Side Dishes

Pork w. Vermouth Sauce & Celeriac and Cassava Mash

Nearly every week for years now I have gone into the kitchen and created something new and unique. Sure, sometimes it was just a matter of tinkering with and writing a recipe created centuries before I was born, but there's always my touch in it. I set the table and present the food in its ...

Potato, zucchini and cheese tortilla

This week we were hit by a tropical storm. Luckily, besides having been rained in and on for four days, nothing else happened.The good side of it is that the temperature dropped low enough that I could use my oven without the whole place feeling like midday in the Sahara.Another side effect of heavy rains ...

Cassava bread (casabe)

If you don't know what casabe (cassava bread) is, Aunt Ilana wrote a fantastic article that explains it all. You'd be well-served to read it.If you know what casabe is, you are probably asking yourself why I have to write a recipe for it. After all, Dominicans don't make casabe at home. We just walk ...

Tomatoes filled with cheesy mashed potatoes

I have mentioned it before, but we Dominicans are not big fans of potatoes. And I am fine with that. It's not that we don't enjoy the noble tuber, after all it is the main ingredient in our beloved Russian salad, and  a common ingredient in our soups, but as a side dish, potatoes lose badly ...

Cauliflower and carrots gratin

My husband and I spent our first years together, more than a decade and a half ago, wandering the country. For me sometimes revisiting places I had been to, for him learning what this land of ours has to offer: From pristine white sand beaches to the highest mountains in the region, from tropical deserts to ...

Pastelon berenjenas y queso (eggplant and cheese casserole)

First of all, what sort of vegetarian are you? What the airlines describe as 'lacto'? 'Lacto-ovo'? These curious categories have long been obsolete everywhere except airline ticketing codes. They mean vegetarians who eat dairy products and vegetarians who eat dairy products and eggs. Are you a fishetarian? That means a vegetarian who eats seafood (my definition). ...

Savoury cracked corn (Chenchén)

I've mentioned this many, many times: For such a small country this one has so many regional variations in its cuisine that it's entirely possible to reach adulthood without trying something that is a staple on the other side of the country.Meet exhibit one: Aunt Clara.I was born in the northwest of the Dominican Republic, and ...

Bollitos (cornmeal rolls)

This past week one half of our family gathered at a local resort as we do almost every year. It is a time for relaxation, catching up, and on the practical side of things getting everybody together under the same roof, so to speak. We hope some day we'll have a home large enough to ...

Bacalaitos (Codfish fritters)

Sometimes the day finishes and I look back and ask myself "where did the hours go?". It suddenly seems as if I got hit on the head and could not account for all the hours in my day. Then I wish my days had at least 12 more hours. There's never enough time to enjoy ...

Repollo guisado (Cabbage stew)

It happened in the summer of 1993. It wasn't a difficult decision.It was always uncomfortable around the table in the company's cafeteria. I had already developed a reputation for being picky, people had suspicions. The real challenge came when we were sitting for our Christmas dinner, as my mom cut me a piece of the ...

Potatoes with Parsley and Paprika Sauce

Today is our last day in Denmark, tomorrow we start the long trip home, and even though I miss my country's food it is not less true that one of the reasons why I enjoy my visits to Denmark has to do with food. Good food.And I count Potatoes with Parsley and Paprika Sauce as one ...

Oven-fried potatoes

You say potatoes, I say pugh!I never quite liked potatoes... Give me a second, allow me to correct that: I always hated potatoes. I blame that in part to our culture; potatoes are hardly an important part of Dominican cuisine, they are mostly used as an ingredient in stews and soups. It doesn’t help much ...

Berenjenas asadas (Roasted aubergines)

One of the things we Dominicans are most grateful for is to have discovered eggplants (scientific name: solanum melongena) as a daily staple, as proven by the popularity of berenjenas asadas (roasted eggplants). Eggplants or aubergines are delicious, versatile and cheap. They grow all year round and complement every dish. They are fondly known as “the poor person’s ...

Molondrones guisados (Stewed okra)

Okra (also known as gumbo or ladyfingers) is a well-known vegetable worldwide. It is used in dishes from Southeast Asia to the Mediterranean. It is the main ingredients in the Gulf coast gumbo and the Trinidadian callaloo. The Dominican Republic is one of those countries where okra is a part of the local cuisine.In our country ...

Guineítos (Savory unripe bananas)

Stop at any roadside eatery in the Dominican Republic and you can order some guineítos (savory unripe bananas). In fact it always reminds me of road adventures, greasy dives, and tasty cheap food (I am looking at you, Bonao!).Nothing like topping some tender green bananas with sauteed onions and peppers to make them even better-tasting.If you always ...

