How to Make Rice & Gandules Perfectly, Every Time

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Use a long-grain white rice in your rice and gandules.
Use a long-grain white rice in your rice and gandules. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Rice and gandules, arroz y gandules, rice and pigeon peas -- however you say it, this is how to make it! This fragrant dish is a staple of Puerto Rican cuisine and like many other tomato-based dishes, probably tastes better the day after it's made.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 3 cups hot water
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 packet of sazon
  • 1/2 can of gandules
  • 1/2 can of Spanish tomato sauce
  • 4 tablespoons sofrito
  • 1/4 cup minced green olives

Place medium-sized pot on the stove over a high heat. Add just enough oil to the pot to cover the bottom. Add 1 packet of sazon and stir until it dissolves.

Spoon 4 tablespoons of sofrito into the pot. Add 1/2 can of tomato sauce,1/2 can of of gandules and 1/4 cup of minced olives. Mix together well, being careful not to break the gandules.

Add 2 cups of rice to the pot. Mix all the ingredients well, making sure the rice is coated well with the oily sauce. Cook the rice until it becomes a bit translucent, which takes about 2 or 3 minutes.

Add 3 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil, stirring occasionally. Allow the water to boil down to the level of the rice. Reduce the heat to a simmer at this point, give the rice a good stir and cover the pot.

Simmer the rice and gandules, covered, for 20 minutes. Leave the pot alone while it cooks; do not remove the lid or stir the rice.

After 20 minutes, turn off the heat. Let the rice sit in its covered pot for another five minutes, then serve.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add 1/4 cup of diced ham for a non-vegetarian version.
  • Do NOT remove the lid early

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