The Secrets of the Perfect Concón

El Secreto del Concón Perfecto

First let’s start by telling you what concón is. Concón is the crust of rice formed at the bottom of the pot when you cook rice Dominican-style, but if you are not Dominican, and have never lived in the Dominican Republic, you will probably not understand the passion that Dominicans feel for concón. My suggestion is that you try it, you could be surprised.

What makes a concón perfect?

It is perfectly crunchy.
It is a thin film.
It is not burnt.

The Secrets of the Perfect Concón

How do you achieve the perfect concón?

Start with the pot:
Use the correct cooking pot. Preferably cast iron or cast aluminum, however, cast aluminum is the standard in the Dominican Republic. You also need the perfect size, a pot that is too small will tend to burn the rice at the bottom. For a perfect concón the rice, once cooked, should not occupy more than 3/4 of the pot (better yet if it is only half).

First you need to quick-cure your pot, if your pot is not already seasoned. To do this add vegetable oil (one that is good for frying) and cover the bottom of the pot with it. Add salt. Heat oil until it is hot enough for frying, then add water at room temperature (careful with splatters!). That will seal the pores in the pot, creating a Teflon-like film.

Follow with the right proportions:
To get a good concón you need to make good rice. It should be firm but chewable. To achieve this you will need to get the right proportion between rice and water. Too much water will ruin your rice, too little and the concón will burn. In our rice recipes we give you the proportions we use, however overtime you may need to adjust the proportions to the type of rice you use, the stove you use and the pot you have. The perfect rice can rarely be achieved at the first try.

Keep an eye on your rice:
You will need to stir the rice very often to prevent the rice at the bottom from overcooking and eventually burning. Every time you stir it make sure to remove the film that is forming at the bottom, concón has to be produced in the last stage of cooking, if you leave a film of rice to stick to the bottom too early it will be too thick and will burn.

The final stage:

When the water has evaporated, and it is time to cover the rice, do so promptly. Pour two tablespoons of oil (optional) and stir again removing the film at the bottom. Cover with a tight-fitting lid.

After 10 to 15 minutes (depending on how much rice you are cooking) repeat the process above, but leave a thin coat of rice at the bottom. Once the rice is ready (firm and chewable) put the rice in the serving bowl immediately. If you leave the rice too long the concón will get soggy. After you serve the rice wait a couple of minutes for the concón to cool down a bit and settle. Scrape off the bottom with a spoon (a wooden spoon if you do not want to scratch your seasoned cast iron pots) and serve alongside your rice. Don’t be mortified by the noise, it’s a big chorus in the Dominican Republic at lunch time.

Aunt Clara
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{ 19 comments… add one }

  • Sheila November 1, 2014, 5:04 PM

    There is nothing better in this world than a plate of concon with beans and la grasita de la carne .. now im drooling

  • Kit Salazar-Smith July 12, 2014, 10:01 PM

    My grandfather was born in Dominican Republic , some of my favorite family meals as a child were seeing concón on the table, yum! Like chicarrones or Americans with movie style popcorn- only better!

  • Rita M. Gardner May 30, 2014, 2:08 PM

    I really enjoy your website and now I want to make some concon -but it’s never the same trying to duplicate a recipe here in the U.S. Caramba!
    rita

  • Elizabeth September 6, 2012, 11:57 AM

    Random thoughts from an admirer…

    Finding your website has been like falling in love with a Dominican man–intoxicating and addictive. I am an avid Dominican cook but finding your site has taught me many little tricks I did not know. I came to the U.S. very young but I inherited a love for preparing Dominican dishes. I love the fact that you have married Dominican tradition with excellent writing and stylish photography. I could go and on…

  • Jason August 19, 2012, 10:47 PM

    I figure, your “Aunt Ilana” is going to take Con-con to the “Queen”? (LOL) And last, but not least, to my man Pedro Guzman: “I did’nt know your had that kind of a charm; Good job, by the way…

  • Jason August 19, 2012, 10:31 PM

    No, never-mind about the picture, I saw you on the “About Us” section.

