Traditional Dominican

Batidas de Zapote/Granadillo/Níspero (Fruit Shakes)

A heat wave is hitting us hard down here in PuntaCana, just like it does this time of the year. And I start whining about it just like I do every year. Like every year, I start sharing my famous (infamous?) summer dishes, drinks and paletas (popsicles), some of our preferred weapons against the heat. Along ...

Baked Kipe (Kibbeh)

Nearly two centuries ago a wave of immigrants from the former Ottoman Empire found its way to America (the continent), fleeing persecution and economic hardship. With them they brought bits and pieces of the rich cuisines from a territory that surrounded most of the Mediterranean, and the Red and Black seas. Kipe / quipe, as we Dominicans ...

Moro-Locrio (Rice with Pork and Black Beans)

Sometimes some dishes just don't work. Don't worry, I am not talking about the moro-locrio (rice with pork and black beans). This one actually did. I love experimenting with food -- isn't that obvious? Inspiration for new recipes come from everywhere, and sometimes things work in my head much better than they turn out in reality. That is ...

Empanaditas dulces (Fruit jam turnovers)

You would think that because I post recipes for desserts so frequently it must mean that I have a sweet tooth. The answer to that is yes... and no. Not to confuse you or anything (I'll let my grammar do that), but the truth is, savory is my thing. Sure, I do love a good dessert -- ...

Avena Caliente (Oatmeal and Milk Hot Drink)

The best part of keeping this blog, and having it become the de facto digital Dominican kitchen, is that we get to show you recipes that may not longer be as popular in the Dominican home, but that definitely deserve a revival. They deserve to be shown to the world, and adopted for the wonderful ...

Tocino (salted meat)

And I am back! After nearly three weeks of practicing the art of barajar (doing nothing), I don't really feel relaxed as much as I feel just... lazy. I could get used to this. I cooked a lot, tried a few new recipes (that I will share with you in the future), and spent a lot of ...

Arepa (Dominican cornmeal and coconut cake)

Dominican arepa is a cornmeal and coconut cake, traditionally prepared in an iron pot on top of red-hot coal. A metal lid is placed on the pot, then more coal is put on the lid. This led to the expression "como la arepa: fuego por arriba y fuego por abajo" (like an arepa, fire underneath, fire ...

Coconetes (Coconut biscuits)

Coconetes (rustic coconut cookies) are very popular in the Dominican Republic. You can walk to any colmado (corner store) and you will in all likelihood find them. The reason I have called them rustic coconut cookies is because they have a rustic texture, a little bit on the dry side. That doesn't mean that they aren't full of ...

Berenjenas guisadas con cerdo (braised pork and eggplants)

If I were to write a book titled All the Things I Know Little to Nothing About, anthropology would be there somewhere. Even so, I am going out on a limb and say that a country's socio-economical situation must influence its culinary culture. To me it seems self-evident. This would explain why dishes like this berenjenas guisadas con ...

Suspiritos (meringue kisses)

Our baby turns 12 this month. It's hard to believe it, isn't it? Time flies so fast. Oh, wait, I am not talking about my daughter, I am talking about our blog(s).  Yeah, it's been 12 years, and I can hardly believe it! I had no idea what I was getting myself into, or that I'd ...

Dominican style-farina - cream of wheat

It's hard to believe, but this recipe for Dominican-style cream of wheat is one of the most searched for in our blog. At least I find it quite surprising, after all it is a very simple dish that I thought most people could cook without a recipe. In the meantime, let me tell you of my ...

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 ...

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I have been receiving requests to add this recipe for a long time, years in fact. I have to say that it isn't just procrastination that has caused this, if you know me well, you know that I am not a big fan of fried foods. As a food blogger that documents a lot of our ...

Arenque con huevos (Herrings and eggs)

Since the dawn of time, people have associated certain foods, fruit and vegetables with sex. The ancient Greeks and Romans who were famous for their bacchanals and orgies even had treatises and writings about the effects of various foods on their libidos. Some of these beliefs, whether true or not, endure to this day. There is ...

Panecicos (Cassava and pork rolls)

While I would love to think of myself as an intrepid investigative writer, travelling the Dominican countryside in search of hidden treasures of our culinary culture, the fact is that I am nowhere near that. We just travel aimlessly around the country from time to time, sampling the local foods and befriending perfect strangers on ...

