Friday, June 19, 2009

Cuban Congri (Arroz Moro) Recipe – Cuban Style Black Beans and White Rice

Congri Collage

We are back again for with some specialties passed down for generations from Cuba. My Mom is from Santiago de Cuba were this special black beans and rice dish is known as Congri. I believe in Havana it’s known as Arroz Morro; in fact my Mom had never heard it termed Arroz Morro until she arrived in the states.

First off, there are three essential requirements to any Cuban dish, plenty of garlic, loud Cuban/Puerto Rican music in the background, and the cook’s favorite pot/pan. The pot Mom uses is very special in the fact that she purchased it in Cuba back in 1962. Mom has used the the pot for the past 47 years exclusively for Congri. The only thing Mom has changed is she now cooks the beans in a pressure cooker to save time.

With Moms special pan, plenty of garlic, and Hector Lavoes “Abuelita” playing in the background we were ready to go.

Serves 8

1 Cup Black Beans
2 Cups White Rice
5 Cups Water
1 lb of Salt Pork
1/2 Orange Pepper
1/2 Yellow Pepper
1/2 Green Pepper
9 Garlic Cloves crushed
1 Onion
2 tbsp Cumin
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt to taste

Cook black beans in water (we used 5 cups of water in a pressure cooker, with dry beans it took approximately 20 min).

Roughly chop the peppers and onions. Crush the garlic cloves. Note: The salt pork was purchased already cut.

Ingredients for Cuban Congri

Add two tablespoons of olive oil to pan and cook salt pork in saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until pork is golden and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes.

Sauteed Salt Pork for Cuban Congri Recipe

Add onions, bay leaves, bell peppers, garlic and cumin sauté over medium-high heat 3-4 minutes or until onion is tender.

Sauteed Cuban Congri Ingredients

Add rice and stir in.

Adding Rice for Cuban Congri Recipe

Add the cooked beans along with the water used to cook them and let sit, do not cover or stir.

Adding cooked beans for Cuban Congri Recipe

Cuban Congri in the making

After water has absorbed (approx 10 min) reduce heat, stir, and cover the pot. Let simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

Cuban Congri - Arroz Morro

Remove from heat and serve. Congri pairs well with pork dishes.

Cuban Congri

Cuban Congri - Arroz Morro

No salt was needed; enough salt was drawn from the salt pork. You will notice many different regional differences to Congri, some recipes I have seen use bacon instead of salt pork. I also have seen tomato and or vinegar used on some Congri recipes. The recipe we have shared has not been changed from the one my Mom learned as a child growing up in Santiago de Cuba, its different flavors and textures all combined make for a mouthwatering dish.


Cuban Congri


Dennis K. said...

Thanks for sharing the recipe and especially your stories. I love the 60's look and pastel blue coloration of the pan! I have a cast-iron skillet and a few dishware from home that my mother had sent me. It's so great to have especially when making those childhood favorites. Cheers.

micaela said...

growing up in Puerto Rico having had many family friends who were Cubans-in-exile, and eating at many Cuban restaurants, it was always referred to as Congri. Only once or twice in my life has it been referred to as Arroz Moro, such a throwback to the times of the Spanish Inquisition... I'm sure your mom must've been like "WTHeck are they talking about?" And I smiled at the reference to your mom using a pressure cooker for her beans to save time, I've been thinking about getting one for the same reason (it's too hot in my kitchen in Yuma to slave over a pot of beans!). Would you ask your mom for me if the yellow & orange peppers she grew up using in her cooking before she left Cuba were ajies dulces? I really need to get some seeds and start growing my own, bell peppers aren't quite the same.

Hope your ears weren't ringing last night, we were talking about you and the pleasures of eating in Ensenada. I was extolling the virtues of La Guerrerense to Ed.

CINDI said...

Amazing recipe keep up the good work! chilaquiles next?

Sherry said...

I love beans and rice, and this sounds like a terrific recipe. We have some homemade salt pork that we haven't tried yet, so this looks like the perfect dish for it. Thanks!

Masa Assassin said...

Hi Dennis... Yeah you have to love the pastel blue color totally 60s.

Hi Micaela... Yes definitely invest in a pressure cooker, the beans come out perfect. Mom says yes she used ajies dulces. My mom and sister are going to Cuba on vacation Tuesday I wish I could go. You will have to share some Puerto Rican Recipes someday :)

Hi Cindi.... hmmmmm chilaquiles.

Hi Sherry... mmmm homemade salt pork let us know how it works out.

KirkK said...

Hey MA - where can you get good salt pork in San Diego? The stuff I've looked at or bought has been of pretty poor...and sometimes scary quality. A great post as always.


I have been to havana about three times and have very good friends there. However the food there is not something I go totally crazy for ,after all ,decades of embargo and a socialist regime is never a good thing when it comes to breaking out quality ingredients and decadent food, but cubans do make the best damn black beans I ever had. Last summer I was invited to a friend´s house in havana where, believe me, they could really cook. I had a delicious plaintiff puree, grilled fish and lobster and the most amazing congri I ever had, they tossed in dried spanish chorizo as a special spicy suprise, absolutley memorable. Maybe you can try that as a substitute for dried pork. Just a thought.

Masa Assassin said...

Hi Kirk, Thanks Iowa Meat Farms has some good salt pork, the one Mom used on this day was plain old John Morrell she bought at the grocery store, sometimes you can find a pretty decent pack.

Hi Guillermo, thanks for sharing your story that’s sounds interesting, we will have to try it with chorizo some day.

Nathan said...

I bumped into your blog looking for some "Birria de Chivo" recipes (to compare my aunts to others and maybe pick up the best from a variety) and much to my pleasant surprise you also cook some cuban food.

