Garbanzo frito is delicious Cuban hash served as a side, over white rice, or for breakfast with fried eggs on top. As a die-hard fan of breakfast, I prefer to eat my garbanzo frito with fried eggs on top with a steaming up of café con leche. This is my abuela’s recipe and my abuelo loved his garbanzo frito. This is one of the many recipes I made with my abuela on the weekends at her house on Biscayne Boulevard.
I miss my abuelos deeply, and it makes me really happy to make my abuela’s recipes while listening to the Buena Vista Social Club station on Pandora. Classics like “Candela”, “El Cuarto de Tula”, “Chan Chan”, and “Vamanos Pa’l Monte” come on the station making me nostalgic as I dance in the kitchen chopping up veggies for the garbanzo frito.
The base of this recipe is a Cuban sofrito (I like to say this is the Cuban mire poix). Sofrito is a sauté of green and red bell peppers with onion, garlic, and a little tomato sauce. This is a basis for lots of Cuban recipes besides garbanzo frito like fricassee de pollo and black beans. Garbanzo frito is a homey delicious hash that is my kinda soul food. Other versions are much saucier with considerably more tomato sauce or lots of oil. My abuela’s recipe for garbanzo frito is just right and a wonderful Cuban classic to have in your arsenal!
2-3 tbs olive oil
1 med onion diced
1 med green pepper diced
1 small red pepper diced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 chorizo links, casing removed, and diced
1 cup ham diced
4 ounces no-salt added tomato sauce (optional)
2 cans garbanzo beans (or 1 large can)
The first thing you should do is rinse and drain the garbanzo beans so they can dry. You don’t want to add wet garbanzo beans to the pan which would cause the whole recipe to steam instead of sauté. Set the garbanzos aside and chop your sofrito base of red and green bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Smash the garlic with the flat side of your knife to easily pop the cloves out of their peel.
Prepping and doing your chopping in advance is best to make this recipe go by quickly. Heat oil in pan on medium heat and add the onions and peppers. Cook till onions are translucent and a bit golden. I allowed the sofrito to cook for 10 minutes or so before adding the garlic. I like to make a little space between the veggies for the garlic and allow it to cook for 1-2 minutes before mixing in. The kitchen will start to smell like a Cuban household filled with the aroma of sofrito in the air.
While these are cooking you should peel the 2 chorizo links and dice. I bought pre-diced ham to save a step. Do NOT buy smoked ham; it will totally alter the flavor of the dish. Add the chorizo and ham, stir well and let cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the drained garbanzo beans. Let this cook for 8-10 minutes so the garbanzo beans can brown and mix nicely with the other ingredients.
I might’ve let this go a little longer, stirring every few minutes to get all of the garbanzos a little browned. When nearly done add 4 ounces of tomato sauce (this step is optional, some prefer no sauce while others make this with lots of sauce). I used no-salt added tomato sauce since the ham and chorizo are naturally salty. Do not add any salt or pepper to this recipe, it doesn’t need it and you will risk over salting the dish.
Mix well and allow to cook and brown a little, mixing every couple of minutes. Cook around 5 more minutes until everything the garbanzo frito deliciously blended and it starts sticking a bit to the bottom of the pan. Throughout the whole cooking process I had the burner between on half way at ‘5’. Serve the garbanzo frito over white rice, as a side dish, or with a fried egg on top for breakfast.