Archive | Puerto Rican delicacies RSS feed for this section

Taro Root Nests

14 Sep

I’m in love with taro root or malangas, as I call them on a daily basis…

Here is a fun and easy way to make taro root for your next party of gathering.

Taro Root Nests


1 pound of raw taro root, peeled and cut into long pieces
1 tsp sofrito
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp salt
A pinch of freshly cracked black pepper (optional)
Frying oil – canola oil, grape seed oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, etc.
  1. Shred the taro root pieces using the shredding blade of your food processor.  You could also shred by hand using a box grater, but this would be much harder and take up more time.
  2. Transfer the shredded taro root to a large mixing bowl and season with the sofrito, salt and black pepper.  Grate the garlic cloves using a microplane grater over the shredded taro root mixture.  Combine well all the ingredients using your hands.  I find they work best for doing this.
  3. In a large skillet, add enough frying oil to make it about ½” to 1” deep and bring to temperature over medium-high heat.  The oil will be ready for frying when you stick the back of a wooden spoon into the oil and bubbles form all around it.
  4. Make mounds of the seasoned shredded taro root…  Squeeze out all the starchy liquid from it and place on the hot oil to fry.  Using a spoon, pour some of the hot oil over the mound of shredded taro root to help it cook on the inside and to start to harden the top part a bit.  Place mounds of taro root on the skillet leaving some space between the mounds so they don’t stick together.
  5. After a few minutes, flip the mound on the other side so it fries evenly on all sides.  When the taro root mounds are golden brown on all sides, take them off the oil using a wooden spoon and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb all the excess oil.  If you want, you can sprinkle them lightly with some more kosher salt, but it may not be necessary.

Enjoy these little nest fritters as an appetizer or as the crispy component to any Latin dinner…

Stewed Tofu

23 Jun

This is one of my mom’s signature dishes… she cooks it all the time, especially if we need to cook for a crowd.  We have cooked this recipe at the Yoga Center, when we’ve had to cook for yoga friends while traveling and even for my niece and nephew.  They love saucy tofu, especially when mixed into a nice helping of rice.

It’s a simple, kinda one-pot dish…  kinda, because my mom likes to sear the tofu in a skillet before adding to the stew.  This gives the tofu a chewy consistency that I find more palatable and interesting.   And again… think of tofu as a blank canvas.  It will taste just as good as the seasonings you use on it.

Tofu in Tomato Sauce with Onions and Peppers


1 block of extra-firm tofu
Garlic and Herbs Seasoning
2 large red skinned potatoes or Yukon Gold, cubed
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper , sliced
1 tablespoon of sofrito
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar of stewed tomatoes or chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup of water – if needed
1 vegetable bouillon cube
Salt and pepper to taste
10 large olives or 2 tablespoons of capers
2 bay leaves
a large dash of paprika
a few splashes of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Slice each tofu block in 4 slices.  Place slices in a baking sheet lined with 2-3 paper towels.  Cover with 2-3 additional paper towels, top with an additional baking sheet and weigh with something heavy.  Drain weighed tofu slices for about 30-60 minutes.
  2. After tofu slices are drained, season liberally with Garlic and Herbs seasoning.   Cook tofu slices in a dry non-stick skillet.  After you’ve placed them on the skillet, leave them for a while without touching them.  The crust they will develop will prevent them from sticking to the skillet and make it easier to turn them.  Sear them on both sides.  Set aside to cool off.
  3. In a large pot over medium heat, pour olive oil. Mix in the onions, peppers and sofrito, and vegetable bouillon cube.   Add the garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When onions and peppers have softened, add in the potatoes. Stir a few times for them to start cooking a bit.
  5. Add the tomatoes, olives or capers, bay leaves and paprika. If there is not enough liquid for the potatoes to cook in, add some water, until the potatoes are covered. Add the vinegar.  Cover the pot and allow it to simmer to cook.
  6. Take the cooled tofu slices and slice them again into smaller pieces.  I slice each piece into 4 smaller pieces, which yield me about 32 tofu pieces total.  But if you feel you want the pieces larger or smaller, slice them to your desired size.  It’s your stew, your tofu…
  7. When the stew has cooked for about 20 minutes already, add the tofu pieces to warm up with the sauce and potatoes.  Simmer in the covered pot for about 10 more minutes, about 30 minutes total time or until potatoes are fork tender.

Serve over brown rice.

