Friday, 17 August 2012

Congri - Cuban Rice and Beans Dish

Congri - Cuban Rice and Red Beans Dish

When I started learning about world cuisine, I found, a lot of similarites in cuisines from far out countries. Though Congri is almost like a national Dish of Cuba, but it has it's roots here in India. The typical Rajma Chawal of Punjab, is what got transformed into Congri. This transformation was possible due to fact that thousands of Indians were forcefully sent to West Indies by the Britishers to work in the Sugar plantations. They carried our culture and food habits along with them, which is now reflected in their world famous cuisines.

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time      : 40 minutes
Difficulty             : Easy
Serves                 : 4

Ingredients :

  • 3 tablespoon of  Olive oil
  • 2 inch cube of Salt pork (you can omit this, if you want. Instead for taste you can add a piece of spicy Chicken sausage)
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 medium Onion
  • 1/4 Green pepper
  • 120 grams of Tomato sauce
  • 1 cup long grain White Rice
  • 450 grams of Red Kidney Beans (Jammu Rajma)
  • 1 1/2 cups of Water
  • 1 tablespoon Salt

Method :

Keep the Red kidney beans soaked overnight with warm water and a pinch of Sodium Bi Carbonate. Wash this with plenty of fresh water next morning and drain before cooking.

1) In blender or food processor, purée onion and green pepper together (add a little water if needed). Set aside.
2) In wok heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the finely chopped Pork/ chicken sausage and garlic cloves. Sauté until browned. Discard the garlic.
3) Add the onion/pepper mixture to the oil, stir and cook for 5 minutes.

4) Add the tomato sauce and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes until the sauce is a deep, rich red. This mixture is called sofrito.

5) Stir in the rice, mixing it well. Add the beans, water and salt and stir.

6) Cook on high heat, uncovered until water begins to boil. Adjust heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes until rice is tender.

7) Once the Rice and beans are well cooked, check the seasonings and adjust. Serve hot with a sprinle of chopped Corriender or parsley.