A dish with four components: rice, fried egg, fried saba bananas and a ground beef hash. It’s comfort food for my generation.
Why this dish is called arroz a la Cubana in the Philippines has not been documented clearly. But, as food for thought, I am reproducing here a comment from reader and fellow food blogger, Nathan, posted when I published my earliest recipe for this dish.
Hello, I just wanted to share some info I know about this dish.
“Arroz a la Cubana” would translate to “Rice Cuban Style”In Spain
“Arroz a la Cubana” is consumed with fried eggs, over rice, served with a tomato sauce and fried plantains. (my grandmother is Spaniard and lived in Cuba many years up until 1960’s and my grandfather is Cuban born of Spaniard grandparents since most Cubans of pre-castro before 1960’s had Spaniard parentage or grandparents, etc. until most of the population fled due to revolution)
In Cuba or “Cuban culture” and food, we don’t even call it “Arroz a la Cubana” it’s just “Huevo Frito Con Arroz” (translates to “Fried Egg with Rice”) , very simple just fried egg over rice and some salt, then break and mix, it can be eaten alone or with fried plantains or even fried sliced potatoes (cut in cubes or like french fries)
For a heartier meal, we make a Cuban ground beef hash, serve it over rice with 2 fried eggs on top and a side of plantains this is called “a caballo”
P.S. I think it’s interesting and cool how different cultures interpret or adapt different dishes 🙂
Based on that, it appears that Filipino arroz a la Cubana more closely resembles the Cuban “a caballo”.
Arroz a la Cubana
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 500 grams ground beef
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion
- 2 pinches dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 medium potato peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
- 1 medium carrot peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
- ¼ to ½ cup sweet peas thawed if frozen
- cooking oil for frying
- 4 to 6 saba bananas
- 4 eggs
- rice to serve
Cook the ground beef hash
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan with a thick bottom.
- Spread the ground beef on the entire bottom of the pan and cook without disturbing until browned underneath. Stir to break up lumps and continue cooking until evenly browned.
- Add the minced garlic, chopped onion and oregano. Continue cooking, with occasional stirring, until the onion bits soften.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes and bring to a gently boil.
- Add a teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper.
- Stir in the potato and carrot cubes, and peas.
- Cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer the meat and vegetables for 20 to 30 minutes or until the mixture is almost dry and the vegetables are cooked through. Taste occasionally and adjust the seasonings, as needed.
Fry the eggs and saba bananas
- While the ground beef hash cooks, in another frying pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least an inch.
- Peel the saba bananas and cut each vertically into halves.
- Fry the saba banana halves on both sides in hot oil until browned. Scoop out and set aside.
- In the remaining oil, fry the eggs sunny side up with runny yolks.
Assemble your arroz a la Cubana
- Ladle hot rice on a plate and top with an egg.
- Arrange fried saba bananas and ground beef hash on the side.