Wednesday, June 6, 2012

You can't cook Puerto Rican without Sofrito!

Having been married to Carlos for more than 35 years I have learned to cook mostly Puerto Rican style. The basis of almost all Puerto Rican dishes is sofrito. Sofrito is a versatile and aromatic mixture of herbs and vegetables used as the foundation for many Puerto Rican and Caribbean dishes. The commercial jarred or frozen sofrito are not very tasty so I make my own.
It’s easy to make and can be used in many recipes. It keeps well when you freeze it. I use it in beans as well as soup and stews. It makes my shredded pork, chicken or beef very tasty.

Puerto Rican Sofrito

3 bunches of cilantro
1 package of culantro (if available, also known as chaden beni)
2 large onions
2 green bell peppers
olive oil
black pepper to taste
Diced garlic

In a food processor put in 1 and ½ of the cilantro bunch and ½ of the culantro package. Add about ½ cup olive oil, 1 green pepper cut in strips and one large onion cut in pieces. Add about 3 heaping tablespoons of garlic and ½ tsp of black pepper. Turn on food processor and let mix until it is a thick liquid. If it is not blending well try adding more olive oil. This should be a rich green paste. I spoon my mixture into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. Repeat the process for the second batch. The next day I put in freezer bags, label and date it. For a typical pot of beans I use 3 cubes, for arroz con pollo I use 4-5 cubes.


  1. My mother in law used to make this, but sadly I'm resorting to Goya these days. It's better than nothing. Culantro is hard to find, even in my diverse city. I hope Merida stocks it. It culantro used in Mexican cooking?

    1. Culantro can be used in cooking in place of cilantro. It is a much stronger flavor so you do need to use less!I did not see either sofrito or sazon in any of the Merida markets/supermarkets, so plan accordingly. Someday when we are in Merida at the same time we can make it together as all the basic ingredients to make it are available!

  2. Pat, can you get culantro in Merida?

    1. Culantro as well as cilantro is used in many mexican dishes too. I will check when I am in Merida in August and let you know if I find it. In December I will need to make some sofrito as we will be there more than a month and we will need to find all the ingredients!