to jump at you it hurts). When it's boiling lower to low heat, cook it for a total of 15 minutes.

(5)When cooking for 15 minutes, lower heat to very low, add cumin, bijol, salt to taste, and "sofrito" (onion, garlic, bell pepper sautee in olive oil), stir well, add crab legs and claws and brin to medium heat stir gently for about 5 more minutes until flavors come through, taste if it needs more salt.

(6)It's DONE! You do not want to serve this piping hot it WILL BURN YOU! Let it sit a bit, then serve it.

You serve this as a stand alone dish if you wish a light salad or some vegetable dish in a separate plate may be served.


My grandmother does this "a lo Gallego" very rustic and carefree, the crab shells really add much flavor to the dish, IT IS MESSY AND FUN! I suggest you try it :)