I’ve just recently gotten more interested in cooking and baking, but my Cuban cooking skills definitely need a little ‘fine tuning’. Over the next week I am listing my TOP 15 Cuban Dishes to master in the New Year. So join me as I will be learning these recipes throughout 2011.
My friends always ask me ‘What is Cuban Food? Is it spicy? Do you eat tortillas? They usually think it’s something similar to Mexican food, because there is a Taco stand on just about every corner here in California. I normally tell them Cuban food is a lot of onions, garlic, bell peppers, white rice, black beans and pork. Below is a little Cuban food history that I found interesting.
A Brief History of Cuban Food
Cuban cuisine is the result of the mixing of Spanish, aboriginal, African and Caribbean cuisines. Cuban recipes share spices and techniques with Spanish and African cooking, with some Caribbean influence in spice and flavor. This results in a unique, interesting and flavorful blend of the several different cultural influences. A small, but noteworthy, Chinese influence can also be accounted for, mainly in the Havana area. During colonial times, Cuba was an important port for trade, and many Spaniards who lived there brought their culinary traditions along with them.
Rice and beans are a culinary element found throughout Cuba, although it varies by region. In the eastern part of the island, “arroz congri oriental” is the predominant rice and bean dish. White rice and red kidney beans are cooked together with a sofrito and then baked in the oven. The same procedure is used for the above mentioned Congri (also known by the terms Arroz Moro and Moros y Cristianos – literally “Moors and Christians”) which instead uses black beans. Although the process of preparing the black bean soup contains basics (onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt) each region has their tradition of preparing it.