Sofrito or Recaito is the most important ingredient and the base in our Cuisine. Here I will show you how to make Puerto Rican Sofrito - recaito.
What is Sofrito?
Growing up in Puerto Rico, Sofrito was the base in our Puerto Rican cooking. I remember going to La Plaza del Mercado or the market to buy a whole dollar worth of vegetables, herbs and spices. My mom then would make it and use it in stews, seafood and our famous Lechon/Pernil!
Most people don't know is that Sofrito originated in a 1324 Catalan cookbook called Libre de Sent Sovi. The word Sofregit means lightly fry or sautéed. The Spaniards brought it to the Caribbean and Latin American during Colonization.
Honestly, there's many ways to make Sofrito. In Puerto Rico we call Recaito because of the use of red and green peppers, cilantro, garlic, yellow onions, and culantro (means little cilantro) which gives it the aromatic and distinctive flavor.
Culantro, where can I find it?
Culantro is cilantro baby cousin but with strong flavor. Sometimes I have a hard time finding it because it is sorta a specialty herb. Latin Markets that sell Puerto Rican or Caribbean foods might carry it.
Where I usually I find it is at Hmart, it goes by the name ngò gai. Other names include long coriander, Chinese coriander or as Coolante in Haiti which it's used to make Epis.
Although it is used for culinary purposes it can be used for medical properties like an anti inflammatory or pain reliever.
Let's Make Some Sofrito - Recaito!
Living in the PNW poses some serious challenges when it comes to finding a lot of products, herbs and veggies, etc. Sofrito consists of:
- Lots of Culantro (About 25-30 leaves, the more the merrier!)
- Ajis dulces or sweet peppers. I almost never can find those so I use Cubanelle peppers.
- Red and Green Bell Peppers
- Garlic cloves about 15-20 (We are not going to skimp on garlic!)
- Yellow Onion but White Onion works too!
- Cilantro - I use about a hefty bunch
- Salt + Pepper
Some people use different variations to make Sofrito, in the Dominican Republic vinegar, tomatoes and ham are added.
The How To:
Alright, making this Puerto Rican Sofrito - Recaito at home it is super easy. Lets get to it:
To start wash and pad dry all your herbs and veggies. Next, roughly chop the peppers, onions, and cilantro. Set aside on a bowl. After that, peel the garlic cloves and add to your pile.
Lastly, in a blender or food processor add peppers, cilantro, culantro, onions, garlic, salt + pepper and a ¼ cup of water(only at the beginning). I do this in batches to make sure everything ends up pureed and there aren't any big chunks.
In the end, it should look like the picture above. It is ready to store.
Pro Tips to Store:
- I always filled a big mason jar to use right away. Then store the rest as follows:
- Use ice cube trays and spoon Sofrito.
- Sit filled trays in the counter for 10 mins.
- Place in the freezer and Freeze overnight.
- Remove from trays.
- Place cubes in a resealable bag or a bowl with lid and store in the freezer.
- Sofrito will last in the freezer up to 6 months. I always end up making more after 2 months since I cook a lot.
- If you can't find Ajis dulces or cubanelles, Anaheim peppers are a great substitution. They are mild.
- Parsley can be added if you prefer.
- Some people add Olive oil instead of water.
- Sauté Sofrito in bacon fat or olive oil and add Adobo and it will your base for rice or soups.
- It is great for in marinades, stews, and rice. I use it in My Mojo recipe.
Have you tried making Sofrito? What is your favorite food to use it with? Let me know in the comments!!!
How To Make Puerto Rican Sofrito - Recaito
- Cutting Board + Knife
- Large Bowl
- Measuring Cups + Spoons
- Mason Jar
- Ice cube trays
- Blender or Food Processor
- 2 Red Pepper
- 3 Green Bell Peppers
- 4 Anaheim or Cubanelle Pepepers Usually 10-15 Aji Dulces would be used.
- 1 White Onion
- 20-25 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Cilantro Bush
- 25 Culantro Leaves
- 1 tsp Salt + Pepper
- ¼ cup Water
- Wash and pat dry your vegetables and herbs.
- Cut the red, green, ahaheim peppers and onion in chunks. Place them in a bowl.
- In a blender or Food Processor place about a cup of the chopped onions, peppers, garlic, handful of cilantro sprigs, about 5 leaves of culantro, salt, pepper and water. (You will only add the water at the beginning).
- Pulse until its a pureed. REPEAT in batches with the rest of the onions, peppers, garlic, cilantro and culantro.
- Spoon into ince cube trays and let is rest for about 10 minutes in the counter.
- FREEZE OVERNIGHT.
- Remove the sofrito recaito cubes and store them in a large zip lock bag or a large bowl with a lid. Keep in the freezer.
- Use 1 or 2 cubes when cooking rice, stews, soups. You can use in marinades too! Just thaw a few cubes for 30 seconds twice in the microwave.
- Side Note: I also fill a small mason jar with fresh sofrito to use inmediately then spoon the rest in the ice cube trays.
Tag me on Instagram @hungrytravelingmama #hungrytravelingmama. Would love to see what you make!!