Cuban Cooking

Cuba is a West Caribbean island which has a rich cultural heritage with vibrant and varied culinary traditions from a variety of cultures that have contributed to the culinary development of this very distinct and delicious style of Cuban cuisine. Spaniards brought their own culinary styles to Cuba along with the Moors culinary style, because the Moors held large parts of Spain for centuries and these culinary styles infused with ancient influence of the native peoples of Cuba produced Cuban cuisine. Other groups of people that made significant culinary and cultural contributions to Cuban cuisine were the slaves brought in from Africa and French colonists fleeing uprisings in Haiti.

A very distinct Cuban flavor and style evolved as these various influences came together which resulted in the country's simplified styles of cooking. This style of cooking by oral and eye tradition, instead of specific measurements in the creation of these dishes that tend to be hearty and very simple to make, allows them to be left on their own to simmer.

Cuban cuisine incorporates a great deal of seafood being an island nation which lead to simple styles of cooking techniques. This type of cooking with light spicing means that the food is enhanced, not smothered and retains their natural flavors. In Cuban cuisine heavy sauces are very unusual and deep-frying is not a favored Cuban cooking method of preparing food.

In Cuban cuisine the most common spices used in cooking are cumin, garlic, oregano and laurel or bay leaves. Sofrito is also very popular in Cuban cuisine, and is incorporated in a large variety of Cuban dishes. Sofrito is made by sauteing green peppers, onions, garlic, oregano and black pepper in olive oil until they are soft and translucent and the flavors blend together, and then used as a base for beans, stews, rices, and other dishes.

Cuban cuisine is also rich in fruits and root vegetables that grow in tropical climates. Cuba's cuisine is influenced by African and native peoples use of dense, nutritious, energy producing vegetables in their cooking. Yuca, plantano, malanga and boniato are among these energy producing vegetables often simmered together with other complementary vegetables. These vegetables are served simply, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with chopped fresh onion to a satisfying, strengthening and simple dish.

Cuban cuisine uses flavored marinades for its meats which would include lime juice or a sour orange juice variety as a base. Then, for a number of hours the meats are roasted or simmered very slowly with spices. Essential part of most meals in Cuba are beans and rice, with black beans being well known as a Cuban specialty.

Most notable in Cuban cuisine is its baked goods, which includes varieties of turnovers. Some of these turnovers are filled with spiced meats and other types feature a particularly Cuban blend of cream cheese, fruit and guava paste. Flan is among Cuba’s most beloved dessert items. Flan or caramel custard is a rich custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top.

Cuban cuisine with the fusion of Spanish, African and Caribbean cuisines, which is a fascinating mixture of cultures and culinary ingredients drawn from Cuba's complex history and its abundance of wide-ranging natural resources has brought together many varied elements to create a distinctive Cuban Cuisine.


RECIPE OF THE DAY


Cuban Bread Pudding

Pudin de Pan