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.
I read the phrase “eat colorfully” somewhere, and darn if that doesn’t portray exactly the way I prefer my food. Vegetables don’t just 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.
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.
- 5 4- oz cans of sardines in spicy tomato sauce , divided
- 5 tablespoons olive oil , divided
- 3 sprigs of cilantro , chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic , crushed
- 1/4 cup of diced bell peppers
- 1 medium carrot , diced
- 1/4 cup celery stalks , cut into slices
- 1/3 cup of peas
- 4 cups of water
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or more, to taste)
- 3 cups of rice
Take the sardines out of the sauce and reserve the sauce.
In deep-bottom pot heat 3 tablespoons of oil over low heat.
Add cilantro, garlic, peppers, carrot, celery and peas. Cook and stir for about two minutes.
Add half the sardines (reserve the other half), mix well.
Increase the heat to medium and add the sauce that the sardines came in.
Add water and salt to taste and bring to the boil. When it breaks the boil add the rice.
Stir regularly to avoid excessive sticking.
When all the liquid has evaporated, add the remaining sardines and mix.
Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer over very low heat.
After 15 minutes uncover, stir, and add the remaining oil. Cover again.
After another 5 minutes try the rice. It should be firm but tender inside.
If necessary, cover and simmer another 5 minutes.
Serve with avocado slices and tostones