Cooking Dominican Rice and Beans
A Perfect Marriage
One of the most delicious and sublime meals you can have in your life is a well-cooked serving of rice and beans. This brilliant combination is popular all over Latin America. In Spanish it's known as arroz con habichuelas or arroz con frijoles.
It's also a nutritious pairing. Rice has starch, protein, iron, and vitamin B. Beans have even more protein than rice. This combination is suitable for lunch and dinner, perhaps even breakfast. It's a staple food in many regions, and in some way, can be described as a food that comforts the soul.
When I moved to Europe, eating rice without beans on the side was extremely strange. There was a void there, and the rice alone tasted quite dry to my palate. After some time, I called my mother and asked for the recipe. Since then, I've been cooking my own rice and beans here far from home.
In particular, rice and beans are part of the foundation of Dominican cooking. Together they make a divine culinary marriage. They always go together, and one can't imagine them getting a divorce.
- 2 cups (dependent on serving) long rice
- one teaspoon powdered red pepper
- four cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
- four teaspoons oregano
- one cube chicken bouillon
- two teaspoons salt
- one teaspoon sugar
- olive oil
- cooking oil
- two teaspoons black pepper
Rice and beans
- Pour cooking oil onto the bottom of pot.
- Depending on serving, put one or two cans of beans (red, black or brown is best). Add the oregano, salt, chicken bouillon, red pepper, olive oil, garlic, pepper and sugar.
- Mix all the ingredients, then cook at a low simmer. Repeatedly stir until the beans become softer (but not too soft!), the mixture becoming heavier.
- As to the rice, don't mix it with too much water. There must be a balance to it. The rice must be a bit more dry than wet, in order to create an artful contrast with the beans. Add a teaspoon of salt and keep cooking until as much of the water as possible has evaporated.
- Finally, there's the serving. Me, I prefer to have 60% rice on my plate, and 40% beans. I carry that ratio onto the fork as well. It's a personal choice. You can mix the rice and beans together, or keep them separate even as you carry them to your mouth. You can accompany your rice and beans with some meat and salad.