Arroz A la Cubana

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Our favorite Arroz a la cubana means Cuban style rice in Spanish. Its origins traced from Spain (during the time when Cuba was still under the Spanish rule). And, due to its mega combo of meat in tomato sauce, fried egg, fried banana (saba or plantain) and rice, it immediately gained ground among foodies in several countries  including the Philippines.

I particularly like the play of tastes in this dish. The meat providing the spice and succulence, the bananas giving the sweet dimension, the egg yielding the linamnam factor and the rice just binds everything before it slides down to our stomach in the best possible gastronomic way.

There are versions to this dish. Some throw in peas and carrots or sometimes cubed potato bits in the meat dish. Not for me, thank you. I go for the  beefy and savory version of this. Peas, carrots and potatoes tend to steal some degree of beefiness in the process. Better to keep it simple but extremely tasty. Don’t worry, the saba will have to combat the umay factor of the meat. Also, your call whether you want it spicy or mildly spiced. Would taste fantastic any which way, anyway.

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To do this you will need:

For the meat dish:

1/2 kilo lean ground meat (preferably, ground round)

2 red medium-sized bell peppers, cubed

1 onion, minced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tomato, diced

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup tomato sauce

salt and pepper to taste

oil

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1/2 tsp spanish paprika (optional)

1 pinch cumin (optional)

salt and pepper to taste (must! hehe)

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10 pcs bananas (saba) cut lengthwise, 5 cups rice (depending on how many will eat!), 5 eggs (again, depending on how many will eat!)

What to do:

1. Season meat with salt and pepper(s). Saute onion, garlic and tomato. Mix in meat then red bell peppers. Cook until brown and tender. Put tomato sauce and bring down to a medium simmer. Throw in raisins about 5 minutes before you turn off the heat. Set aside.

2. In a separate pan, do a sunny-side-up.

3. Fry bananas. Pat dry on a bed of napkins to remove excess oil.

4. Plate all components. Be creative!

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