Food makes me happy. It adds color to my life, especially new and interesting food that I’ve never tried before. Take this sunny plate of Reneelicious Arroz ala Cubana for example. Just looking at it fills me with joy.
Unlike Ren and countless other Filipinos who grew up with this popular dish, poor ignorant me had never heard of it until adulthood. It wasn’t until after I got married did I finally get to try it at my in-laws’ house. I fell in love with it instantly. The flavorful spiced ground beef, the runny fried egg over rice, the sweet plantains; eating it just made me blissfully happy. Having been exposed to colorful dishes like this all her life, it’s no wonder that Ren grew up to be the lively, spirited woman that she is today.
If happy food equates to happy people, then I now understand why Ren’s been laboring so hard to come up with all these terrific dishes, including this amped up version of her mother’s Arroz ala Cubana. Apart from giving me quality material for my blog, she’s adding color to this otherwise morose, moody artist’s life one cheery spoonful at a time. 😉
How can you not be filled with verve if you get to eat ebullient dishes like this every day?
Vibrant and bursting with life, I can almost hear Salsa music playing whenever I look at this lyrical plate of food. I guess that’s why I do the happy dance whenever I eat it. 😉
- 2 Tbsps olive oil
- 3/4 kilo ground round
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large green bell pepper, diced
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 2 tsps pimenton/smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground oregano
- 3 green chilies, deseeded and chopped)
- 1 cup sweet green peas
- Sriracha, to taste
- Sea salt, to taste
- Fried egg, sunny side up, one per person
- Fried (very ripe) plantains, to serve
- Steamed white rice, to serve
- Lime wedges, to serve
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and bell pepper and sauté until softened.
- Add in beef, season with some sea salt and fry until beef is no longer red. Pour in tomato paste and sauce and stir well to combine.
- Sprinkle over with paprika, cumin and oregano, then stir. Add in chilies and green peas and cook for a few more minutes. Squirt with Sriracha and adjust seasoning to taste.
- Serve with steamed rice topped with a fried egg, fried plantains, and lime wedges. serve with Sriracha on the side.
DID YOU KNOW?
That the plantain is the 10th most consumed staple food in the world? The average plantain contains about 220 calories and is a good source of potassium and dietary fiber. It bears fruit all year round, making it a reliable all-season staple food, particularly in developing countries with inadequate food storage, preservation, and transportation technologies.