You'll find an odd name and unusual ingredients in Mala Rabia (Guava and Plantain in Syrup), but don't freak out, you will love this delicious Dominican dessert.
When one of our forum regulars asked us about this recipe, which I had never heard of before, I was convinced it was a joke, with a name that roughly translates as “bad rage”, it had to be, right?
Lesson learned: never underestimate Dominican creativity when it comes to naming our food something bizarre.
Another wonderful thing about what I do is that I discover the generosity of Dominican cooks, many willing to take me into their kitchens and share their family recipes with me. Perhaps they do not want them lost to time.
Some recipes are harder to find than others. Some of the recipes in our blog have required trips to remote parts of our country, others require leaps of faith when we have had to try foods in less than hygienic conditions. Luckily we never came home with anything worse than great memories and perhaps a few extra pounds.
After inquiring for several days I found someone who knew what it was, and she gave me the recipe. What do you know, that someone’s granddaughter was sitting right next to me in my office.
Thanks to Doña Elsa Rincón for teaching me how to prepare this dish. I also learned from her that there are two versions of this dessert: with or without milk. We give you both choices.
Mala Rabia Recipe (Guava and Plantain in Syrup)
- 3 large guavas
- 3 sticks of cinnamon
- 6 cups of water , divided (may need more)
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 very ripe plantain , diced
- 1 cup of sweet potato , diced
- 1/4 cup condensed milk , (optional) [see notes]
- Wash the guavas and halve. Scoop out the seeds using a teaspoon. Cut the guavas into wedges and set the wedges aside.
- Boil the seeds and the cinnamon sticks over medium heat in 4 cups of water for 10 minutes. Add water if it becomes necessary to maintain the same level of liquids.
- Remove from the heat and sieve, discard the solids.
- Pour the liquid back into a pot and add sugar, plantain, and sweet potato.
- Boil over medium heat until all the ingredients are cooked throughout. Add water as it becomes necessary to maintain the same level of liquid.
- Add the guava wedges and boil for another five minutes, let enough of the liquid evaporate to obtain a light syrup.
- Chill before serving. If you want to add milk, do it now.
Did you know that Mala Rabia exists in other Latin American countries? Yes, I’ve seen Peruvian recipes, and Cuban too. I suspect more countries have their own version. Neither recipe is remotely similar to ours, and the Peruvian one is a savory dish.