Congri aka Moro Negro or Moro de Habichuelas Negras is another fan-favorite traditional rice dish that I grew up eating. It’s a great way to use leftover beans– in fact, I highly recommend doing so. You can always use fresh beans or even canned black beans to make this rice but your results will vary. I personally think that the best way to have this rice is to use left over beans because the flavors have had a chance to settle. If you’re new to my blog– welcome. My name is Chef Zee and I think leftover are life!
Congri/Moro Negro is a widely popular rice dish in Cuba but it’s always insanely popular in the Dominican Republic. Lucky for me, I get the best of both worlds and I have perfected my recipe by combining Cuban elements and Dominican elements. Now remember, you can always add your own twist this recipe and make it your own. If it’s your first time making this dish, use my recipe as a starting guide and then tweak it to your liking. However, keep in mind that there are some golden rules whenever you’re making Congri/Moro Negro. Fun Fact: Cubans call this dish Congri or Moro y Cristianos and Dominicans call this dish Moro Negro or Moro de Habichuelas Negras.
Believe it or not, of all the different moros and rice dishes, Congri is the one that took me the longest to perfect. In my opinion, it’s the hardest to master! To start, you want to get the color right. So many of use mess up the color and the worst is when you end up with a gray Moro Negro. Remember– we’re making Moro Negro not, Moro Gris. (Eww! I can’t imagine what that might taste like!). Do understand, that different regions and households make this dish differently. I personally love a deep dark color to this rice. That’s how you know you’ve nailed it! The other reason this dish took me forever to master was the flavor. The flavor was always ok, but it was never anything that knocked my socks off.
Whenever I’m making traditional Hispanic dishes, I’m usually intimidated to have my aunts and especially my boyfriend’s family taste it. Listen, those women are HEAVY HITTERS! I may be a chef by trade, but my aunts and my boyfriends aunts + mom are LEGENDS! They are the true test. If I get their stamp of approval, then I know that I’m golden! Now funny enough, even the legends will tell you that this dish once threw them for a loop! Below are some tips & tricks to help make sure that you get this rice right every single time! I want the whole team to win!
Tip#1: Use fresh black beans– skip out on the canned beans if you can. Using fresh beans will give you a moro that automatically tastes better and you’ll get a deep dark color! Fresh beans release much more color pigments than canned ones. And yes, fresh black beans will take much longer to cook but you can always cut corner by softening the beans in a pressure cooker. I use my Instant Pot to soften my beans it’s truly a time saver! Now you can definitely use canned beans to make Congri but you’ll end up with rice that’s a little gray or even browner than you want, which may confuse people into thinking that you’ve made Moro de Habichuelas instead.
Tip#2: Use left over beans. The best way to have kick a$$ Congri is to use left over beans and not just left over beans– but left over Frijoles Negro Cubanos. Make an awesome batch of Cuban Black Beans the night before and let those flavor settle and enhance. Then use those beans as the base of your Moro Negro. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. Now if you don’t want to do this in an effort to save time– because yes, we’re still using fresh beans– simple add more seasoning whenever you’re making the Moro Negro. Just be careful not to over salt.
Tip#3: If you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and add coconut milk. This is super popular with people who live near Santo Domingo and on the coast. It gives the rice an island flavor. While I don’t typically do this– my family is from the Cibao (North of the Island), I do know that it’s very popular and common.
Tip#4: Go ahead and make this dish Vegan by swapping out the sopita (chicken bouillon cube) for regular Adobo or seasoning salt.
- 2 cups of white rice
- 2 Cups of Leftover Cuban Black Beans (See video or Blog Post on How to Make)
- 1 tbs Chicken Bouillon Cube
- ½ White Onion
- ¼ Green Bell Pepper
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- ¼ tsp Oregano
- ¼ tsp Cumin
- ¼ tsp Black pepper
- 1 tbs Recao-- culantro and cilantro
- Canola Oil
- 2 Cups of Black Bean Stock or Water
- Finely chop onion, peppers, and garlic. Set aside
- Warm up rice pot on medium flame and add oil
- Then add onion, peppers, and garlic. Saute until soft
- Add Chicken Bouillon Cube & stir
- After 2 minutes, add leftover Cuban Black Beans & stir
- Add oregano, cumin, & black pepper. Stir & sautee until beans begin to lightly simmer
- Now add white rice and mix until well combined
- Next add bean stock or water and continue to mix. Make sure that rice is not burning. If rice begins to stick to bottom of pot, reduce heat
- Simmer bean stock/water and rice until rice has dried up
- Once bean stock or water dries up, gently mix rice again and add cilantro
- Cover rice with lid. Bonus: For quicker cooking rice, add aluminum foil to turn pot into a super rice cooker. Reduce flame to lowest possible setting
- After 25 minutes, uncover rice and fluff up with a tiny bit of oil
Be sure to enjoy this rice with your favorite side dish like Ropa Vieja, Vaca Frita, or Pollo Guisado!