Bacalaitos(Codfish fritters)

 

    

Like any other country, Puerto Rico has its share of fried foods or “cuchifritos” as we lovingly call them. One of my favorites is bacalaitos, or codfish fritters (salt cod fritters to be precise). They are a staple at roadside kiosks around the island and are so easy to make! They are the perfect combination of savory, salty and crunchy.

I’m not a fish lover, but I cannot get enough of them when I do make them! The bacalaitos that you buy in roadside kiosks are huge! They use big calderos to fry them.

This is the bacalao that I buy:

 

To make the bacalaitos…

Ingredients:

2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 cups of water
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons sofrito (Click here for my recipe for sofrito
1 cup of desalted and flaked codfish
1 packet of Sazon Knorr (note: you’re not going to use it all, maybe 1/3 of the packet. You can also use Sazon Goya )
Canola oil for frying

 

Directions:

1. Rinse the bacalao in cold water and soak it for a few hours, changing the water twice.

2. Flake and set aside.

3. Mix the flour, baking powder, oregano, cumin, black pepper and the sofrito.

4. Add water and mix well. It should resemble pancake batter. Carefully fold in the flaked bacalao.

5. Add about 1/3 packet of sazon (it should have a yellow color).

6. Add salt to taste.

7. Heat canola oil in a big frying pan to medium high heat. There should be at least 2 inches of oil.

8. Drop your batter by spoonfuls into the hot oil. If you drop them in, you will have dense bacalaitos. If you spread the batter (drag it) you will have big and thin bacalaitos. Fry them a couple of minutes on each side, until they are golden brown. Drain them on paper towels and enjoy!

 

¡Buen provecho!

 

Watch me make bacalaitos at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi-KiSTROdE

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Boricua Style Carne Guisada or Beef Stew

Carne guisada or beef stew is a very popular dish in Puerto Rico. One of my favorites too! It’s a very hearty dish, very easy to make and lefotvers taste even better the next day! It’s a complete meal all by itself, but we Puertoricans need our white rice!

 

Ingredients:
3 lbs of beef stew meat
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
3 large potatoes diced
1 cup of carrots
2 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves
1 handful of fresh cilantro
1/4 cup of olives
4 cubes of sofrito or 4 tablespoons You can watch me make sofrito here: http://youtu.be/FgPb2r7E1Gc
1 teaspoon of cumin and oregano
Adobo Goya to taste
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3-4 cups of water
2-3 tablespoons of canola oil

 

Directions:

  • In a large pot or dutch oven heat 2 – 3 tablespoons of canola oil at medium high heat.
  • Place the stew meat in a large bowl and season with adobo (to taste) cumin and oregano.
  • Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of flour and mix around. The flour will help bind the seasonings to the meat and will help thicken the stew.
  • Brown and sear the meat in batches and set aside.

 

      Place sofrito, garlic cloves and cilantro in the pot and cook for a few minutes.

  • Add the bay leaves, olives, the Sazon packet and tomato sauce and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the beef, carrots and 3 – 4 cups of water, enough to cover the meat in the pot.
  • Let the stew come up to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook for 30- 40 minutes.
  • After 30-40 minutes, check the tenderness of the beef, and add the potatoes and continue cooking at medium low for 30 minutes or until tender.

 

   

 You can watch me make this dish here http://youtu.be/2cGM9MPkVxo

You can also Like my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Sweetsandbeyond

Or subscribe to my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/sweetsandbeyond

 

Coquito or PuertoRican Eggnog

ImageI love Christmas and everything that goes with it. The tree, decorations, and especially the food!! Let’s start with a holiday drink, coquito.

The  the name coquito came from “ron con coco” or rum with coconut, a drink made by  workers in the cane fields in Puerto Rico. Rum is obtained from cane sugar by fermentation, distillation, and aging. By adding sugar cane molasses  to the distilled rum and coconut milk, they obtained a sweet  concoction  that was called “ron con coco” or rum with coconut.

So how does ron con coco turn into coquito?? When North Americans arrived in Puerto Rico in the 1800’s, they shared  Eggnog, and it was blended and fused into our own drink called coquito. Some say coquito has to have eggs, some do not. It freaks me out to drink something that has been sitting in the fridge that has raw eggs? No thank you. There are many different versions of this drink, and this is my version.

Coquito

Ingredients:

1 can condensed milk

1 can evaporated milk

1 can cream of coconut

1 can coconut milk

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch of salt.

Now here is a step by step tutorial on how to put it all together. It’s bilingual too, spanish and english

http://youtu.be/pYi5F4BRGTE

Flan de Calabaza or Pumpkin Custard

Everyone asks me for Puerto rican recipes for Thanksgiving. And to be honest, I don’t really have any. I love the “American traditional” Thanksgiving. My mom and my sister used to cook the Thanksgiving meal when I was little. Now my sister is the one who does the whole dinner every year, and I do the Christmas dinner. My favorite dish? It has to be the bread stuffing! I look forward to it all year. Smothered in gravy!

