Dominicans are not the only ones to serve rice and beans, or to make moro, in fact this dish seems to exist in different incarnations in several Caribbean nations.
Of course each country has its own flavor and combination of ingredients, just like each household in the Dominican Republic probably has its own version of this dish, but the general concept remains the same.
Take for example Cuba. The Cuban counterpart of this popular Dominican dish bears the name, “moros y cristianos” or Christians and Moors (a reminder of colonial times sensibilities) as it is still known in Cuba. It was shortened to moro in the Dominican Republic.
In Haiti it is known as “ris et pois”, and prepared with fewer ingredients than the Dominican one. In Jamaica it is known as “rice and peas”.
The addition of thyme to this version is owed to the fact that this is a very common ingredient in beans recipes in the Northwest DR, where I hail from.
Moro is a mixture of rice, beans and vegetables. This is one of the most common dishes on the Dominican table. We are presenting here a generic recipe in which you can use either black beans, white beans, faba beans, butter beans or green pigeon peas in place of the red kidney beans.
- 4 cups of rice
- 2 cups of soft-boiled or canned kidney beans
- 6 cups water
- 5 tablespoons of oil
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1/4 cup of diced cubanelle peppers
- 1 pinch of oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon mashed garlic
- 1/8 cup of capers (optional)
- 1/8 cup of sliced pitted olives (optional)
- 1/4 cup of chopped celery
- 1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon of dry thyme leaves, or a 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 cube of vegetable bouillon (optional, see notes)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Heat half the oil (2.5 Tbsp) in an iron pot over high fire and add coriander, garlic, thyme, celery, olives, oregano, peppers, capers.
- Stir while adding the tomato paste until the tomato dissolves.
- Add beans, also while stirring, then add the bouillon cube (add 1.5 teaspoon of salt if you do not use bouillon).
- Once well heated, add water and bring to a boil (try the mixture and adjust salt to taste before proceeding, bear in mind that the rice will absorb some of the salt, so don't low-ball it).
- Add the rice and stir regularly to avoid excessive sticking. Make sure to remove the rice that sticks to the bottom.
- When the water has evaporated cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes.
- Wait 15 minutes, uncover, add the remaining oil and stir.
- Cover again another 5 minutes. After this the rice should be firm but tender inside. If necessary, cover and leave another 5 minutes over very low heat (if at this point it looks too dry add 1/4 cup of boiling water before stirring and covering.
- Serve with meat, (or seafood), a side dish and salad.
I generally do not use bouillon cubes (sopitas) in my cooking, I will leave it to you to choose. I suggest that you a use low-fat, low-sodium version if you do.
If you boil the beans yourself use the water in which they boiled in place of (or partially) the 6 cups of water called for in the recipe. If you use canned beans throw away the liquid in which they came in the can and use fresh water. The liquid in the can is loaded with sodium and doesn't taste very well.