Not a Day Without Rice

The most popular staple in the Dominican Republic.
November 3, 2016 - Dominican Republic

Yudy hard at work on chopping cilantro

A day without rice is an incomplete day. This is expressed by the majority of Dominicans, and our children are no exception. Our young children love rice, especially with stewed meat. “La Bandera” is a plate that contains, in addition to rice and meat, beans and green salad, to give it more nutritious value. “La Bandera” has this name in reference to the color of the flag of our country, white referring to rice, red referring to the beans and blue to the meat. Three times a week it is the lunch of our more than 200 children and collaborators.

For the green salad in our home, we plant cucumbers. Our ground produces more than 400 pounds of cucumber each month, which are used for lunch every day in the home. The cucumber is cut and brought to our kitchen. Once in the kitchen our team washes it, cuts it in slices and seasons it with vinaigrette (vinegar, salt, oil, and onion) to form part of the Bandera.

What does it feel like to cook for the children?

“It is a great challenge to satisfy our hungry children. Many approach the window, sometimes to ask, what do we have for food today? Other times they say ‘the food was delicious’ and ‘thank you’. To know that our children enjoy the food makes us feel good,” expresses the kitchen team.

The cooks with more experience say that in addition to teaching those in their year of service how to cook in large amounts, it also teaches them responsibility, discipline, and teamwork. To see them learning and committed to the job is something that fills them with satisfaction.

Dario tells us that since he was 11 years old he has been interested in cooking, and he is grateful to one of his aunts from childhood, who taught him to cook basic things. Since then he has discovered his passion for cooking. Dario, with eight other people makes up the team that carries on their shoulders the responsibility of feeding all the NPH-DR family. He is carrying out his year of service in the kitchen and the bakery from 8 am to 4 pm Monday through Saturday. Once he finishes his year of service he has plans to study Tourism Business Administration and concentrating on the area of Food and Beverage.

Recipe of “La Bandera” for 4 personas (ingredients and preparation):


2 pound of beef, cut in pieces 2 lemons cut in half 2 green peppers 1 small red onion cut in slices 2 Barceló tomatoes cut in four quarters 2 tablespoons of oil 2 tablespoons of tomato paste ½ teaspoon of crushed garlic ½ teaspoon of sugar salt

Season the meat with pepper, salt, and oregano. Add onions and peppers. Marinate for 1 hour. In a cauldron, heat up the oil and add the meat. Fry lightly over a low heat until the meat is golden. Add spoonfuls of water regularly to prevent it from burning. When the meat is tender, boil the water. Add the remaining ingredients (onion and peppers) and fry. Add more or less water so that there is enough salsa.

Stewed Beans

2 cups of red boiled beans 4 cups of water 1 small red onion cut in 4 quarters 2 ounces of ahuyama 1 square packet of chicken broth (1 Dona Gallina) 1 teaspoon of chopped parsley 1 teaspoon of chopped cilantro 2 tablespoons of fried tomato 1 tablespoon of oil ½ teaspoon of mashed garlic 1 pinch of oregano Salt

Heat 4 tablespoons of oil. Add oregano, onion, fried tomato, celery, the garlic and the herbs. Stir and add 2 tablespoons of water. When the water almost has evaporated, add the chicken broth (Dona Gallina). Then add the beans and three cups of water. Stir regularly until it reaches a creamy consistency. Finally, add salt to the taste.

White Rice:

4 cups of long grained rice 6 cups of water 5 tablespoons of oil 1 teaspoon of salt

Add water in a frying plan along with 3 tablespoons of oil and salt. Let the water come to a boiling point and add the rice. When the water has evaporated, turn down the heat and cook on low heat for 20 minutes while covered with a top or aluminum foil. After this time the rice should be fluffy. Maintain on low heat for more time if it still has water.

Daniela Candelario   
Communication Officer




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