Also known as “arroz moro” (Moor rice) or “moors and Christians” is one of most famous dish in the Cuban cuisine. The traditional recipe includes black beans, loads of pork meat, bacon and lard, bell peppers, onion and spices. And here I’m going to share a vegan version of this plate.
There is a couple of methods to cook this rice. Some people stir fry the vegetables, adding the rice and after some minutes pour in the bean water. Others after stir frying the vegetables add the water to the mix and bring it to boil. After add the rice and beans. For sure there is more ways to make “Congri”, since this is a staple in the island, the recipe has many variations.
To keep the recipe as similar to the original as possible (besides replacing the animal products) I suggest to use dried black beans and cook them “old style”. The reason to cook the beans at home is that you’ll need the water from the cooked beans (which is called aquafaba) to get that characteristic “brown” color in the rice. If you just use a can of black beans you will need to add water in order to complete the liquid needed to cook the rice.
1 cup of dried black beans will give you 2 cups of cooked beans approx. If you have a press cooker or an “instant pot” you will spend no more than 10 minutes to cook those beans straight from the bag, but if you don’t, you can soak them overnight and cook them for half hour o less, or cook them directly from the bag for about 45 minutes. They should be soft in consistency, but not overcooked in order to keep their form, because later you will put them to boil again with the rice.
1 T de frijoles cocidos
2 T de líquido de su cocción
2 T de arroz Blanco
1T cebolla en cubitos
4 dientes de ajo, finamente picados
1/2 pimentón rojo
2 Cdas de aceite vegetal
1 Cdta de vinagre bco o de manzana
1 Cda de comino molido
½ cda paprika
1/2 cda de orégano
1 pizca de pimienta negra
1 Cda de sal
1 and 1/2 cup of cooked black beans
2.5 cups of aquafaba black beans (water from the cocked beans)
3 cups white rice
4 strips vegan bacon, chopped in Juliane
1/2 cup vegan ground meat or vegan beef strips
1/2 cup of green bell pepper in cubes
1/2 cup red bell pepper in cubes
4 garlic cloves
1/2 onion in Juliane
1/2 cup green olives (optional)
2 Bay leaves
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Cumin
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt to taste.
1. In a hot pan at medium low, stir fry the onion, garlic, bay leaves, red and green bell peppers for 2 minutes.
2. add the vegan bacon and vegan meats, keep stir frying until the onion gets translucent (1 or 2 minutes more). At this point get the bay leaves out of the pot.
3. Rinse the rice and add it to the pot, mixing for about 2 minutes.
4. Add the beans water and the spices: cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, and bring it to boil.
5. Once the rice is boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and let it boil for a couple of minutes, the water should be reducing until gets the same level of the rice.
6. Here is the moment to add the beans and olives (if you want a different flavor) and stir few times to combine.
7. Put the lid on and low the heat at the minimum, let it simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes.
8. Fluff the rice and enjoy!