Puerto Rican Basics: Recaito

Today, we’ll introduce one of our kitchen basics. No need for store-bought marinades or adobo. This useful blend of aromatics can add so much flavor to pretty much any recipe, from soups to stews to roasted meats. It’s called Recaito and it is not spicy, just savory. If you know Spanish sofrito, this is the Caribbean version of that. 

But, in Puerto Rico, we also have something called sofrito, which is technically recaito with tomato added to the mix. The base for both is an herb called recao or culantro. It magically grows wild in some people’s backyards back on the island. And you can also grow it in pots here in the States, not that I have successfully been able to do that! When I moved here, I was happy to know that you could easily find it in Vietnamese supermarkets as ngo gai.

On its own, recao has a slightly bitter, sweet and soapy flavor. It’s similar to cilantro but stronger. But when added to a mix of onions, garlic, and other aromatics, it helps balance any dish. It is also said to have a number of health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties, helping to lower glucose and detoxification of the body.

Did I also mention that you can make huge batches and freeze it for later use?! Yup, start saving those peanut butter jars. You’re going to need them.

Here is our recipe.

  • A handful of culantro
  • A handful of cilantro
  • 1 Very large yellow or white onion
  • 1 Small cubanelle pepper or small green pepper
  • 10-15 Ajicitos dulces (Optional – Substitute with another small cubanelle or green pepper)
  • 10 Cloves of garlic (Add a few more if you want!)
  • ¼ Cup of olive oil
  • 1 Teaspoon of salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of pepper

Pure everything in the food processor and add a few drops of water if it’s too pasty. Freeze in a jar (peanut butter jars work great) or in ice trays for easy use.

No comments:

Post a Comment