Paula M Naranjo/Parent Editor
JULY 23, 2018 BY KITCHEN DE LUJO
Arroz con Gandules is a traditional Puerto Rican dish that is served usually around Christmas season or special occasions. One of the main reasons why this is served for special occasions is because it serves A LOT of people. It is referred as “Puerto Rican Rice” and includes the Puerto Rican Cuisine seasoning sofrito to give it the unique mouthwatering taste.
Gandules, which is pigeon peas in English; is essential to the rice dish and is packed with nutrients. You’ll be surprised how flavorful the little pigeon peas are in combination with the seasoning. You can find these canned at your local market under the brand Goya or if you’re fortunate enough to get them fresh depending on your location.
This rice dish recipe requires a medium sized caldero (cast aluminum cooking pot) to be cooked in which is similar to a dutch oven. It is used throughout the Caribbean Islands for cooking rice, beans, stews, and soups. It is very versatile and durable for kitchenware and helps create pegao! You can purchase a caldero online if you cannot find one at a nearby store.
This Puerto Rican rice recipe absolutely requires its signature seasoning – Sofrito. Sofrito; also sometimes called Recaíto, is a green seasoning base that is used in Arroz con Gandules and many other Puerto Rican dish recipes.
Being a Caribbean Island seasoning staple, tomatoes are rarely used in sofrito in Puerto Rico. Homemade sofrito is always the best kind to use and we have a delicious sofrito recipe for you!
Pegao, the tasty rice at the bottom of the caldero. It is regular for Puerto Ricans to eat the crusty rice leftovers and it takes practice to get it to the right crispiness.
A tip to making pegao is using coating the inside of the caldero with vegetable oil and making sure you do not cook the rice with high heat. It is a little difficult your first attempt but in due time you will be a pegao pro!
Perfecting water and rice ratio is key to this Arroz con Gandules recipe. Since the ingredients like the sofrito, tomato sauce, and vegetable oil add liquid to the dish; it is difficult to know how much water is enough. A perfect rule of thumb is to use a 1 cup – 1 cup ratio and the liquid should be about 1 inch above the rice before you cook it.
The cured salted pork is optional and can be swapped out with ham or chorizo. However, the cured salted pork grease really complements the rice flavor.
Also, make sure you do NOT open the tightly secured lid during the 30 minute cooking time and also avoid stirring the rice. Let the caldero work its magic!
COURSE: MAIN COURSECUISINE: CARIBBEAN, PUERTO RICANPREP TIME: 5 MINUTESCOOK TIME: 35 MINUTESTOTAL TIME: 40 MINUTESSERVINGS: 6 PEOPLE
Arroz con Gandules is the best Puerto Rican rice dish that is filled with FLAVOR. Print
1. For perfect water amount, make sure the rice is below liquid amount by 1 inch before placing the foil and caldero lid.
2. Do not wash the starch off of the rice if you prefer your rice sticky.
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Paula M Naranjo