This dish takes me back to the good memories of my childhood. To what we were, but we sometimes forget. It takes me to those formative years that mark a whole life. What we eat in our childhood is carried on with us despite of any gastronomical experience gained over the years. It does not matter how fancy or sophisticated our palate has become today. The truth is that the food we ate in our childhood is the one that impacts us the most. Food is not only part of our subsistence, but it is also a social, cultural and psychological phenomena – a patron that grows within us from our experiences accumulated throughout our lives.
And today one more time I go back to the way I ate with this simple dish of my childhood, a “moro”. For this recipe I am using guandules-gandules, a Dominican Christmas classic and a favorite among my family. In the DR the guandules are always fresh, but here in the USA we can only get them frozen or canned. Fresh are always better, but without any other option I opted for the canned. Guandules if fresh cook quite quickly so no hassle there.
So here is this simple and easy recipe. This is only one recipe out the many I have. Although this dish is part of the Dominican gastronomic identity; it is also very Puerto Rican and often found in most Latin American home’s parties in New York City.
So as there are many households in the DR so there are recipes varieties to make this dish. Not without the rice and beans though…..you can experiment with different seasonings and herbs but there is not “moro” without rice and beans, at least in the Dominican Republic, although I have to say that my quinoa “moro” is very good. Moro is such an ordinary dish that it is prepared all the time, daily in one house or the other, one region or another, with one ingredient or the other, with coconut, chicken stock, or with the famous “sopita or chicken bouillon”. “Moro”, a common dish, an essential to the Dominican people, it is in the DR “de pan nuestro de cada dia” this is just a metaphor relating to something that is done daily -as our daily bread. A su salud!
To serve and garnishing:
- Serve approximately 12-13 persons (for half the people cut the recipe in half)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- I batch of Dominican Sofrito-sazon (recipe follows)
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 ½ lbs. Gandules-guandules (fresh if you can find it) I used Goya canned
- 1 ½ lbs. parboiled rice
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
- For the Dominican sofrito-sazon:
- 2 medium onions
- 1 cubanelle pepper
- 2 plum tomatoes
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 biter orange (or apple cider vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon dry oregano
- 1 small cilantro bunch
- Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric, achiotte or saffron (I used turmeric)
For the sofrito
Cut the onions, pepper and the plum tomatoes in mirepoix or chopped. Place in a food processer with the rest of the ingredients. Blend everything until pure. Reserve until needed.
Place a cast aluminum or heavy pot in the stove and add the coconut and olive oil. Sweat the sofrito for about 10 minutes or until all the flavor had rendered. Add the capers, gandules and cook for a few minutes.
Add the rice (do not wash this rice- it does not need to be washed as the rice has been partially boil). Add the water, and coconut milk; cook uncovered until all liquid evaporates. Stir the rice well with a fork and regularly to avoid the rice from sticking. Do not cover the pot until all the liquid evaporates.
Before covering it stir the rice again and cover it tightly.
Lower the heat to low and cook for about 20 -25 minutes. Stir the rice from bottom to top and serve.
Parboiled rice: rice that has been partially boiled.
Sofrito: Dominican blend of fresh herbs, veggies and dry ingredients such as onions, garlic, green peppers, cilantro, oregano, salt and vinegar.
This post is also available in: Spanish