Mmmmm your "Congri" looks delicious, this is truely authentic! (this is just like my grandmas "a lo Gallego" just salt and cumin lol. of course me I like I see you did in your photo add bay leaves) I make it EXACTLY the same except I just use green bell peppers.

Now about the "Moros" and "Congri" let me explain the difference.

(1)In my family we call it "Moros" (grandmother is from Spain, and my grandfather is Cuban born from Spaniard parents both settled in Havana) the Cubans I know from Havana especially the Spanish descent ones. When we refer to "Moros" we think of the black beans and rice cooked together (how you did it) the full name of the dish is "Moros y Christianos" (Spanish origin "Moros" refers to the black moors and the christians are the white rice)

(2)When we say Congri we think of red beans cooked with white rice. It comes from the Creole language of the neighboring Haiti (Congo meaning beans and Gris meaning rice combines "Congri")

(3)Over all both delicious, Moros is enjoyed and more common with Western Cubans and the Congri is more common for the people of Eastern provinces and "Oriente"

Nathan said...

I just added your blog to my blog list keep up the good work it's great to see other people of the same culture sharing their love of food and the wonderful Cuisine we have :D

Masa Assassin said...

Thanks for stopping by Nathan, and thanks for the stories on the names. I will be sure to check out your Blog.

Anonymous said...

Dude its all in the pan !!! awesome write up to one of my favorite foods


Byte64 said...

This recipe must be delicious, i know so little of caribbean cuisine, but this one really fascinates me.

I don't promise anything, but i want to try this out as soon as possible!


Amy said...

My mother is Cuban too-- happy to see a good congri recipe up here! Here's my mom's flan recipe... yum. Thank heavens for Cuban cuisine!

Masa Assassin said...

Hi Amy that flan looks great I hope to try it soon.

Anonymous said...

I am not Cuban born (but am Cuban descent). I always thought Congri was with red beans and Moros was with black beans?

Masa Assassin said...

Mom always referred to the dish as congri, maybe a its a regional thing?

Claudia in Chicago said...

Just a quick question, what kind of rice do you do use? A cuban friend of mine only cooks with jasmine rice, and i was wondering if it would work for this recipe.

Anonymous said...

The3 best congri recipe i found on line.I am from oriente and that was the way my mother used to cook the congri andthe way I do it too .La mejor receta de congri es la misma que la mia y uso ajies dulces or cachuchas que no se como se dice en ingles.

Anonymous said...

we have just returned from a few weeks in Puerto Rico where we ate at a Cuban restaurant named Metrepole. Each time we visited we ordered congri with our meals. We would take the leftovers back to our condo and the next morning make scrambled eggs with congri. Since this delicious dish has become an addiction, I am anxious to make it at home

Anonymous said...

My husband is Cuban and I've never managed to make congri that I have really much liked. So I found this recipe and when I told him it was someone's mom's recipe from Santiago de Cuba he said they made the best congris. Turned out great -- although you were right, it didn't need any extra salt.

Anonymous said...

I just made it exactly the way you say n! I guess I am a great cook. Lol when I follow directions.. IR > florida. Thanks for sharing 12/31/2011

Elsa said...

I love how one of your most important ingredients is musica de salsa! great post and thank you!

Benito said...

My girlfriend's mother is Puerto Rican and while she isn't Cuban, there are some similarities. They have made Arroz Moros y cristianos for me a few times. Though, it usually doesn't have the meat and peppers. So maybe that's the difference. Maybe this is a congri recipe and you used black beans instead of red beans like the other comments suggested.

catarina said...

I made this the other day and it was really really delicious. thank you for sharing your recipe.

Anonymous said...

From a PR background and living in South Florida since 1985, this is the most authentic Cuban Morro's (as we PR's call it Congri) of any I have yet to see so far! Thank you for posting and the pictures are SPOT ON!!! I am officially a FAN!

Maria M Triana said...

Hi, my name is Maria. This is an amazing recipe. I love all your recipes so much that I tried this one and added to my blog, but giving the link to here, as the original source, as I always do with everything I publish. Thank you very much for your time and kind consideration and for the excellent recipes you bring to us.

Unknown said...

How is your mom? I regret to say that mine passed away. As did my dad. I agree. Being from Bayamo, my parents only knew it as Congri.

Unknown said...

I just made this recipe. Man, you are on the money!!! I used 8 ounces of Tocino (Salt Pork) and 8 ounces of bacon. It was delcisious!!! I'm only sorry that I didn't try this recipe when my mami was alive. I was born in Bayamo, Cuba...not too far from Santiago. I only remember my parents using the term Congri. Great recipe bro, better than any restaurant I've tried. I think the restaurants go cheap on the pork and other ingredients to cut costs.

Unknown said...

I tried this recipe today. It was on the money!!! Better than any restaurant I've tried. Congratulations!!! I'm only sorry that mami (passed away) didn't get to taste it. She would've loved it. Oh, and I agree. I was born in Bayamo, Cuba...not too far from Santiago. We only called it Congri.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this blog is still active, but just in case, I wanted to explain something to you. First, thanks for posting a delicous recipe for all to enjoy, but, what you are making is not Cuban Congri but rather, Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians.) Congri is the exact same concept but made with red beans instead of black. The name "Congri" is a bastardization of "With Rice" in Frech (Avec Riz, the "Con" part of the word being the spanish for "with".) So there you have a bit of Cuban culinary trivia! Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Being a gringo from Miami, I have always used Congri and Moros interchangeably, but for me there is nothing better than a giant side of congri. I've never had it with peppers that I know of, and it has to be salted pork..If I could die in a pile of food it would be chicharones and congri, no question!