Traditional Dominican Republic Food
Aunt Clara’s Dominican Cooking, besides being a collection of recipes of the Dominican Republic, source of information about our cuisine, dishes, ingredients, and history is also thought as a help for those who want to learn about the Dominican culinary culture. Dominican cuisine is easy and spontaneous.
As in any other part of the world, recipes are passed down from generation to generation in the kitchen of our Grandmas, Aunties and Moms. Because the recipes are not always written down, we learn how to cook our vernacular dishes, yet we could hardly tell how much of “this” or what proportion of “that” is needed.
Origin and History of Dominican cooking
Dominican cuisine is the result of crossroads of many continents and many countries. Before the Spaniards arrived on the island of Hispaniola in 1492, the Taino Indians (native Hispaniolans) maintained a diet that reflected the resources found in their natural habitat, as well as their technological limitations. Fortunately, many of these dishes and ingredients have survived and today are an important part of the rich Dominican culinary culture.
With the arrival of the Spaniards, many new species of animals, vegetables, fruits and grains found their way to Hispaniola. The Spaniards also introduced many foods typical of the Mediterranean cuisine and others that had been passed down to the Spaniards by the Arabs during their 700-year domination of the Iberian peninsula.
The introduction of African slaves in 1503 presented yet another new (and important) gastronomical imprint on Hispaniola. It is worth noting that the African influence is almost as strong as the Spanish influence in the Dominican culture – and the cuisine is no exception.
Dominican fare is very similar to that found in other Latin American countries, especially Cuba and Puerto Rico – the only two other Spanish-speaking countries in the Caribbean. Some of the dishes are almost identical and only the names change.
Other countries and influences have found their way into our kitchens also. Pasta is a fundamental part of Dominican cooking; spaghetti was once called “the meat of the poor”. Exotic ingredients, like salted codfish and salted smoked herrings are commonly found in our kitchens.
How to cook Dominican dishes
Dominican cuisine is simple and its preparation doesn’t require, in most cases, that you do anything in advance. Some of the vernacular techniques are very common for Dominicans, but for the inexperienced cook and the ones being introduced to Dominican cuisine we are giving you a few tips.
We have tried here to keep it as simple as Auntie, Grandma or Mom would. Our recipes give you general instructions, but you must rely on your taste, intuition and common sense to make it a successful experience.
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Dominican Spice: Photographic glossary of Dominican herbs and spices: Photographic glossary of Dominican herbs and spices (Dominican traditional cooking Book 5)
eBooks (Createspace & Arturo Féliz-Camilo books)