Monday, March 10, 2008

In which Tim cooks...

Within a few days of moving in, I made it clear to my host mother that I was very interested in learning how to cook Dominican food. At first she didn't really believe me (this is a very "macho" culture, with some pretty strict expectations for what men and women choose to take interest in), but after repeated expression of interest by me, she caved. I was told on Tuesday that on Sunday I would be taught to cook. What ensued was a day by day countdown during which more and more people became interested in what would happen on Sunday. Each day it was "three more days until you learn how to cook...", "only two more days...", "Timo, are you really going to learn how to cook tomorrow...?". Grandma Maria was so excited that for the last several days she has been confused about what day it is, thinking that tomorrow was the big day.

The day dawned, and I stepped up to the stove. We cooked a dish called "Lokria" which is really quite tasty. We employed a few techniques that I've not used before. The following is a step by step description of what we did. Feel free to try it out and let me know how it tastes...

1. We took a full chicken, cut it into it's various pieces (legs, thighs, wings, etc.) and cleaned it using freshly squeezed orange juice and a little bit of water.

2. With a mortor and pestle I crushed up a handful of rock salt, about two spoonfulls of oregano, and six full garlic cloves. It came out as a nice pungent smelling paste that we rubbed on the chicken along with some chicken bouillon. We put it in a pot, and added onion (quartered), a green pepper (uncut), and a splash of red wine. We let it sit for about fifteen minutes.

3. We got some oil heated up in a large pan, and put a lump of sugar in to cook (I was told that it would give color to the chicken). When the oil was bubbling nicely we added the chicken/veggie mix, stirred it around a bit, and covered it to cook.

4. When the chicken is almost finished, we added corn, peas, a can of tomato paste, and some full stalks of cilantro, and enough water to make it look like a soup or stew. We let it sit until it came to a boil and tasted it to see that the seasoning was right. At this point, we fished out the cilantro stalks and added a ton of rice.

5. The trick seems to be to make sure you have the exact right rice to water ratio, because when it had cooked up completely it no longer looked like a soup. It was a red colored rice based dish with chicken and veggies in it. Almost like a paella. Absolutely delicious and very easy to make.

It was a very satisfying and filling lunch. The best part was that the many neighbors who had heard about my foray into the culinary arts decided to swing by for a taste. The agreement seemed to be that I was a decent cook, and might just be able to survive when I move to the country side on my own in a few months.


Anonymous said...

i can't ever go to where you live. the smell of cilantro might kill me.

i'm glad you are having fun! glad you pried that person out of your armpit on the bus, and that you survived the countdown to cook.

i love you!!!

Beck said...


Abbsters said...

i was looking at your pics from your first week in the DR and the architecture is a lot like the architecture in honduras, (my dad took me on a CMA trip almost a year ago). i love it!! simple but beautiful!!

Sarah Elizabeth said...

grammie maria's my girl.

Jason said...


Well, this chicken dish sounds rather appetizing and filling, and it would put my limited culinary skills to a stern test. Well done!


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