How to make Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja

It all started when she went to the US and ate at a Puerto Rican restaurant in a trendy Nashville (Tennessee) area (opposite the TBWA-Chiat Day offices). She was served Ropa Vieja and it was so good that she asked for the recipe.

Unfortunately, the restaurant owner spoke very little English and what she got was bits and pieces of a recipe. Undeterred, and with a 3-day advance notice, she repeated what she remembered to me and asked me to make it for her for a dinner with friends.

Continue Reading…

Posted on 26th May 2013 in Cuban, Mexican, New Rican, Puerto Rican, Recipes, Spanish  |  Comments off

New Rican Cuisine


Saturday evening was spent with friends at a party featuring New Rican food. ‘New Rican’ is a term for Puerto Ricans in New York. It was my first time eating this style ever!

Our generous hosts spent 2 days preparing the food and desserts. Wow.


We started out with the traditional Empanadillas (Stuffed Meat Pies), Camarones al Ajillio (Prawns in Garlic), Tostones (Fried Green Plantains).

The Plantains were very different from the Goreng Pisangs that we are used too. These were dense and not as sweet. If you are not careful, you end up spoiling dinner with these babies.

empanadillas2 appetizers hotsauce

I was told to look out for the Empanadillas. It was great! They look like the Singaporean Curry Puff, but these were packed full of beef. There was salsa, garlic sauce and the scorching Hanbanero hot sauce.


I did not do the Camarones al Ajillio as I don’t eat prawns, but with the garlic and hot sauce dip, everyone was munching on it continously.

Unfortunately, I had to control myself otherwise, there would be no place for the other good stuff.

beans pescadoenescabeche

The Avocado salad was interesting. The vegetables in a very tart dressing was counterpointed by the soothingly smooth avocado. A good palate cleanser especially after all the salsa and hot sauce.

I was told that Puerto Rican parties were a casual walk-in affair where there is plenty of food all day and inevitably someone named José. So, if you see any Puerto Rican party going on, just walk on in and help yourself to the food. If anyone asks, just say you’re a friend of José’s. 😉

pescadoenescabeche2_1 pinon2 assembly

The mains were Pescado en Escabeche (Pickled Fish), Arroz Con Pollo (Rice with Chicken), Pinon (Beef / Plaintain Casserole).

The Pescado en Escabeche was made from red salmon. It was delicately flavoured, not the strong sourish pickled taste you’d expect when you see the name.


And the Arroz Con Pollo was amazingly good. It’s their version of chicken rice. Full of chicken, olives and peas.


What blew me away was the Pinon. Who would have thought that beef, beans and bananas would actually taste so good? It did! The sweetness of the plantains was actually enhanced by the beef. The beef was ground sirloin. Yum!

Before I go on, this is a good time to warn people who are on a diet not to continue.

MrsBudak: This is not for your eyes, scroll down quickly to the pretty cat pictures. However, Budak is entirely welcome to savour the goodness of…

Pernil al Horno. Roasted Pork Shoulders. The kind where pigs hope to become when they grow up. 😛 Thick slices of roast pork. Served with a platter of crackling pork skin. Seriously, this platter was attacked with vim and vigour when served.

pernilalhorno assembly1

I had to defend the sanctity of everyone’s health by stealing it away. The sacrifices I make for my friends… ;-0

Ok. It’s safe to look now. Oh wait. Stop. I tell a lie. What came next was dessert.


Served with a choir of angels singing in the background, the El Flan De Tio Carlos (Uncle Carlos’ Flan), Orange Cake, Mango Cheesecake was exquisite.


What I could not believe was that everyone forgot to bring a sticky (dessert wine). But no worries, we were all seriously distracted by the desserts.

The flan, I’m told is the customary Puerto Rican dessert. In this case, this was a recipe from a cookbook.

The mango cheesecake was sublime. It took 3 tries to get it right according to the legendary Jeremy. I say the result was worth it. Light and fluffy, the cheese and the mango did not overwhelm each other. It was a perfect balance.


We also discovered that if you dribble a bit of Grappa (this was made from apples) over the orange cake, let it soak for a while, a delicate fragrance will emerge and the taste is enhanced. Yay!

Before we continue. Just want to bring your attention to this amazing kitchenware. Isn’t it amazing? This should be put in every office pantry if not the home. Great for getting back at annoying people.


Now for the cats. At the end of the dinner, the cats were allowed out. 5 cats, but only 2 visited us downstairs.


I must say they have really huge cats with lots of personality. Good looking too.

All in all, it was a wonderful Saturday night party. Great food, good wine and wonderful friends. Thanks M and J for the party!

Posted on 18th Oct 2005 in Makankaki, New Rican  |  1 comment


Recent Comments ?hhis is vital a? you would certainl? nnot want a pet dog entrance do?r to open...

Rexic: Would have agreed with you but then I saw Pontian wanton mee with nacho cheese...

ivan: Thanks! I just think it’s a tired argument that doesn’t make sense.

Bugger: Btw, kacang puul looks amazing!

Bugger: Hear! Hear! So called “authenticity” is a great hurdle to emergence of new...

MervC: I like they way they bring out the massive chunk of tuna, and the great knife skills,...

ivan: Yes you are. 🙂

MervC: Look like Hashida Sushi. Am i right?




Cha Xiu Bao

Chubby Hubby

Makansutra Forum

My Inner Fatty

Nibble & Scribble

NYT Diner’s Journal

Only Slightly Pretentious Food

Serious Eats

Tamarind and Thyme

The Girl Who Ate Everything

The Wong List


View Stats