Locrio de Pica-Pica (Rice and Spicy Sardines)

Locrio de Pica-Pica (Rice and spicy sardines)

If you’ve been around for a while you may have noticed that my versions of traditional recipes, like this one for locrio de pica-pica (Dominican rice and spicy sardines),  are often modified to make them healthier, and sometimes some extra vegetables are included. There is a reason for that: I write the recipes the same way I cook at home.

Veggies, after all, are not something I have to eat, but something I enjoy eating.

Locrio de Pica-Pica (Rice and spicy sardines)

I read somewhere the phrase “eat colorfully” , and darn if that doesn’t portray exactly the way I prefer my food. Vegetables do not only add much-needed nutrients to our meals, they also add texture, flavor, and color. The original version of this recipe does not include carrots, or peas; but doesn’t it look a lot better this way?

I, for one, love it.

Locrio de Pica-Pica (Rice and spicy sardines)

And if you need the kick of spicy-hot food, this dish is for you. Humble, and oftentimes despised, locrio de pica-pica (Dominican rice and spicy sardines) is considered a poor man’s meal, and a favorite of informal get-togethers… when on a tight budget. For some, it is also a comfort food.

If you’re having a feeling of deja-vu, don’t worry, this recipe has been in our collection for about a decade, but I decided to re-visit it, re-write it and re-shoot it. The result, if anything, is much better now. I hope you agree.

Buen provecho!

Aunt Clara

Locrio de Pica-Pica (Dominican Rice and Spicy Sardines) Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Locrio de Pica-Pica (Dominican Rice and Spicy Sardines) is considered a poor man's meal, and a favorite of informal get-togethers.
Serves: 6 servings
  • 5-4 oz cans of sardines in spicy tomato sauce
  • 3 cups of rice
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup red peppers, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • ⅓ cup of peas
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup celery stalks, cut into slices
  • 3 sprigs of cilantro, chopped
  • Salt
  1. Take the sardines out of the sauce and reserve the sauce.
  2. In deep-bottom pot heat 3 tablespoons of oil over low heat.
  3. Add cilantro, garlic, peppers, carrot and peas. Cook and stir for about two minutes.
  4. Add half the sardines (reserve the other half), mix well.
  5. Increase the heat to medium and add the sauce that the sardines came in.
  6. Add 4 cups of water and bring to the boil. When it breaks the boil add the rice.
  7. Stir regularly to avoid excessive sticking.
  8. When all the liquid has evaporated, add the remaining sardines and mix.
  9. Cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer over very low heat.
  10. After 15 minutes uncover, stir, and add the remaining oil. Cover again.
  11. After another 5 minutes try the rice. It should be firm but tender inside.
  12. If necessary, cover and simmer another 5 minutes.
  13. Serve with avocado slices and tostones
If you can't find sardines in hot tomato sauce simply buy them in plain tomato sauce and add hot sauce to the preparation.


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{ 17 comments… add one }

  • Rosenny March 25, 2014, 7:44 PM

    I love your site! All of my parents cooking in easy understandable and delicious recipes. Just made this and it came out super delicious just like home. :-)

  • Andrew Nelson October 10, 2013, 6:34 PM

    Is it right to evaporate all the liquid, then simmer it for an additional 15 minutes? Won’t it burn? Steps 8-10 seem mixed up. Let me know what I’m missing, Thanks.

    • Aunt Clara October 10, 2013, 6:36 PM

      No, the recipe is correct, and that’s how we Dominicans have been cooking our rice for like hundreds of years. :)

      Notice it says to simmer over very low heat, and covered. If you do it this way it will not burn.

  • Mike Benayoun January 27, 2013, 12:52 PM

    Thanks a lot for the recipe Clara! I adopted it to feature your beautiful country on our blog: http://www.196flavors.com/2013/01/27/dominican-republic-locrio-pica-pica/

  • Nikki September 30, 2012, 7:45 PM

    Just made this with my mom and it was easy, quick, and delisiocio!!!!! We have leftovers that we will definitely be sharing with people at work! We loved it!

  • Karina September 13, 2012, 2:23 PM

    Dear Tia Clara,

    Since I know you are into making your recipes healthier, I wanted to ask you if you think it would be possible to experiment with this recipe by adding brown rice instead of regular whilte rice? Have you tried to do this before with this or other locrio recipes? and if so, what was the end result like?
    Thank you! =)

  • Andy September 7, 2012, 8:21 AM

    This dish may be a humble one, but add some avocados, some tostones and cold beer and a few bachatas, and gather the compadres to play dominoes…

  • victor April 10, 2012, 2:42 PM

    thanks for the help . it came out exelent just like gammas . i love it . now lets pigout.

  • Laurie November 11, 2011, 1:44 PM

    Do you use the larger oval cans or the smaller rectangular ones?

    • Aunt Clara November 14, 2011, 4:06 AM

      It doesn't matter, I use whichever I can find.

  • Aunt Clara April 13, 2011, 2:52 PM

    Er, what about them?

  • Miladys Ortega April 13, 2011, 2:41 PM

    How about Dominican sancocho's recipe, an the famous mangu or mofongo.

  • cinenyi February 10, 2011, 3:57 PM

    i love this recipe, its easy to make and delicious to eat