Puerto Rican Cuajito Recipe

Puerto Rican Cuajito is a traditional soup that is rich in flavors and often enjoyed as a hearty and comforting meal.

Recently, I was scrolling through TikTok, looking for something tasty to try. Then, I stumbled upon a video featuring a dish called Puerto Rican Cuajito. It looked so delicious that I had to give it a go!

After watching the video a few times, I gathered all the ingredients and got cooking. The smells wafting from the pot were amazing, and I couldn’t wait to taste it.

When the Cuajito was ready, I took a big spoonful, and wow, it was amazing! The flavors were so rich and comforting.

I knew right away that I had to share this tasty recipe with you. I think you’ll love it just as much as I do! So, get ready for a delicious treat coming your way soon!

Here is the TikTok video That I got Inspired by this Puerto Rican Cuajito recipe

Cuajito Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pork belly, diced
  • 1 lb pork ears, cleaned and diced
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup pigeon peas (gandules), canned or cooked
  • 1 green plantain, peeled and sliced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 yam, peeled and diced
  • 1 green banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup taro root, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup malanga, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup calabaza (West Indian pumpkin), peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon annatto oil (achiote oil)
  • 8 cups water or chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make Puerto Rican Cuajito

Step1:

In a large pot, heat the annatto oil over medium heat. Add the pork belly and pork ears, and brown them until golden.

Step2:

Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and minced garlic to the pot. Sauté until the vegetables are softened.

Step3:

Pour in the water or chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Step4:

Add the rice, pigeon peas, plantain, sweet potato, yam, green banana, taro root, malanga, and calabaza to the pot. Stir well to combine.

Step4:

Continue simmering the soup over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice and root vegetables are tender. This may take about 25-30 minutes.

Step5:

Season the Cuajito with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Just before serving, stir in the chopped cilantro for a burst of fresh flavor.

Serve:

Ladle the Cuajito into bowls and serve hot. Enjoy the rich and savory goodness of this traditional Puerto Rican soup!

Feel free to customize the recipe by adding other root vegetables or meats according to your preferences.

Additional tips for making the perfect Puerto Rican Cuajito

These additional tips will help you take your Puerto Rican Cuajito to the next level, ensuring a delicious and satisfying culinary experience every time!

  • Preparation Tip: To save time, consider using pre-cooked or canned pigeon peas (gandules) instead of cooking them from scratch. This will help streamline the cooking process without compromising on flavor.
  • Flavor Enhancement Tip: For an extra depth of flavor, consider adding a few pieces of smoked ham hock or bacon to the soup while it simmers. The smoky essence will infuse the Cuajito with a deliciously savory taste.
  • Texture Tip: To achieve the perfect balance of textures, make sure to cut the root vegetables into uniform-sized pieces. This will ensure that they cook evenly and result in a cohesive and satisfying texture in the finished soup.
  • Garnish Tip: Before serving, sprinkle a handful of chopped fresh cilantro over each bowl of Cuajito. Not only does cilantro add a burst of color, but it also lends a refreshing herbal aroma that complements the rich flavors of the soup beautifully.

Serving Suggestions:

Pair with Puerto Rican Rice: Serve the Cuajito alongside a serving of traditional Puerto Rican rice, such as arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), for a complete and satisfying meal. The rice absorbs the flavorful broth and enhances the overall dining experience.

Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Serve the Cuajito in individual bowls and garnish each serving with a sprinkle of fresh chopped cilantro or parsley. The vibrant green herbs add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.

Accompany with Avocado Slices: Serve slices of ripe avocado on the side of each bowl of Cuajito. The creamy texture of the avocado complements the hearty soup and adds a luxurious touch to each bite.

Add a Squeeze of Lime: Before serving, squeeze a wedge of lime over each bowl of Cuajito. The tangy acidity of the lime juice brightens up the flavors of the soup and enhances its overall taste.

Serve with Crusty Bread: Offer slices of crusty bread or toasted baguette on the side of the Cuajito. The bread is perfect for soaking up the flavorful broth and makes for a satisfying accompaniment to the hearty soup.

Variations of Puerto Rican Cuajito to try:

Seafood Cuajito: Add shrimp, crab meat, or chunks of fish to the soup for a delicious seafood twist. Garnish with chopped parsley for a fresh finish.

Vegetarian Cuajito: Skip the meat and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Load up on a variety of vegetables like carrots, zucchini, and corn for a hearty and nutritious vegetarian version.

