Farina aka Cream of Wheat or Porridge is a classic Dominican breakfast that immediately takes me back to my childhood. It’s a dish that I ate almost everyday both before and after school. I loved it so much that my mom would even surprise me with it. It brought me THAT much joy. In fact, Farina is tied to one of my favorite childhood memories.
I grew up with a single working mom who did everything that she could to make sure that I got everything that I needed. This meant working multiple jobs and rushing home to help me with my homework and extracurricular activities. It also meant that my mom wasn’t always around because she was too busy working in order to provide. She rarely picked me up from school although she was always home in time for dinner. My aunt and my grandmother took turns taking care of me during school and work hours. They’re not lying when they said that it takes a village! Personally, my mom’s village was the best!
Nonetheless, I wasn’t used to having my mom having a weekday off from work much less pick me up from school. Then one day as I exited school and ran into the school yard, I saw my mom waiting for me. While I loved it when my aunt picked me up, there was nothing like my mom! I ran to her and hugged her as if I hadn’t just kissed her goodbye in morning. On our walk home, I chatted non-stop about my day at school. I’m pretty sure I gave her every single last non-essential detail of my day but it didn’t matter. I was excited. My mom picked me up from. I felt incredibly special.
On the way home, my mom grabs my hand and interrupts me. Who knows how long she’d been trying to get a word in. She smiled and told me that she had a surprise waiting for me when we got home. She wanted to me guess and if I guessed right, then I would get to really enjoy my surprise. I paused, scrunched my nose, and thought really hard on what it could be. She wouldn’t give me any other clue. I figured if my mom was home from work early enough to pick me up, manage a surprise, then whatever the surprise was must be REALLY good. And then it hit me– Farina. She made me Farina. I knew it in my heart that she made my favorite treat of all time. I squeezed my mother’s hand and confidently replied, “Farina. Is it Farina?” She smiled and said, “Yes.”
Ever more excited, I squealed and we walked home in perfect gleeful silence. This day was beyond a treat and one that I can still recall as though it happened yesterday.
Farina is a hot porridge/hot cereal that’s insanely easy to make. It’s also deliciously filling and you can enjoy it hot or cold. The preference is truly up to you. Since I love Farina period, I actually love having it hot when I first make it but cold the next day. When you have it hot, it’s definitely a breakfast food whereas having it cold feels and tastes more like a sweet treat.
While Farina is super easy to make and honestly takes about 10 minutes to prepare, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. Follow these few tricks and you’ll get Farina perfect each and every single time!
- Use a combination of evaporated milk and regular milk to get the best flavor! If you want to make this dish vegan, feel free to swap in your favorite dairy free milk
- Warm the milk on a medium-low flame with the cinnamon sticks. Continue to do so until the cinnamon sticks have started to open up. This means that the cinnamon sticks have released their full and bold flavor
- Whisk in the Farina/Cream of Wheat. Doing this will prevent unsavory clumps from forming and will give you a beautifully smooth farina
- If you leave Farina uncovered, it will form a skin from all of the milk and sugar. If you hate it when dishes do this, simply wrap it with seran wrap making sure that the plastic wrap touch the actual Farina. This will prevent a skin from forming
Read to eat? Be sure to check out my step-by-step video on How to Make Dominican Style Farina | Cream of Wheat Recipe on my YouTube Channel: Chef Zee Cooks
And now for the recipe….
- 1 ½ cups Evaporated Milk
- 1 ½ cups Milk
- ½ cup Farina
- ½ cup Sugar
- 3 Cinnamon Sticks
- 1 tbs butter
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp Vanilla
- Set flame to medium-low and add evaporated milk, regular milk, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, unsalted butter, and cinnamon sticks. Stir constantly making sure that the milk never comes to a boil. Continue to warm up the milk until cinnamon sticks begin to open up. This should take anywhere between 10-20 minutes
- Afterwards, whisk in farina. Feel free to add farina a little bit at a time and whisking in between until all of the farina has been incorporated
- Once you’ve add all of the Farina, whisk and stir constantly until the farina-milk mixture has thickened up. You can enjoy farina to your liking whether that’s slightly runny or super thick. Just know that Farina will continue to thicken as it cools
- Once farina has reached your desired thickness, serve and enjoy hot or cold. Don’t forget to sprinkle ground cinnamon at the every end