Sofrito is ubiquitous in Caribbean cooking. One could safely say that Puerto Rican cuisine would be wanting without it. It is an aromatic mix of herbs and spices that is a base for cooking countless criollo dishes. This concept can be found in other cultures as well. One example is the Indian mix called garam masala which is also used as a base flavoring. Or kimchi, the fermented cabbage condiment, so popular in Korean cooking. The word sofrito is a generic term that has no correct English translation. “Frito” in Spanish means fried. Sofrito could be taken to mean stir-fried. Although this would not be entirely accurate. As the recipe shows, sofrito can be whipped up in a few moments’ time in a blender or food processor. And it can be stored in a closed tight jar the refrigerator for three to four days or, in the freezer compartment, indefinitely.



¼ cup tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

¼ pound aji dulce (small, sweet chili peppers found in Asian or Latino markets)

3 tablespoons recao, chopped (can substitute parsley)



Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until it has a smooth, sauce-like consistency, adding 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or olive oil) while pureeing. This will yield about 1 1/3 cups of sofrito. Store in a tight jar in the refrigerator. I prefer to place the sofrito in an ice tray. That way, I can use one cube or more as needed rather than have to scoop it out of the jar with a spoon.



Spanish Rice


2 cups rice

Water to cover

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons sofrito

2 tablespoons tomato paste (or ½ cup tomato sauce

Salt to taste



  1. Wash rice under cold running water and drain to rid it of starch.
  2. In a heavy kettle or pot (I prefer cast iron), heat olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add sofrito and tomato paste and sauté for about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Stir in rice so that it attains a uniform color. Add water to cover rice by ¼ to ½ inch. Add salt and bring to a boil.
  5. Cover and simmer on low heat until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand about 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 4 servings or more



Cooking with Oswald Rivera

Making Sofrito, for Puerto Rican Cuisine in America, and Also how to make Spanish Rice as well as Puerto Rican Rice.

One of the ingredients : Recao ,.. it is hard to find sometimes !

Caribbean cooking, Latin cooking, Holiday foods, Puerto Rican cooking,

Available in my book:

Oswald Rivera’s Blog is a wonderful place to get new food ideas and recipes.