Ingredients for Your Traditional Puerto Rican Meal

What Is That?

There are several ingredients that are essential to Puerto Rican cooking that my be unfamiliar to the average American cook. However, these ingredients aren't hard to find. You pass them each time you walk down the ethnic food and spice aisles at your local grocery store. They are inexpensive and will make your dishes both tasty and colorful.


adobo seasoning

Adobo can refer to either a sauce or a seasoning mixture. The dry seasoning is the principle seasoning ingedient for meat, poultry and fish dishes when it comes to Puerto Rican cooking, as well as many other Caribbean cultures. Adobo is a blend of garlic, oregano and other spices. It is inexpensive and can be found in your grocery store's ethnic foods aisle. Not only is it perfect for pescado con mojo isleno, but it can spice up any meat dish in your favorite recipes as well.


Sazon is a seasining sal commonly used in Latin American cooking. It consists of garlic, salt, achiote and cilantro. It is sold in individual packets in the ethnic aisle of your local grocery store.


In Puerto Rico the term "cubito," when used in cooking, refers to a chicken buillon cube. While this ingredient may be neither unfamiliar nor exotic to the average cook, its Puerto Rican name could be very misleading. "Cubitos" are easily found in every grocery store, and are sold in inexpensive boxes of indivudal packets or "cubes".

Recaito and Sofrito

According to Carmen Aboy Valldejuli's book "Puerto Rican Cookery," sofrito is a combination of ingredients used as flavoring to give a distinctive taste to many native dishes. This combination typically consists of garlic, peppers, tomatoes, onions and herbs in Caribbean or Latin American cookery. Recaito is another combination of vegetables and herbs, similar to sofrito but with a cilantro base. Both are available in the ethnic aisle in a dry form or in the ethnic section of your grocer's freezer.