It doesn't get more Salvadoran than this dish right here! Arroz curtido, also called "purple rice", refers to a rice that has been cooked in water used to cook red beans. Not just any red beans are used. Only "frijoles rojo Salvadorenos", or small, red Salvadoran beans, are used for this dish. After cooking the beans for hours, you use the left over water to cook the rice. Because the watery-soup used to cook the beans is so flavorful and contains lots of iron, people often stew meat in this water as well. The beans are added to the rice and eaten by themselves as well. The water itself turns very red from the iron in the beans and when you cook white rice in this reddish liquid, the rice takes on a purple-ish hue, hence the name, "purple rice" or "dirty rice" which is what arroz curtido means.
Not only is this dish delicious, its also extremely healthy and chock full of the vitamin iron. I like to eat this rice with lime juice and crema, which is Salvadoran -style sour cream. My husband loves to cover his purple rice with hot sauce. This dish goes great both by itself and with other food, especially tortillas!
-1/2 pack of "Frijoles Rojo" by Tropico.
-1 package of stew meat
-1 cup of rice, not cooked yet
-Lots and lots of water
-1 tbsp. black pepper
-Salt to taste
- Pour half pack of beans into a pot full of water
- Turn heat to high and add spices and salt
- Cover pot if you can to allow for faster boiling
- Continue to cook beans about 2.5-3.5 hours, adding in new water as needed.
- At about the 1.5 hour mark, add the stew meat.
- Once beans are soft enough to eat, divide mixture into half, pouring soup and beans into two pots.
- Start cooking the rice by sauteing the dry rice in some oil until toasted.
- Then pour the liquid from one of the pots into rice pan. If you need more liquid to cook the rice in, just take some from the other pot. Try to prevent all the beans in the pot from falling out with the liquid - you only want about 1 cup of beans in the rice.
- Reserve the other pot of liquid to keep the rest of the beans and stew meat in.
- Continue to cook rice as normal until its well cooked. The rice should look reddish/purple in color when you are finished.