Coconut Cuajito: Infuse the soup with tropical flavors by adding coconut milk to the broth. The creamy coconut adds richness and depth to the dish, while a squeeze of lime juice adds a refreshing tang.

Spicy Cuajito: Kick up the heat by adding a chopped jalapeño or serrano pepper to the soup. For an extra spicy kick, stir in a spoonful of hot sauce or diced spicy peppers.

Bean Cuajito: Swap out the rice for beans like black beans or kidney beans for a protein-packed variation. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt for added creaminess.

Root Vegetable Cuajito: Focus on root vegetables like sweet potatoes, yams, and turnips for a comforting and hearty Cuajito. Add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg for warmth and depth of flavor.

These different kinds of Cuajito have lots of different flavors and ingredients. You can try them out to find the one you like best!

How To Store

To store Puerto Rican Cuajito, let it cool down to room temperature first. Then, transfer it into an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. When you’re ready to eat it again, simply reheat it on the stove or in the microwave until heated through. If you want to keep it for longer, you can freeze it in a freezer-safe container for up to 2-3 months. Just thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Conclusion

Puerto Rican Cuajito is a delicious and hearty soup that offers a rich blend of flavors and textures. With its combination of tender pork, hearty root vegetables, and fragrant spices, it’s a comforting dish that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or experiment with different variations, Cuajito is sure to delight your taste buds and warm your soul. So gather your ingredients, get cooking, and enjoy a taste of Puerto Rican comfort food!

FAQ

What is Cuajito?

  • Cuajito is a traditional Puerto Rican soup made with pork, root vegetables, rice, and aromatic spices. It’s known for its rich flavor and hearty texture.

What are some common root vegetables used in Cuajito?

  • Common root vegetables used in Cuajito include green plantains, sweet potatoes, yams, green bananas, taro root, malanga, and calabaza (West Indian pumpkin).

How is Cuajito typically seasoned?

  • Cuajito is seasoned with ingredients like onions, bell peppers, garlic, and annatto oil (achiote oil), which give it a savory and aromatic flavor profile.

Can I make Cuajito in a slow cooker or Instant Pot?

  • Yes, Cuajito can be made in a slow cooker or Instant Pot for added convenience. Simply follow the same steps of sautéing the ingredients before adding them to the pot and adjusting the cooking times accordingly.

Is Cuajito gluten-free?

  • Yes, Cuajito is naturally gluten-free as it doesn’t contain any wheat-based ingredients. However, it’s always important to check the labels of any pre-packaged ingredients for potential gluten content.

Can I use different types of meat in Cuajito?

  • Yes, you can customize Cuajito by using different types of meat such as chicken, beef, or sausage according to your preference.

Can I make Cuajito vegetarian or vegan?

  • Absolutely! You can omit the meat and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make a delicious vegetarian or vegan version of Cuajito.

Puerto Rican Cuajito recipe

Recipe by Wasian CookeryCourse: Main, StewCuisine: Puerto RicanDifficulty: Medium
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 
Total time

1

hour 

20

minutes

Puerto Rican Cuajito is a traditional soup that is rich in flavors and often enjoyed as a hearty and comforting meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork belly, diced

  • 1 lb pork ears, cleaned and diced

  • 1 cup rice

  • 1 cup pigeon peas (gandules), canned or cooked

  • 1 green plantain, peeled and sliced

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

  • 1 yam, peeled and diced

  • 1 green banana, peeled and sliced

  • 1 cup taro root, peeled and diced

  • 1 cup malanga, peeled and diced

  • 1 cup calabaza (West Indian pumpkin), peeled and diced

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon annatto oil (achiote oil)

  • 8 cups water or chicken broth

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • In a large pot, heat the annatto oil over medium heat. Add the pork belly and pork ears, and brown them until golden.
  • Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and minced garlic to the pot. Sauté until the vegetables are softened.
  • Pour in the water or chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Add the rice, pigeon peas, plantain, sweet potato, yam, green banana, taro root, malanga, and calabaza to the pot. Stir well to combine.
  • Continue simmering the soup over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice and root vegetables are tender. This may take about 25-30 minutes.
  • Season the Cuajito with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  • Just before serving, stir in the chopped cilantro for a burst of fresh flavor.
  • Ladle the Cuajito into bowls and serve hot. Enjoy the rich and savory goodness of this traditional Puerto Rican soup!
Share This