  • Jason August 15, 2012, 11:43 PM

    Listen everybody, we must consider the origin of the so called “Con-con”. First, the name makes reference to the sound that is produced when scraping the rice off the pot. Second, back when their was slavery (not just in Dominican Republic, but all over the planet where it has existed), specially during times of famine, the slaves that worked inside the masters house had to serve the well cooked rice to the master family. And since they had to keep working right after serving the food (cleaning the pots and dishes), the result of removing the rice quickly off the pots, and that many masters allowed only short limited periods of time for the slaves to help them selves, they couldn’t afford to spend another time period to prepare their food because the master didn’t allow them too. Third, it was served to farm animals (no need to be mentioned). Fourth, I don’t under stand how a few Dominican restaurants decide to put “it” on the menu “giving homage” to a terrible past. I for sure will not order that at a restaurant full of people and sit to eat what a slave was forced and used to eat. (I it is not funny. It’s embarrassing; Wait until elite people like: i.e: “The Queen of England” hears about this… What are they going to think?… There going to laugh at us Dominicans. “Oh, look at what their eating?” Yes, I said it and I’m Dominican.

    • Aunt Clara August 16, 2012, 2:57 AM

      Interesting theory, I guess. I disagree with your conclusion, though.

      • Jason August 19, 2012, 10:25 PM

        Aunt Clara; What; Do you have a better explanation for “Con-con”? From your response, I feel like your going to make the effort to make Con-con gourmets. Thats would be halarious. Are you going to serve Con-con to the “Queen”? (LOL). I’ve got see that happen, so I can laugh even harder….

        P.S. I would like to see a full-figure picture of yourself, with no funny glasses…

    • Carmen November 22, 2012, 2:48 AM

      How ridiculous and sad. Instead of being proud of the ingenuity, creativity, and skill your ancestors had to make what others would consider “trash” into a delicious dish, you’d deny yourself a tasty meal due to misplaced shame. How brilliant did those servants have to be to perfect a dish that tastes better than “proper” rice and have their masters be none the wiser, thinking they were simply allowing them cast off offal.

      Honey why in the world would “Elite people” laugh at Dominicans for serving a delicious meal? Elite people don’t carry that kind of baggage because they don’t accept that weight… maybe you should try the same. Pork belly, chitlins, haggis, all these “low class” meals that have been raised to the height of delicacies… who is laughing at whom? It’s obvious that you have an interest in history… continue to educate yourself, but you may want to try expanding your mindset regarding what it all means.

  • Missskitttin April 3, 2012, 10:53 PM

    Yummm Im Dominican and I love it! Funny thing, there are a couple of dishes all over the world that have something kind of like concon including Korean Bibimbab. Love it tooo haha

  • Rosa R November 29, 2011, 12:52 PM

    I still remember the service line at school lunch with the bowl of pega'o at the end. (Puerto Ricans call it pega'o.) That bowl was emptied really fast.

    • Gian-Luca M September 12, 2014, 4:18 PM

      It’s just Pegao. No apostraphe.

  • Patricia April 4, 2011, 10:32 AM

    Hay algo mas que hacer con el concón? …como un praliné o algo asi? quien sabe, quizas alguien ha pensado en alguna nueva forma de usar el concón…

  • Alex V February 15, 2011, 2:11 PM

    We Haitians have the same thing!! We call it gratin. I was so happy when I went to a Dominican rest and saw that our spanish cousins were doing the same thing we do, awesome!

    • Aunt Clara February 18, 2011, 10:51 AM

      Alex, food-wise we have a lot more in common than that. Did you read Aunt Ilana's post on Haitian cooking?

  • Desirée Iranz February 14, 2011, 1:30 PM

    Dios que bueno, el concón. Me encanta. El de arroz blanco es mi preferido. Pero mi madre hace el mejor moro de guandules y el mejor concón del mundo también. La comida dominicana es la mejor. Gracias por enseñarnos como hacer un buen concón. Lo único que me hace falta es saber donde puedo comprar una buena paila en Alicante, España.

  • Sandra G. February 10, 2011, 5:59 PM

    Con habichuelas y salsita de carne por encima, que rico!