There is more to the history of arroz con fideos (rice and fried noodles) than you think. It’s a story of immigration and travel.
One of the greatest things about running this site for over 9 years is, that due to a strong web presence, our site has become the virtual Dominican gastronomic embassy. In fact, several relevant government sites in our country recommend ours to those seeking to learn more about our cooking and food. It fills us with joy and humbles us.
During these years we have received requests from organizations, embassies, associations, tourist bureaus, etc. to provide them with information regarding our cuisine. We have helped spread the word about our cuisine as far as Russia (at the request of the office that promotes tourism to the DR in the area). I didn’t understand a word of the article written on Stol (Table, in Russian), but the pictures were enough to convey what our cuisine has to offer.
More recently we got a call from Laressa Watlington, a journalist for the Denver Post who wanted to interview me as part of a large piece to be published at the same time our country celebrated its independence. As always I was more than happy to help, I didn’t even know there was a Dominican community in Denver, but it did not matter. Where there are people who love food, there are people who need to hear about the delights of tostones, mangú, and habichuelas con dulce.
Something that took me by surprise is that Ms. Watlington referred to me as “an expert”, something I have most certainly never called myself (and not out of modesty!). But thinking it over I decided that the true experts are the moms and dads that every day cook for our children and pass on to them the love for our cuisine. So, on behalf of the several million experts in our country: Thank you Ms. Watlington.
Rice is the base of Dominican cuisine, and arroz con fideos is one of an endless list of adaptations we have made to exotic dishes from faraway lands. Its origin can be traced to the Middle Eastern immigrants who arrived in our shores in the 19th century, and who brought with them the nearly-identical bil shareyah, an Egyptian dish.
This rice combination is very tasty, with a nice contrast of colors and textures, it is also easy to prepare and makes a great substitute for arroz blanco. It is the perfect side dish to accompany escovitched fish, or your preferred choice of Dominican meat.
- 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil (peanut, corn or soy), divided
- ½ cup of angel hair noodles, slightly crushed
- 2 cups of rice
- 2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth, boiling hot (see notes)
- Browning the noodles: In a deep bottom pot heat 3 tablespoons of oil, over medium heat. Add the noodles (uncooked) and cook and stir until they are golden brown, being careful not to let them burn.
- Cooking the rice: Stir in the rice, mix until all the rice is coated with oil. Pour in the boiling broth to the rice and stir. Simmer over medium heat. Stir regularly to prevent the rice from sticking. When almost all the liquid has evaporated, cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir, add the remaining oil, stir again and cover with the lid. Simmer 5 more minutes over very low heat. Try the rice, it should be firm but tender inside. If necessary, cover and simmer another 5 minutes over very low heat.
- Serving: Fluff rice and serve warm. Best served with meat (or seafood), a side dish and beans.