Garbanzo Frito


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.

ingredients peppers

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.

chopped-veggies horizontal-rotein

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!

   horizontal-frito egg-yolk-on-frito

Garbanzo Frito

 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.

horizontal-drained-garbanzo Remove-chroizo-casing

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.

add-garlic add-protein add-garbanzos

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.

mix-well add-the-tomato-sauce2

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.

garbanzo-frito breakfast-is-served

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.

vertical-dish toasty-garbanzos

Abuela’s Tocino de Cielo

Slice of Heaven, Tocino De Cielo Handwritten Recipe

Tocino de Cielo was my abuelo’s favorite Cuban dessert. The sweet yellow custard is heavy on the yolk and rich decadence in each sugary bite. My abuelo loved sweets and was notorious for drinking insanely sweet coffee and adding sugar to batidos or milk shakes. Tocino de cielo is like flan’s distant cousin. Flan is very very easy to make, but tocino de cielo requires a little more timing and gentle handling.

 Sugar and Lemon Room Temp Eggs Simple Syrup

This recipe is my abuela’s, and it is the very best tocino de cielo recipe on the planet. The name translates roughly to bacon of the heavens or sky, a name which alludes to its sweet greatness. My abuelo loved when she would make it for him, and my mom would always make it for him as a treat. I tried to make it once from a random website as a surprise for my mom, and the recipe was god-awful- I mean seriously terrible and nothing like the delicacy I knew. Thankfully my mom supplied me with abuela’s handwritten recipe- the secret to perfect Cuban tocino de cielo.

       Pour Strained eggs into Flanera      Poured into the Flanera

I imagine tocio de cielo being served in tiny portions during a 9-course meal, with each dish more decadent than the last. This dessert is incredibly rich, so smaller portions are advised. Your sweet tooth will be satisfied with a small amount of this traditional Cuban dessert. The bright yellow dense custard of this classic Cuban sweet is perfectly golden on top and swims in a caramel sauce. Although flan is my preferred dessert, tocino de cielo will always make me think of my abuelo and how much I miss him.

Tocio de Cielo Perfect Tocino

Abuela’s Tocino de Cielo (tocinillo de cielo)

1 ½ cups sugar

¾ cup water

4 drops lemon (I interpreted this as a lemon twist)

3 whole eggs and 6 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla

Boil water, sugar, and lemon twist until it thickens and is reduced to 1 cup. You MUST constantly stir this mixture. I repeat CONSTANTLY stir. My initial attempt at making this thick syrup failed terribly. I made hard butterscotch candy…hahaha seriously…it was rock hard. Trust me, stir the syrup constantly, this takes around 7-10 minutes. I recommend putting the temperature to around 6-7 on the burner dial. The syrup can quickly burn! Pour the contents into a cup measure, if it is slightly over that is fine, it’s better to just go with that than cook the syrup for longer and risk overcooking it. Allow the syrup to cool.

        Sugar and Lemon Twist      Eggs and Cooled Syrup

In the meantime heat 1/2-3/4 sugar in the Cuban flanera (flan mold) on low heat. This will create the golden amber caramel that pools on top of the tocino de cielo.

        Caramel Bubbles      Stir the sugar so it wont burn

In this original recipe my abuela had written ½ cup yolks and ½ cup eggs, we have translated this to mean 6 egg yolks and 3 eggs. Beat yolks and eggs just until they are juuuuuust mixed. Add the cooled simple syrup and the vanilla. Strain through a colander (this step is important otherwise there are ‘tough’ parts in the custard) and pour into a flanera. Bake at 350F for 1.5 hours en un baño de María (or a water bath). Hint: put the baking pan on the oven shelf and THEN add the water to the pan.

       Hot Tocino       Baked Tocino de Cielo

Once finished baking in the oven, allow the custard to cool on the stove-top before placing in the refrigerator overnight. Before serving run a knife along the edge of the custard. You can garnish the tocino de cielo with the candied lemon peel used in the simple syrup, with fresh raspberries, or spun sugar.  Place a plate on top and invert the tocino de cielo in all its golden glory.

*Knock gently on the back of the flanera to release the Cuban dessert from the mold if it doesn’t come out immediately.