Pastelón de arroz (Rice casserole)

A few years back, as part of an advertisement campaign, a certain local company had a funny commercial in which a newlywed husband called his wife on his way home to ask what she was cooking for supper. We never see the wife, but the husband gleefully repeats what she says: - "Pastelón de arroz?!" The following ...

Pan de batata (Sweet potatoes pudding)

About ten years ago I was in Denmark, where my husband hails from, spending the holiday season with his family. With a full schedule of eating and more eating ahead, I had the "brilliant" idea of treating everybody to an "authentic" traditional Dominican pre-Xmas Xmas meal on the 23rd, including a delicious pan de batata (sweet potato cake) for ...

Bollitos de yuca (Cheese-filled cassava)

Locavores are those who are part of a global movement that proposes the consumption of locally-grown food. It's a movement fueled by concerns about the environment and the nutritional quality of food that has travelled from afar, and subjected to diverse methods of preservation. As with anything, there are several sides to this argument. As with any non-centralized movement, ...

Empanaditas de yuca o catibías (Cassava pasties)

It was love at first sight with Mr. Queso de Hoja, the cheese vendor, whose, uh, balls of cheese were always the freshest… Oh, how I miss the street vendors. All vendors really, but in particular, and in no small part due to their multitude, the food vendors, of course. The travelling hair accessories guy is ...

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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 ...

Ponche de frutas (fruit punch)

In an introduction to Dominican party food for our book, Jill Wyatt wrote: "Just as a child's birthday cannot be appropriately celebrated without a sugary fruit punch in which banana slices are set adrift, it appeared that mourners could not properly grieve, nor could merrymakers effectively make themselves so, without some alimentary offering". Jill has a talent for capturing the small but ...

Paleta de batata (Sweet potato popsicles)

In my head paleta de batata con coco (sweet potato and coconut popsicles) and summer are indelibly connected. When I was a kid I spent many a summer in the Santo Domingo neighborhood of San Carlos, where one of my aunts lived. Back then it was the kind of old-fashioned middle class neighborhood you see in ...

Chop Suey a la dominicana

Many of our readers have let us know how much they appreciate the background information we provide on many of our dishes, their origins and cultural context. What you may not know is how much we enjoy doing this research, learning about our food and culture, and about the people that have given them to ...

Albondigas de pescado (Fish balls)

Summer, summer, summer! It's everywhere. It's "summer this", and "summer that". Girls in bikinis, over-tanned idiots and kids playing with garden hoses. Will the cliches never end? But I'm going to let you in on a little dirty secret: summer is my least favorite part of the year. If you don't understand why I just don't feel as ...

Pepino silvestre y cerdo (West Indies gherkin & pork)

This is a post about rediscovering. about meeting again, about going back to the past. It is not only about a dish that I had not seen or tasted in decades, it is about going back to a place I haven't been in for an almost equal amount of time. It is about discovering that memory ...

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). ...

Tipili (Bulgur salad)

Let us tell you the story of tipili (bulgur salad), and how it arrived in our shores. Immigrants from the Middle Eastern region, mainly from Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt came to the Dominican Republic and other Latin American countries in the late 19th and early 20th century. At the time, most of the Middle East and ...

Mondongo (Tripe stew)

We once took a poll amongst our readers called "Mondongo: Yucky or Yummy?", which sparked in me some reflection. My money was on a landslide victory for the Yuckies. I admit it, I voted more than once, in order to better register my enormous dislike. The Yuckies lost. By a lot. For those innocently unaware, "mondongo" is ...

Pollo guisado (Braised chicken)

What Dominican does not love a good pollo guisado (braised chicken)? I am the grandchild of farmers, and so is my husband. If you can count on anything it is on farmers being sensible people. They are rarely too picky about their food, after all they know full well that pork does not come cut into slices ...

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 ...

Guanimos (Corn pockets)

Am I ever glad that I have never called myself an expert on anything. Especially not an expert on Dominican food. Every time I learn something about food in general, or Dominican food in particular, I'm justly reminded that there is much to learn, and with things changing all the time one never finishes learning. This ...

Dulce de coco (Coconut and milk fudge)

One too many dulce de coco (coconut fudge) later: "These extra pounds have to go!" I exclaim looking at myself in the mirror. Normally this would not be much of a problem if it wasn't because I was in the middle of the holidays. Ah, the holidays. Time to overeat, overindulge, and find excuses. Not that ...