Sofrito is representative of the Puerto Rican cuisine, culture and heritage. Just like the sofrito, Puerto Rican heritage and culture is a mixture of different ethnic groups; Taíno (native indigenous groups of the island), Spanish and African. Every ingredient brings a different flavor, just like every ethnic group brings a different component. Ultimately, every ingredient plays a big and unique role in the mixture and the end result is just delicious.
Sofrito has gone through many modifications and as a result there are different kinds. Even within Puerto Rican culture there are many different ways of making it. Sofrito has also adapted to time, space and location. Just like many Puerto Ricans, my family migrated to the US in search of better living conditions. In the time that we have been in the US we have had to modify our ways of living and adapt to the life here. Our practices, our food and our way of thinking and speaking have adapted to the life here in the US. Interestingly enough, one of the things that has had to be modify is our sofrito since not all the original ingredients are found here or are as accessible. This doesn’t mean that the quality of our sofrito has suffered, this only means that we have found new ways to make it and even improve it. The importance of this is that just like we didn’t give up our sofrito, we also didn’t give up our cultural practices and identities. Yes we adapted and had to modify certain aspects, but in reality culture is something that is constantly changing. When our culture meets with other cultures it changes inevitably sooner or later. However, just like with the sofrito this only provides space to learn new things about ourselves and to improve our cultural practices and to make an identity for ourselves. We learn from others and others learn from us. That is how this nation has been built and continues to change. After all, this nation is like a cultural sofrito.
- 2 medium green bell peppers or Cubanelle Peppers (seeds removed)
- 2 medium onions (peeled)
- 1 head of garlic (peeled)
- 1 bunch culantro leaves (can use cilantro or recao as a substitute)
- 6 ajies dulces (small sweet chile peppers)
- Chop and blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender.
- Apply a tablespoon of the mixture to your pan as a base before adding and cooking other ingredients.
This paste-like blend of ingredients is used as a base in many Puerto Rican and caribbean dishes such as rice and beans, stews, soups and meats.