About Cuban Food
Cuban Food Culture
Cuban Cooking Terminology
-a folkloric expression that means a plate of rice and beans with a fried egg "mounted" on top.
Aceite con Achiote
Aceite de Maiz
-olive. The olive most used is the manzanilla, which is a pitted green olive stuffed with pimiento.
-Swiss chard. Used to make caldo Gallego (Galician Soup).
-West Indian or Bardados cherry. This fruit is best known for its high vitamin C content. Traditionally it was used to make refresco de acerola, or acerola juice.
Achiote or Achote
-a container used to store annatto oil with its seeds. The oil is heated every time it is needed so the seeds can release their yellow color.
-The basic seasoning combination of Puerto Rican cooking.
Agua de Azahar
-orange blossom water. A distilled water made of orange blossoms, used to flavor traditional desserts like rice-flour stovetop custard.
Aji Caballero or Aji Picante
-hot chili pepper. A hot pepper about 1 inch long. It is the only hot pepper used in traditional cooking. It is also used to make pigue, a fermented vinegar used as a condiment.
-sweet chili pepper.
-a traditional sauce made with garlic, peppercorns, oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. It is served with boiled root vegetables or over grilled meats.
Alboronia de Chayote
-caper. Most frequently used in alcaparrado.
-a mixture of green olives, capers, and pimientos.
-a traditional fritter made of grated yautia (taro root) and green bananas, stuffed with picadillo. It can also be stuffed with crabmeat or chicken
-ripe yellow plantain
-portable burner. Used in the old days in place of a stove. It was usually made of a cracker-tin can, with holes added to improve the ventilation. Anafres were also made of iron and placed on top of the fogon.
Ani en Semilla
-aniseed. Used mostly to prepare desserts.
-a root vegetable with brown skin, yellow flesh, and a very strong starchy taste. It is used mostly to make heavy soups like sancocho and tripe soup.
-basic yellow rice made with saffron or Bijol, which can also be combined with meat, seafood, or vegetables.
Arroz con Dulce
-Rice pudding. A traditional dessert made with rice, coconut milk, ginger, and spices.
Arroz con Gandules
-yellow rice with green pigeon peas. This is Puerto Rico's national rice dish.
Arroz con Pollo
-yellow rice with chicken
Arroz y Frijoles
-rice and beans
-Christmas caroling. Traditionally, a group of people get together and surprise a neighbor in the middle of the night with Christmas songs.
-one of the national soup of Puerto Rico. It has a thick consistency and is derived from the Spanish paella. It is a mixture of rice, chicken, alcaparrado and recaito. Asopao can also be made with seafood, green pigeon peas, or salt codfish.
-hazelnut. Hazelnuts and walnuts are traditional Christmas nuts
-salt codfish fritter
-a type of Puerto Rican rum that is 86 proof
Besito de Coco
-coconut kiss. A traditional dessert made with fresh-grated coconut, sugar, and spices.
-a mix of rum and quenepas that gets fermented. The rum is then drained and served. This is a typical drink of Vieques, and island located on the east coast of the island of Puerto Rico
-cubed steak. Used to prepare breaded steak.
-Spanish grocery store
Bollo de Pan
-a loaf of bakery bread
Boronia de Chayote
-means dip; can also mean snack
-a fritter made with flour, eggs, butter, and sugar. It can be sweet or savory (made with Parmesan cheese)
-fried fritters topped with a brown sugar syrup
-flat griddle. This was traditionally made of clay and used by the Taino natives to cook casabe
-pork sausage seasoned with spices like cinnamon and anise, usually eaten for breakfast
-young goat. Usually prepared in a stew
Cafe con Leche
-strong black coffee with steamed milk
-unsweetened black coffee
-West Indian pumpkin
Calamar en su Tinta
-squid in its ink. Sold canned, it is used to make rice with squid
-cauldron or cooking pot. This traditional pot, made of iron or thick almuminum, is used to make Puerto Rican rice dishes.
