Cuban rice has the same Cuban character as paella: nothing. The combination of white rice, tomato sauce, egg, and sometimes banana, it is a spanish invention; but its false name does not take one iota of joy out of eating it. It is not only that it reminds many of us of childhood: its mixture of flavors and textures is an absolute success, as long as the dish is treated with the respect it deserves.
Between a Cuban rice with the stale cereal and dodgy tomato from a pot and one made with care there is an abyss the size of the Caribbean. That’s why our recipe bets on a Cuban-style stir-fry -this yes-, a well-seasoned rice and some plantain tostones that are crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. If you want to see how it’s done, click play in the video above.
RICE A LA CUBANA FIRST
For 4 people
- 350 g long rice
- 500 ml chicken broth
- 4 eggs
- 500 g of crushed tomato
- 4 green bananas
- 1 onion
- ½ green pepper
- ½ red pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- Chop the onion, red and green peppers.
- Sauté them with a little oil and a pinch of salt in a frying pan until they soften, over low heat for 10-15 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic, bay leaf, cumin and oregano, and cook for a couple more minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, the crushed tomato and a little salt and pepper.
- Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until reduced and thickened.
- While the sauce is being made, wash the rice and combine it with the broth and a little salt in a saucepan.
- Heat it over high heat, and when it starts to boil, lower it to a low heat and cook for about 15 minutes, until it has absorbed the broth.
- Let it rest for five more minutes off the heat. Put a cloth under the lid so that the steam does not drip.
- Peel the green plantains and fry them in oil over medium heat until soft but not brown. Flip them over so they cook on all sides.
- When they have softened, remove them from the oil, place them between two layers of plastic wrap and gently squash them with a frying pan or saucepan.
- Increase the heat and, when the oil is hot, fry the tostones until they are golden brown and crisp. Put them on kitchen paper so they lose excess fat and season them.
- If the oil from the bananas has not burned, lower the heat and brown three cloves of garlic cut into sheets in it. If it has steamed a lot, change it and do the same with a new one.
- Remove the garlic, chop them and add them to the rice along with three or four tablespoons of the oil in which they have been fried. Add chopped parsley and stir.
- Fry the eggs in the remaining oil and salt them. Add the rice, the eggs, the sauce and the banana, and serve.
If you make this recipe, share the result on your social networks with the hashtag #RecetasComidista. And if it goes wrong, complain to the Chef’s Ombudsman by sending an email to [email protected]
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.