Aguají (Rustic Dominican Plantain Soup)

Aguají (Rustic plantain broth)

There are days when getting out of bed does not seem like the best use of our time. Wednesday was one of such days. We inaugurated the day with a raging tropical rain and strong winds. It didn’t take long until one of the shades in our terrace was ripped off its tracks. Things could only get worse from there.

Those are the days when a aguají (rustic Dominican plantain soup) is a gift from heaven.

Aguají (Rustic plantain broth)

Our old vehicle refused to start and had to be picked up by the mechanic (let’s take a moment to marvel at the awesomeness that is this level of service). It turns out that the car not starting (battery problems) was the best thing that could happen to us. The mechanic found that, besides the faulty battery connection, there was a leak in a valve and our car was nearly out of oil. Ah, the gods of unlucky days were having a good time prodding me.

I decided early on that I was going to breathe deeply and try not to get such things ruin my day. Or in the words of the sage Frank Costanza: Serenity now!

Aguají (Rustic plantain broth)

I swear that if I had any inclination for such things I would have just poured myself a drink and kill a few neurones, but, alas! If learned anything from my ill-spent youth is that I am not really into alcohol, and coffee has left few neurones alive anyway. And speaking of ill-spent youth…

Aguají (Rustic plantain broth)

I have to thank my friend Aida, who introduced me to this dish back in our university days. Even though I had heard the name, I was not acquainted with the dish. This is apparently a fairly good cure for a case of the hangovers. I can’t tell you if that is true, what I know is that in a rainy day, when all seems to start on the wrong foot, this soup really helps improve the mood.

Aguají (Rustic plantain broth)

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of aguají (rustic plantain broth), it packs a punch in the form of strong flavors. And whether as a cure to a hangover, or a case of the blues, give it a try, it will make your day a bit better.

Aunt Clara
Aguají (Rustic plantain broth)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Strong flavors and light dish. This is supposed to be the best cure for the blues, a hangover or an upset stomach.
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 green plantains
  • 4 culantro/recao/cilantro ancho leaves
  • 1 stalk of leek, cut into slices
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • 6 all-spice berries
  • Salt
  • Oregano
  • Pepper
Instructions
  1. Peel the plantains and brush with the oil.
  2. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake at 482 ºF (250 ºC ) for 35 mins.
  3. Unwrap the plantains and crush with a mortar and pestle.
  4. Boil two quarts of water adding the garlic, leek, cilantro, culantro, all-spice berries, a pinch of oregano and a pinch of pepper to it.
  5. Boil over medium heat for 15 minutes, adding water when necessary to maintain the same level of liquid.
  6. Add the plantains and boil for another 10 minutes. Add water when necessary to maintain the same level of liquid.
  7. Season with salt to taste. Serve hot.
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{ 16 comments… add one }

  • Jennifer @ Delicieux August 14, 2012, 4:28 AM

    I’ve never heard of plantain soup before, but it looks so inviting. Your photos are absolutely stunning and making me hungry :D
    Jennifer @ Delicieux recently posted..Gin and Tonic TartsMy Profile

    • Aunt Clara August 14, 2012, 8:28 AM

      Yes, it is a nice little soup, the plantains, of course, are the star of it.

  • Aunt Clara August 12, 2012, 8:26 PM
  • Ina Lipkowitz August 12, 2012, 5:19 PM

    Love the way this recipe sounds because I love almost anything with plantains, but I thought culantro and cilantro were different herbs with a similar taste. Your comment to another reader suggests they’re the same. I don’t think I can find culantro here where I live in Massachusetts. Any advice?
    Ina Lipkowitz recently posted..Wild Rape & Low Erucic AcidMy Profile

    • Aunt Clara August 12, 2012, 5:38 PM

      Ina, there is no consensus (no surprise there). Since it is a herb that is only used in a few Latin-American countries there doesn’t seem an English word for it. Check this wiki entry about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eryngium_foetidum. Markets with lots of Puerto Ricans or Dominicans customers are your best bet. Puerto Ricans call it “recao”, Dominicans call it “cilantro ancho”.

      • Andy August 12, 2012, 8:15 PM

        You are 100% right… I asked my mother and she said the same. Recao is Cilantro ancho for us Dominicans.

  • Amity August 12, 2012, 10:39 AM

    I made this recipe, found it simple and easy to prepare, and on day 2 it has a slightly richer flavor. It is the perfect broth for a rainy day! Thank you for sharing it, I never would have put these ingredients together but will forevermore!
    Amity recently posted..early morning lightMy Profile

    • Aunt Clara August 12, 2012, 5:39 PM

      Yay for leftovers! I didn’t make enough to last to the next day, but now I will see to it next time.

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook August 12, 2012, 2:09 AM

    Hi Aunt Clara! Thank you for leaving your kind comment on my Japanese beef tongue recipe, and now I’m here (after taking 2 week vacation). I really enjoyed browsing your site with GORGEOUS photography! Now I’m so hungry!! I’m a new follower. :-)
    Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted..Din Tai Fung Restaurant Review @ Los AngelesMy Profile

  • Aunt Clara August 11, 2012, 5:26 PM

    Recao, cilantro ancho and culantro are the same. Sorry about the confusion.

  • Amity August 11, 2012, 3:40 PM

    Never mind, google told me it was cilantro :)

  • Amity August 11, 2012, 3:38 PM

    In step four, what is recao? I have the ingredients and want to give this a try.
    Amity recently posted..early morning lightMy Profile

  • Andy August 10, 2012, 8:19 PM

    Is all-spice berries the same as Malagueta…?

    • Aunt Clara August 10, 2012, 8:29 PM

      Yes, it is.

      • Andy August 11, 2012, 6:29 PM

        Wow.. I am dominican grown here in the State. This website has ready introduced me to more than just rice and beans…lol.. Know I can impress some of my friends that are not hispanics but love latin food. I cooked the guaji today and I think I will add it to my menu..

        • Aunt Clara August 11, 2012, 7:01 PM

          Cool. There is much more where that came from. :)