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Well-informed nature lovers will probably be shocked that as self-declared tree-huggers we would share a recipe for Palmito Guisado (Stewed Heart of Palm).The original recipe calls for the "heart" of the Palma Real, our majestic Dominican national tree. Harvesting it means killing the tree. But fear not, fellow tree-lovers, no Palmas Reales were harmed in ...

Molondrones a la vinagreta (Okra a la vinaigrette)

Regardless of your opinion of okra as a food, you have to admit Ensalada de Molondrones (Okra Salad) is a dish that looks good. It's also good for you.We've all heard about the Mediterranean diet, held up as one of the healthiest eating regimes the world has known. Just as beneficial but not so well known ...

Fritos maduros (Fried ripe plantains)

There can't be in the Dominican cuisine any other dish that combines so well simplicity of preparation, popularity and exotic flavor. This popular dish is popular in Cuba and Puerto Rico too, where they are known as maduros.This is served as a side dish to lunch or dinner, another way in which we Dominicans combine ...

Plátanos al caldero (Caramelized ripe plantains)

Do you remember the saying "we're all unique"? You need to know other cultures to understand and appreciate your own. This is a lesson that has taken me years to learn, and by learning about other countries' foods I have understood ours better, and what makes it unique, even if ultimately it is something that ...

Ensalada rusa (“Russian” potato salad)

A Russian salad in a Dominican blog?Why yes! Practically every country on earth has a version of potato salad, and many call also call theirs "Russian salad", but did you know where Russian salad originated? I bet you won't guess in a million years.Well, what do you know, it did come from Russia after all!The ...

Ensalada de coditos (Pasta salad)

Let me tell you my story on ensalada de coditos.When you are a kid you tend to believe everything you read: I thought that all English ladies went picnicking once or twice a week and that they all wore long flowery dresses and big floppy hats or fascinators, sat on red and white-checkered tablecloths and sipped ...

Batata y yuca fritas (Fried sweet potato and cassava)

If you are looking to two foods that speak of the history of Dominican food it has to be cassava and sweet potatoes. Both were part of the Taino diet, long before a European ever set food in this side of the planet. It is our luck that this roots, who grow easily in our ...

Mazamorra (Mashed pumpkin)

It’s been over three months, and I am back in the DR at last. Like so many other returning Dominicans and Dominicans-by-adoption the first thing I did was treat myself to a ‘fria’ from the first petrol station on the road from the airport to Santo Domingo. My sensible side tried to remind me that ...

Tayotas con huevos (Christophines with eggs)

When vegetarianism was not so common, parents like me used to be accused of imposing an unconventional diet on their children, sometimes to the extent that it was believed to be a form of neglect. But don’t most parents impose some sort of belief system on their children, and don't usually let them decide for ...

Berenjenas fritas (Fried eggplants)

The other day I happened to meet a former employee at the Dominican embassy in Paris who told me that our sister site Cocina Dominicana played a very useful role in their diplomatic duties in the French capital.“Whenever we held a reception”, she said, “we wanted to serve food that was typically Dominican, but there was no ...

arepitas2

If you read our book, or browse through our blog, you'll notice that many a time we credit a friend, a reader, a friend's grandmother, or a stranger we gave a ride home in an isolated area of the country for a recipe. As is the case with these arañitas and arepitas de yuca (cassava fritters).While ...

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Julia Alvarez, a Dominican and one of my favourite writers, once wrote that as a child in Santo Domingo the first thing anyone would ask when she or one of her sisters complained of a stomach-ache, was 'did you eat anything in the street?'*Dominican street food has a bad image. As it's often unhygienic and sometimes unhealthy, ...

Queso frito (Fried cheese)

"Dominicans will eat ANYTHING for breakfast" observed a friend from a European country which shall remain nameless, to protect the guilty. He was watching his Dominican wife tuck into a bowl of soup at the breakfast table. It is true that Dominicans do have some breakfast preferences that to foreign eyes sometimes appear a little ...

Tostones (Twice-Fried Plantains)

Let me tell you a story about love and tostones...I have read with a smile on my face the accounts of our readers who have found our sites useful when introducing their foreign spouses to Dominican food, or who want to learn about Dominican cooking to the delight of their Dominican spouses. I must confess ...

Mangú (Mashed plantains)

“El platano embrutece”. I recently heard this saying for the first time, but apparently it’s common amongst Dominicans. It means that eating plantains is associated with intellectual inferiority. The popular extension of this myth is that children who eat corn flakes are more intelligent than those who eat Mangú (Mashed Plantains).Could this be true? What lies ...