Vegan Mayo and Mustard Dipping Sauce

12 Dec

Taro Root Fritters are perfect all by themselves…

However they can become so much more if you dip them into something – like a Mayo Mustard Dipping Sauce.  I use Vegenaise Mayo and to me, because I haven’t bought traditional mayo in such a long time, I believe this tastes as creamy and decadent as if made with any homemade mayo.

You can make as little or as much as you want…  but here are some proportions for you so you get the drift…

Vegan Mayo Mustard Dipping Sauce


¼ cup Vegenaise vegan mayo
1 tbs horseradish mustard, but your favorite mustard will work here
Pinch of Kosher Salt
 Sprinkle of Sweet Paprika
  1. Just mix all the ingredients in a bowl and serve alongside your fritters…

And if you’re not into mustard, you can always go to our trusted Puerto Rican staple, MayoKetchup.  Right??

Taro Root Fritters

10 Dec

This is a recipe featured in Qué Rica Vida – the Spanish-language community site featuring great  recipes from a variety of bloggers, including Karma Free Cooking.

Viandas, as we call them in Spanish or at least in Puerto Rico, are part of the staples in Caribbean gastronomy.  Viandas are a variety of root vegetables and edible tubers which form part of our diet since the times of the Taíno Indians, Puerto Rico’s first inhabitants.

Malanga or Taro Root is one of my favorite viandas…  It has a sweet taste and its speckled lilac interior is very pretty.  These are particularly popular in Hawaiian cuisine in the form of poi, a mashed version of taro root.

Taro Root

Typically, viandas are boiled in salted water and eaten with various accompaniments, and their starchy consistency makes them perfect to make into fritters.  The perfect example of this is Alcapurrias.  But we don’t always have the time to make a filling, make the masa, fill the alcapurrias and fry them.  So this fritter is a great short-cut to get the payoff of a fritter without a lot of work.  You can read the whole recipe in Spanish in Qué Rica Vida here.

Taro Root Fritters


1 pound of raw taro root, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp sofrito
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp salt
A pinch of freshly cracked black pepper (optional)
  1. Add all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process until you create a homogeneous puree.
  2. Using a spatula, scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure the mixture is well combined.
  3. In a large skillet add enough frying oil for it to be about ½ – 1” deep.  Place over medium-high heat until the oil bubbles a bit around the tip of a wooden spoon when submerged in the oil.
  4. Using a measuring spoon, measure about 1tbs of masa and create small balls and place in the hot oil.  Fry balls on all sides until they’re golden brown.  Once the skillet is filled with balls frying, turn down the heat to make sure the inside of the fritter is cooked without burning the outside.
  5. When they’re done, take them from the skillet using a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to cool off and catch all the excess oil.

Taro Root Fritters

You can enjoy these fritters on their own… or with a delicious vegan mayo and mustard dipping sauce.  This recipe makes about 24 fritters.

Vegan Coquito

1 Dec

Yes… I went there. My sister has been dairy-free for some time now and she was craving Coquito.

Being the good big sister that I am, I developed this version omitting the evaporated and condensed milks. I must admit, this turned out to be a really cool experiment. The flavors and the spirit of Coquito is still there – without rum or dairy.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I and my sister did.

Vegan Coquito


1 pint coconut creamer
2 containers coconut cream
2 containers of coconut milk
30oz of spiced tea – using a baggie each of cinnamon sticks, anise seeds, star anise, cloves and a 5” piece of ginger
2 tbs vanilla powder or extract
2 tbs cinnamon powder
2 tbs nutmeg
  1. Just like my regular recipe for coquito, you first make a spiced tea – In a medium saucepan pour 3 cups of water, cinnamon sticks, anise seeds, star anise and cloves. Add also the piece of ginger cut up into small pieces or rounds. No need to even take off the skin. Bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat for about 15-20 minutes to create a strong spiced tea. This will give the coquito most of its spiciness. Turn off the heat and allow the spices to concentrate the flavor of the tea. Let cool a bit. You could even make this the day before and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the Coquito recipe.
  2. I find that if you have a really large pitcher or plastic jug with a large mouth that will accommodate about 90oz of liquid, this is the best way to assemble this…
  3. In the large pitcher I described above, combine the coconut creamer, coconut milks and creams of coconut with 30oz of the spiced tea. Add the vanilla powder, cinnamon powder and freshly grated nutmeg. Using an immersion blender, blend the whole thing well to combine and make a tad frothy.
  4. Allow to chill in the refrigerator in that same pitcher you made it in.

Serve chilled in small shot glasses. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,659 other followers

%d bloggers like this: