Cuban cuisine is one of the things you can keep long after you came back from Cuba. Whenever you miss the rum or the cigars, you can turn the oven on and try out some of these delicious recipes. Today we are going to have a look at the best Cuban food dishes you need to try while you’re there and keep in mind when you’re back home.
Best Cuban Food Dishes You Can’t Miss
Medianoche is a dish that resembles the classic Cuban sandwich a lot. It is made with ham, roast pork, pickles, as well as Swiss cheese. However, the bread is different than with a Cuban sandwich, since medianoche is made with a sweet egg load that resembles challah.
2. Ropa Vieja
This is a comfort dish that’s popular all throughout the Latin world. It’s made with braised shredded flank, skirt or brisket steak, placed in tomato sauce. Add some white rice to it and you’re ready to enjoy a delicious meal.
3. Pernil Relleno de Moros y Cristianos
Another traditional Cuban food recipe is the pernil relleno de moros y cristianos. It’s a flavored pork shoulder stuffed with moros y cristianos, which is black beans stewed together with white rice. Everything is seasoned with garlic, sour orange, and oregano.
4. Vaca Frita
This classic recipe consists of skirt steak that is marinated in a mix of red vinegar with plenty of spices, such as cilantro, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, parsley, etc. The meat is then braised until it gets very tender. The usual side-dish for this recipe is lime-infused onions and peppers, which offer it a fresh taste.
5. Fried Sweet Plantains
For this recipe, you need to get some overripe plantains. They are fried in hot oil, and the result is called maduros. They are tender and sweet, making a tasty experience in Cuban cuisine. The plantains may be a little too oily, but try not to overdo it.
6. Malanga Fritters
Malanga looks like yam and tastes like potato. It’s a root vegetable used for cooking in many tropical countries, including Cuba. If you grate it, you can make a batter which you can then fry. The final texture will be crispy and savory. Add some Tamarindo ketchup if you want to have a great dipping sauce next to it.
7. Yuca Fingers
Just like the name says, the Yuca fingers are long and sleek pieces of yuca. They look just like French fries, except they use this ingredient that’s very popular in Latin American countries, including Cuba. They are a delicious extra touch for any Cuban dinner, so make sure you try them while you’re there.
8. Black Bean Soup
Black beans are a classic of Cuban food dishes. People there use to make a soup out of them. They use the beans sautéed with pepper, garlic, onions, as well as cumin and oregano. Next, Cubans stew them until they get all the savor. Enjoy it together with ropa vieja and rice for a truly Cuban experience.
9. Frita Cubana
Legend has it that these small burgers originated in a Cuban sausage factory. The workers there wanted to check if the seasoning for their chorizo sausages was good, so they took a small amount of filling, fried it up and ate it. In the end, this became a midday snack on its own.
10. Cuba Libre Granita
The famous cocktail, Cuba Libre, can also be turned into a granita. You just need to place the cocktail into a shallow baking dish and keep it in the freezer. Keep it there for 4 hours, but every 20 minutes stir it. Scrape the edges and break up the chunks as it freezes. Then, place it in individual glasses and serve it.
The recipe is similar to the Mexican tamales one. However, the difference here is that in Cuba they mix the meat with the dough, instead of using it as a filling. The flavor is also similar, so if you’ve never tried tamales in Mexico, you should try them in Cuba.
This is also called moros y cristianos and it’s basically the filling from the recipe above. It’s a side dish that accompanies plenty of other main dishes. The white rice and black beans have an aesthetic appeal as well, especially with plenty of spices sprinkled on top.
While in Cuba, you must try the Cuban version of this typical Spanish dish. It includes chicken, ham, chorizo, shrimp, lobster, scallops, and mussels. It’s a delicious version of the dish and you need to try it if you’re willing to experiment with your food.
14. Shrimps in Coconut Sauce
This Cuban food dish is specific to the Baracoa area (Guantanamo Province), which is considered a gourmet capital of the country. The coconut sauce is locally named lechita and it’s made with coconut milk, garlic, tomato paste, as well as other spices. Usually, people pour it over lobster, octopus, or shrimps.
15. Huevo Habaneros
The huevo habaneros refer to eggs cooked over a mixture called sofrito. It’s a mix of onions, peppers, garlic, and tomatoes that is slightly fried.
16. Picadillo Cua Cua
You can call this the Cuban version of the hash and eggs recipe. Usually, people serve it with rice, and it’s made of plantains, eggs, and beef hash.
17. Lechon Asado
This is truly an amazing dish from the Cuban cuisine that will blow your taste buds away. It consists of a milk piglet that is cooked whole on a spit. You just leave it there until it gets all crispy. Often, people also serve it with a spicy marinade called mojo.
To sum it up, there are plenty of tasty Cuban food dishes you can’t miss when you’re in Cuba. And nothing stops you from recreating a wonderful experience in your own kitchen as well if you stick to the original recipes and ingredients. Finally, when eating in Cuba, try to go to places where locals go to get a better taste of the local culture, habits, experiences, and so on.
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