Recipe: It’s a wonderful world with Arroz a la Cubana

It is a wonderful world indeed. It is starting to rain in our area, typhoon Ruby has landed in several areas last night. The government is prepared for this, more prepared than last year’s typhoon. Of course, the preparedness extends only to as far as getting the residents to evacuate and providing for the food and shelter during that time. Homes, personal effects, memories, death of family members, and other difficulties resulting from the typhoon are borne by the residents. The sad part about it is some of them have not even recovered from the previous events. Hope is not lost among the affected and those who are on the sidelines praying for them and extending help when they can.

So many days after, Pope Francis visited the Philippines; I am amazed at the devotion and the number of people who went despite the rain and the crowd. It was heartwarming indeed, even for people like us who just watched the television. About 6 million people gathered at the Quirino grandstand to listen to him. There were non-Catholics who were awed and showed respect, there were instances of disrespect of which I will not dignify a mention on this post.

It is indeed a wonderful world when there is hope, love, and compassion.
So, let us talk about arroz ala cubana, this dish is not really from Cuba but perhaps brought by the Spaniards in their colonization efforts from way back. The main ingredient is ground beef or port for that matter, tomato sauce, egg, and banana. I am thinking that it is popular because it is a one-dish meal.

I first tasted this dish from the cafeteria of the bank that I used to work for in Intramuros. It was a special then, several versions have since then evolved, but I would still remember when I savored it first. It is like my mom reminding me that her cooking methods have not changed but my palate has matured. Therefore the memories of how my tastebuds encountered a dish the first time will always be different. There is no expectation.


The fried banana can provide as a palate cleaner to tone done the richness of the mean and the fried egg. You will notice that the sunny side-up is prepared with crispy sides and almost cooked yolk; I guess, this is still the Spanish influence in our culture. The North American egg will be over easy, soft, not firm. At any rate, arroz a la cubana is prepared by cooking beef in a small amount of water until the juice has evaporated and oil has come out. Add a little bit of olive oil and sauté onions and garlic, if preferred add green peas. Once cooked add tomato sauce, put in raisins when the sauce has thickened. Fry bananas and egg separately. This is best enjoyed with rice but will go well with dinner rolls too.

It is an easy prep and the picture didn’t do it justice but it will hit the spot. Enjoy it with gusto, just as how you would savor the beautiful world around you.


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