The cuisine of Puerto Rico reflects the unique culture of the island. With its ethnic diversity that includes Taíno, Spanish, African and Creole, there has been a broad spectrum of influence on Puerto Rican food. Called cocina criolla by locals, it has a similar taste and appearance to Latin American cuisine, while using indigenous ingredients that give it tropical island flair.
According to Wikipedia, one of the staple items frequently used in Puerto Rican cuisine is recaíto, a green sauce that is used in many meat dishes, as well as a base for stews, soups and hashes. If you’d like to give recaíto a try, why not try this recipe for yourself?
- 20 culantro leaves (this can be found at Latin or Asian specialty markets)
- 1 small bunch of cilantro
- 1 large green bell pepper, seeded, diced with white pith removed
- 13-15 large sweet aji (chili) peppers
- 2 small Spanish onions, diced
- 2 tbsp. roasted garlic
- Olive oil
- Slice off the top of a bulb or two of garlic (depends on size of bulb and of cloves) to expose some of the cloves inside. Place the bulbs on a piece of foil. Drizzle with olive oil and rap in the foil, and place in an oven that has been preheated to 350ºF.
- Roast until cloves are lightly browned and tender, about half an hour. Remove the roasted garlic from the oven. It should be easy to just pop the cloves right out of the skins. Measure out roughly two tablespoons. Rule of thumb – one extra large clove is about the equivalent of one tablespoon; one small clove is about ½ teaspoon.
- Place the roasted garlic along with all other ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend until almost smooth. This can be frozen for later use. Some people freeze their recaíto in ice cube trays for easy, individual servings. Please note – if you can’t find culantro, double up on the cilantro.
Of course, one of the best ways to experience traditional criollo cuisine is to take a trip to Puerto Rico yourself! If you visit Maria’s Beach in Rincón, you can find traditional dishes at restaurants like Francisco’s Caribbean Local Cuisine or the Red Flamboyan. Both are just steps away from Maria’s, our luxury beachfront resort. Maria’s offers a full suite of amenities including large bedrooms, a swimming pool, hot tubs, private access to Maria’s Beach, as well as full kitchens. So, if you’d rather try your hand at preparing delicious criollo food with fresh, local ingredients, you can!
Our booking is done through Twin Palms, Maria’s rental and onsite management. Please visit our booking page on this website to view the availability of Maria’s and fill out our convenient contact form below. If you have any additional questions regarding Maria’s, you may call Twin Palms at 787-685-6648 (español: 787-233-9815). Thank you for planning your Puerto Rican vacation with us, and buen apetito!