Cana de Azucar
-caramel. Made of granulated sugar; used to coat the pan in which flan is cooked
-dry salted beef, sold in small slabs covered with a layer of lard. It is usually prepared with scrambled eggs and onions
-cassava bread. A flat bread made with grated cassava
Cascos de Guayaba
-guava shells. They are usually cooked in a sugar syrup and re readily available canned
-a dessert casserole made of calabaza and yam
-a soursop drink made with milk
-a vegetable of the squash family, also known as mirlition, vegetable pear, or christophine. It has a white or green skin and cream-colored flesh, with a somewhat bland taste.
-can be stored at room temperature and are available year-round
-pork crackling. Deep-fried pieces of pork skin or cut-up pieces of boneless pork shoulder. Small pieces of deepfried chicken are also called chicharron
-a cross between an orange and a grapefruit
-Mexican sausage, a common breakfast food
-coriander, best used fresh dried
-dry, mature coconut with a brown, hairy shell and firm white flesh
-green coconut, usually sold refrigerated at roadside stands. The flesh is soft and the water, which is usually sweet, can be drunk straight from the coconut shell.
Colador de cafe
-cloth colander used in the old days to prepare coffee
-cumin, used in salsas, to season many dishes
-rabbit. Stewed rabbit meat is eaten on holidays and special occasions like weddings or christenings
-rum eggnog. This is a traditional Christmas drink
Cream de Coco
-creole. This term is used to denote traditional Puerto Rican cooking.
-deep-fried pork pieces sold at roadside stands. These usually consist of pig's ears, tails, stomach, ets.
-is another name for recao
-a bowl carved from the higuera tree. In the old days it was used to wash rice and measure beans
-a sweet, usually eaten as a dessert, made with yam, pineapple, or coconut
Dulce de Platano
-a dessert dish made with very ripe yellow plantains cooked in red wine, sugar, and spices
-turnover. A fritter made of dough stuffed with picadillo, crab stew, or chicken
-custard. A national dessert of Spanish heritage made of milk, eggs, sugar, and spices
-a hearth made of three stones arranged in a triangle, with pieces of wood placed within
-Puerto Rican polenta. This has been a staple dish since the Tainos lived on the island. It used to be made with lard, but today corn or olive oil is used instead.
Galleta por Soda
-soda cracker. Eaten as an afternoon snack with cafe con leche. Crushed soda crackers, known as galleta molida (cracker meal), are used for breading.
-green pigon pea
-dialect term for rice-flour fritter on Puerto Rico's east coast, and the word for beans on some parts of the island
Greca de Cafe
-Italian coffee pot used to make strong black coffee
-gooseberry. Cooked in water and sugar to make a compote
-Puerto Rican tamal. Guanimes have been a staple food since the Taino days. They are made plain, without stuffing and are wrapped in banana leave. Served with salt codfish stew, guanimes are an everyday peasant lunch
Guarapo de Cana
-sugar can juice. Sold freshly squeezed at roadside stands
-guava. Fruit with a green skin, pink flesh, and small seeds. Fresh guavas are hard to find and can be expensive. Frozen pulp and juice concentrate are easily found year-round. On the island of Puerto Rico where they are abundat, guavas are made into a paste and the shells are cooked in sugar syrup. Both are served as desserts with white cheese
-grater. Used to shred root vegetables
-ripe yellow banana. Eaten as a fruit
-apple banana. Eaten green as a vianda (root vegetable), or ripe, as a fruit
-lady-finger banana. Eaten only when ripe. Dipped in flour and deep-fried, it is served as a side dish
-green banana. Eaten as a side-dish starch. Green bananas are a part of the viandas family. The leaves are used to wrap guanimes, pasteles, and arroz apastelado.
-small red kidney bean
Habichuela Marca Diablo
-red kidney bean
Habichuela Rosada or Rosita
Hoja de Guineo
-banana leaf. Used to wrap pasteles and guanimes
-dried corn husks used as wrappers to make tamales
Horchata de Ajonjoli
-a drink made of ground sesame seeds, water, and sugar
Horno de Microonda
Jamon de Cocinar
-smoked cooking ham
-lady-finger banana dipped in flour, fried, and served as a side dish
-a sweet crisp vegetable used as potatoes are used
-Caribbean land crab
-a dark rich Mexican coffee liqueur
-lobster. The lobster commonly found in the Caribbean Sea is the spiny or rock lobster. It is very hard to find on the mainland, but American (Maine) lobster can be substituted
Leche de Coco
Lechon Asado al pincho
-a whole pig seasoned with adobo and cooked slowly over a charcoal pit
Lechon de Mechar
-beef round cut, used on the island to make pot roast
-a stand where pit-roasted pig is sold by the pound or by the portion
-a plant similar to a water chestnut, cultivated by the Tainos
-fruit juice frozen into ice cubes and eaten as a snack. The most famous limbers are sold in Old San Juan
-a lime with very acidic juice, known on the mainland as key lime
-Spanish pork sausage, seasoned with cilantro, spices, and bay leaves. Used to make yellow rice
-a fermented drink made from the bark of the mabi tree. On the island this is a daily drink. On the mainland, especially in the New York area, it is available only from April to September
-cornstarch. Cornstarch is prepared as a hot breakfast cereal on the island, with milk and egg yolks. It is also used in the preparation of many custard desserts
-a rice-flour dessert made during the Christmas season, especially on Three Kings Day (Epiphany)
-a root vegetable with brown skin and white or purple flesh. It is used to make sancocho and tripe soup. It is also boiled and served with salt codfish salad
-a fruit with a rough brown skin and bright red flesh. It is mostly eaten in preserves and compotes. Fresh mamey is very hard to find, but the frozen pulp is available year-round in Hispanic markets
-corn dough used for making tortillas, tamales, enchiladas, ect.
-an instant corn flour
-red grouper. This fish is traditionally used to prepare escabeche during the Lent season
-fried green plantain mashed in a mortar and shaped into a ball. Traditionally it was seasoned with fresh garlic and pork cracklings. New versions are stuffed with seafood, chicken, or vegetables
-a classic sauce that originated in the coastal town of Salinas, made with olives, tomato sauce, and vinegar
Mojo de Ajo
-a garlic dipping sauce served with tostones or boiled cassava
-a sauce made from a paste of chiles, chocolate, spices, used to top meat entrees
-chicken gizzard stewed in tomato sauce; usually served as an appetizer
-a thick soup made with beef tripe, assorted root vegetables, and seasonings
-blood sausage. A black sausage made from fresh pork blood and cooked rice. This is a traditional Christmas food
-yam. A root vegetable with brown skin and white flesh. It is used in sancocha and eaten boiled
-sour orange, used mainly to prepare marinades. The white shell of the fruit is cooked in sugar and served as a dessert
-cactus, only tender young leaflets are used to make candy, mixed with various other foods such as eggs, chiles, ect., can also be eaten alone
-soup pot. Usually made of aluminum
-Puerto Rican wild oregano. This oregano, with its distinctive pungent aroma, grows wild on the island. It is mostly used to make sofrito. It is very hard to find on the mainland
-a Spanish dish that consists of rice, saffron, chorizo and meat or seafood
-a round, shallow iron pot with two handles, used to cook paella
Pana or Panapen
-breadfruit. A round fruit with green skin and white flesh that came to the island of Puerto Rico from Tahiti. When green, it is eaten as a vianda or made into chips and tostones. When ripe, it is made into a dessert custard or boiled and mashed like potatoes. Breadfruit is available only during August and September. It can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two and can also be frozen. Peel and remove the middle seed before cooking.
Pana de Pepita
-breadfruit nut. A chestnutlike seed that is generally eaten boiled.
-dumplings made from shredded root vegetables, stuffed with picadillo and boiled in banana or plantain leaves
Pasta de Guayaba
-guava paste. This is found in most bodegas and many supermarkets. It is used in many desserts, and as a jam
Pastel de Masa
-grated assorted root vegetables stuffed with pork, olives, and raisins and wrapped in banana leaves. A traditional Christmas food
Pastelon de Platano
-yellow plantain pie made of fried slices of yellow plantain, beef picadillo, and green beans
Patas de Cerdo
-pigs feet. Usually prepared as a stew with chick-peas
-the crusty bottom of the rice that sticks to the pot. It is scraped and served with bean stew
Pernil de Cerdo
-a basic beef stuffing mix made of ground beef, sofrito, raisins, and olives
-unrefined Mexican brown sugar sold in small cone shape
-mortar and pestle. A cooking utensil traditionally used to prepare recaito. Taino pilones were made of stone. More recently they were made of wood; nowadays they are usually made of aluminum or plastic
Pimiento de Coconar
-Italian frying pepper
-roasted red pepper. Usually sold in cans or jars, preserved in water and salt. This is a classic garnish for rice dishes like arroz con pollp, potato salad, and asopaos
-skewered beef cubes
-pineapple. The best pineapples are grown in Hawai
-toasted ground corn, makes a delicious drink with milk
Pinon de Amarillo
-yellow plantain pie
-a fritter made with yellow plantain. The plantain is cut lengthwise and fried. It is then shaped into a cup, stuffed with beef, chicken, or crab, sealed with eggs, and pan-fried
-vinegar seasoned with hot peppers, spices, and sour orange. Mostly used as a condiment
Polvo de Galleta
-an empty metal can, used in the old days as a cup to drink black coffee
Presa de Pollo
Punto de Nieve
-egg whites beaten until very stiff (literally, "snow peak")
-the fruit of a Caribbean tree, with green skin, pink flesh, and a large pit. The best ones are grown in Ponce, a town on the sourth coast of Puerto Rico. Quenepas are available fresh mostly during August. They are sold in bunches or packed in small plastic bags, and can be stored at room temperature.
Queso Blanco, Queso de Hoja or Queso del Pais
-White cheese. A lightly salted white cheese made of cow's milk. A distinctive characteristic of this cheese is that it does not melt
Queso de Papa
Rajas de Chile
-strips of chile
-a key seasoning in Puerto Pican cooking. It is a combination of onions, garlic, peppers, and recao or cilantro
-green spiny leaf
-a fritter made of mashed potatoes stuffed with picadillo, shaped into a ball, and deep-fried. Canned corn beef is also used as a filling
-salami. The salami used in Puerto Rico is similar to Genoa salami. Salchichon is widely available in bodegas and supermarkets
Salmorejo de Jueyes
Salsa de Tomate
-a thick soup made of assorted meats, root vegetables, sofrito, and corn on the cob, and traditionally served with plain white rice
-Spanish wine punch
Serenata de Bacalao
-salt codfish salad. Made with salt codfish, potatoes, eggs, tomato, and avocado
-cooked with ham, alcaparrado, and tomato sauce. Sofrito is the base for many stews and sauces
-another name for asopao
Sorullo de Maiz or Sorullito
-a fritter made ov cornmeal and shaped like a cigar, stuffed with cheese, and deep-fried. The most famous ones are made in Lajas, on Phosphorescent Bay (the same town where the island's best pineapples are grown). They are served with a sauce made of mayonnaise and ketchup.
-Puerto Rican dry cured beef
-another name for chayote
-a stirred custard made of coconut milk and sugar (literally "shaky")
-small green tomatoes, used in soups, salsas, salads
-a slice of green plantain fried, smashed flat, and refried
-the utensil traditionally used to prepare tostones. It is made of two flat pieces of wood screwed together.
-can be found in bodegas and supermarkets. If they are not available, smash the plantain between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper.
-almond nougat. A sweet eaten during the Christmas season
Uva de Playa
-a common weed in the Southwest and other dry, desert regions. Purslane is another name.
Vinagre de manzana
-cassava, a root vegetable with hard white flesh and a rough brown skin
RECIPE OF THE DAY
Batido de mamey