Puerto Rican Blend
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The Puerto Rican palate is unique in the Caribbean region. While rice and beans are considered a staple food like most of other Latin American cultures, Puerto Rican food is not near as spicy as its Caribbean neighbors Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad.
While Puerto Rican cooking is often compared to Cuban, Mexican and Spanish cuisine, it’s actually a unique flavorful blend of African, Spanish, South American and Taino influences. Native ingredients and seasonings include apio (celery root), cacao, coriander, nispero (a yellowish to orange sweet, tart fruit) papaya, plantains and yampee (a cultivated yam species).
Island locals refer to their cuisine as "cocina criolla" (which translates to Creole cooking) and can be traced back to the Taino, the indigenous people of the island, who flourished on a diet of corn, seafood and tropical fruit. The Spanish added beef, olive oil, pork, rice and wheat to the island's culinary landscape. The Spanish also brought over slaves from Africa to plant and harvest sugarcane. The slaves were soon growing okra and taro (a root vegetable that is baked, broiled or roasted) that came from their native continent for their own consumption. The various ethnic groups that would come to live on the island incorporated the eclectic collection of ingredients and flavors which would become the exotic blend that is today's Puerto Rican cuisine.
While not quite as prevalent in Puerto Rico as on other Caribbean islands, rice does play a key role as a staple ingredient and is served with just about all evening meals. Beans are usually served with rice, with the most common legumes being red beans or pigeon peas (called "gandules" in Puerto Rico). Either of these may be cooked with the rice or prepared by themselves and served on top of a dish or as a side. Black beans and garbanzos, while not as popular may also be served with rice. Puerto Rican rice often has a reddish yellow color.
Ingredients: achiote (aka annatto), garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, Mexican oregano and cilantro.
Serving Size 1 Teaspoon, Amount Per Serving: Calories 3.1, Fat Cal. 0.9, Total Fat 0.1g (0% DV), Sat. Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g (0% DV), Cholest. 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 0.8mg (0% DV), Total Carb.0.6g (0% DV), Dietary Fiber 0.1g (0% DV), Sugars 0.1g, Protein 0.1g (0% DV), Vitamin A (0.4% DV), Vitamin C (1% DV), Calcium (0.8% DV), Iron (1.6% DV), Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.