Photo sourced from Flickr
Dayli Hidalgo came to Canada from Cuba. One of the most dramatic changes Dayli faced was the drastic difference in weather, Cuba being very hot and Canada much cooler. Another big difference was the sheer size of Canada and our forests. She remembers thinking, “Everything is so green.” Now if these were not enough to deal with, Dayli had another challenge: language. Dayli had to overcome the language barrier. Not ever having studied English, Dayli found it hard to understand anything. She has only been living in Canada for 7 months and has been taking English courses at the Cowichan Intercultural Society with Marina. Dayli finds Marina an excellent teacher and has learned a lot from her. Marina must be a great teacher and Dayli a great student, because Dayli now works at the Cowichan Intercultural Society. Dayli has big plans for herself. “I just want to grow here in Canada”, she explains. And by the sounds of it, Dayli will meet her goals.
Dayli shares with us her Congri Rice recipe. Although this dish is enjoyed throughout the year, traditionally in Cuba you would enjoy this dish on the 31st of December to ring in the new year. Every person has their own way of making this dish; you can substitute things and make it to your own preference. Dayli learned to cook from her mother and when she prepares this meal the smells remind her of her home country and her family. Dayli believes you have to put a little love into preparing a meal; you need to enjoy what you are doing.
½ cup of black beans (soak overnight)
6 cups of water (add more if needed)
2 cups of white rice (jasmine)-no need to wash the rice
½ cup of diced ham
4 cloves of garlic (diced)
½ medium white onion diced
1 green pepper chopped
1 green onion diced
A bunch of cilantro
½ teaspoon of cumin
½ teaspoon of oregano
1 small bay leave
Salt to taste
1 teaspoonful of dry wine or vinegar
In a pressure cooker, put the black beans, water and a half green pepper for 20 minutes, then remove pressure because the grains cannot be too soft. If you do not have a pressure cooker you can boil the beans with its water and the half green pepper in a pot until they get tender. Separate the grains and liquid using a colander. In the same cooker or pot heat the oil and add the ham when it begins to get light brown, add the onions, garlic, half green pepper and cumin. When everything is like a stir-fry and smelling good, add the rice and stir all together.
Then add 2 ½ cups of beans broth,( add water if needed to complete ), 1 cup of drained bean-grains, vinegar, oregano, bay leaf cilantro and salt to taste.
Mix everything together. When it begins to get dry, close the pressure cooker and cook for 10 minutes; if you are using a pot cook as a normal rice on low to medium heat.
When it is ready in a separate saucepan put 2 garlic cloves (diced), oil and cumin and fried for a bit until light golden, pour it into the rice and stir (this is optional and more taste can be obtained).
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