So I remembered this flan.  It’s quick and easy, it looks amazing and it has the hispanic twist.

Pre-heat your oven at 350F

Here are the ingredients:

For the custard:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1tsp vanilla extract
5 eggs
Pinch of salt

For the caramel:

¾ cup white granulated sugar

Now here’s the video tutorial on how to make it.

http://youtu.be/xJWZDu0UwlU

 

Funche, Puerto Rican Polenta

Everyone has heard of polenta, but funche (pronounced foon-chay)? Let me explain.
Polenta is cornmeal boiled into a porridge and eaten directly or baked, fried or grilled. Polenta is an Italian word, derived from the Latin for hulled and crushed grain, especially barley-meal. Maize was not cultivated in Europe until the early 16th century. It comes from the same base as “pollen”.
In northern Angola, it is known as funge, and is the probable source of names for the dish in a number of Caribbean countries, destination of slaves from Angola and elsewhere along the West Coast.
Funche is usually served with a fish stew (mainly codfish stew). I really dislike fish. The smell, texture, everything about it I don’t like, but that’s another story. My dad used to love this, he was from Jamaica and it’s called turn cornmeal and they usually mix in coconut milk.
The best part is if you have leftovers, you slice it and fry it up and it tastes amazing!
Here are the ingredients:
1 cup of coarse ground cornmeal
2 cups of water
1 heaping cup of chopped onions
1/2 -3/4 diced green pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon chicken buillon or 1 cube
1/2 cup cilantro
2 tablespoons butter

Now here’s the video on how to make it. Buen Provecho!

Chicharron de Pollo is Chicken Cracklings

You’ve heard of pork cracklings….but chicken cracklings? It’s just an easier way to say “chicken cut up in pieces, seasoned, floured and fried”. It’s served in Puerto Rico as an appetizer or as the main protein in a meal. It’s one of my faves! The chicken comes out super crunchy, juicy and yummy! And since each piece is small, it cooks faster. You can serve it with any side dish, but in my house it has to be rice and beans!
Now here’s the video!

Surullitos (Puerto Rican fried corn fritters)

Surullitos is a weird name for sweet and crunchy corn fritters. Surullitos in spanish means little roll-ups. They are usually served as an appetizer along with empanadas at parties with a dipping sauce of mayonnaise , ketchup, garlic powder and a touch of hot sauce(Mayo ketchup or salsa rosada). It’s our version of hush puppies. Like almost every dish, there are alot of different recipes. My version is quick and easy because the cornmeal is pre-cooked.

Here are the ingredients:

1 1/2 cup of Pre-cooked cornmeal
4 tbs white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tblsp butter
2 cups water

FOr the mayo-ketchup
Mayonnaise and ketchup
Garlic powder
Hot sauce (Optional)

Here’s the video!

Arroz con Pollo

These past couple of weeks I’ve been a little off in my cooking. A little bit too salty, not salted enough, too watery, not enough liquid. Arggghhh!!! Does this happen to you? My solution would be having a personal chef(I can dream lol) or go back to a comfort food. A dish that is super easy and yummy! Arroz con pollo (Rice with chicken) is a one pot meal. You can make it as an every day meal or you can fancy it up for a more formal dinner. My version is an every day meal. For a fancier arroz con pollo, I would add beer as stock, add peas and decorate it with roasted red bell peppers.
You can use different chicken pieces for this dish. I used boneless chicken breast because that’s what I had available. I always accompany this dish with habichuelas guisadas(stewed beans)

Here are the ingredients:

For the rice:
3 cups long grain rice
3 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tbsp or 3 cubes sofrito
1 packet Sazon Knorr( or Sazon Goya)
3 chicken breasts, cut in cubes
Adobo Goya(Or any all purpose seasoning)
Oregano
Cumin
Salt to taste
Cilantro
Olives

For the beans:
2 cans small red beans (you can use any except black beans)
3 tbsp or 3 cubes of sofrito
2 cloves garlic
1 small potato, cut in small cubes
1 can tomato sauce
1 packet Sazon Knorr
1 packet Goya ham seasoning
Cilantro
Olives
Now watch the video! Buen provecho!

Steak and Onions Boricua style

     Most everyday type of puertorican meals are some type of rice as the side. Sometimes we put the protein in the rice and cook it 🙂 For puertoricans, rice is a staple like italians have their pasta, and americans favor potato dishes. Rice and beans is technically a complete meal. The rice is the carb and the beans are the protein, but most puertoricans treat it like a side dish. We need a meat with our rice!

     Bistec encebollado is our version of steak and onions. We use vinegar to tenderize the meat and  cook it over low heat. There are two versions of this dish, with and without tomato sauce. I prefer without tomato sauce. 

Now watch the video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3cziYS7hnM