One thing I’ve observed about the Filipino palette: we enjoy the combination of sweet and salty. I’ve developed the regular craving for a sweet and salty flavor combination because I grew up with a unique family recipe of a Filipino dish (as per research, another Spanish influenced dish. But being literal about the name, I guess it is more Cuban than Spanish?), the Arroz ala Cubana. When I was in Dubai, I asked my father for our family recipe since I wanted to replicate this and enjoy a spoonful (or more. as usual.) of home. But since The Husband and I ended up eating out a lot, I was not able to do so. Although, my family was thoughtful enough to save me a heaping bowl of Arroz ala Cubana when I arrived in Manila two weeks ago.
Some may wonder how come I say that the Arroz ala Cubana is a sweet and salty dish, when, in fact, it is not. Outside our home, the main component of the dish is made with ground beef, diced potatoes, raisins, green peas, carrots, bell pepper and tomato sauce. And it being a tomato based dish, Filipinos tend to shy away from the tartness of the tomatoes and sweeten things up a bit. Hence, sugar is usually added to the tomato sauced beef mixture. Then it is served with a cup (or maybe cupssssss) of white rice, fried saba banana (Is saba banana it’s universal name?) halves, and a sunny-side up egg. You can check out some recipes here and here. Is your Arroz ala Cubana recipe similar? A good friend of mine (who was thoughtful and sweet to remember how I love Arroz ala Cubana and whose recipe is immortalized in the picture above and below) even adds a dash of cumin to the ground beef mixture.
But at home, the beef is the star of the show. We don’t add diced potatoes, raisins, green peas, carrots, bell pepper, tomato sauce and sugar to the beef mixture. It’s just ground beef, salt, pepper and a bit of soy sauce to add some kick to the saltiness. Then the ground beef mixture is sauteed until dark brown in color, the juices and oil drained and almost crispy in texture. As simple as that! Like the original outside-our-home Filipino recipe, the beef mixture is served with a cup (or more for me) of rice, fried saba banana halves and a runny sunny side up egg. I do mix up the rice, ground beef, banana and egg to make sure I get each of the components in every bite. Sweetness from the fried saba banana; then saltiness from the ground beef with a touch of creaminess from the runny egg yolk.That’s Arroz ala Cubana Paterno style! Sweet and salty heaven for me! I’m so excited to replicate this recipe in our Little Home very soon
My 30 Favorite Food Stuff #4. 26 more to go!
Delirious about delicious,
P.S. It’s my birthday on Tuesday and still have no clue on how to celebrate. The Husband says birthdays are overrated, but I still want to celebrate in the simplest way possible. Any ideas?