Home cook Jessica van Dop DeJesus shares her easy to make recipe for this delicious Puerto Rican treat.
The Dining Traveler’s Jessica van Dop DeJesus is not your typical food connoisseur. The Washington, DC based travel media specialist with a focus on food began traveling as a young Marine 21 years ago. Since then, she has been to over 50 countries on and off duty.
For her, the delicious home cooked food she learned to love as a child always brings a comforting sense of home, no matter where she is.
“When the scent of sofrito sauteing in the caldero fills the house, it brings me back to my parent’s kitchen and to my childhood memories in Guayama, Puerto Rico,” she told The Americano. “There’s no greater comfort than to indulge in the scents of your childhood. Biting into a crispy alcapurria can automatically transport me to the beaches of Puerto Rico.”
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That sweet comfort is what so many are longing for during this difficult time of global pandemic and a contentious, stress-filled election cycle in the US. Fortunately, Van Dop DeJesus has her own ways to cope and transform stress into love.
“This year, we’ve had to live through a pandemic, a reckoning of racial injustice, and a stress-inducing election cycle. I’ve chosen to find comfort in food, to call my mother and other family members often, and ask them for our family recipes to make at home. Those flavors bring me comfort because they remind me of how my family shows their love through food.”
A recipe that she loves to make is alcapurrias, a fritter made of green bananas and yautia (taro root), and stuffed with meat. And for those who don’t eat meat, there is also a vegetarian option.
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“Alcapurrias are easy to ‘veganize’; just replace meat for Beyond Meat,” she recommends. “You can also prepare them beforehand, freeze them, and fry them when you’re ready. Having a food processor to make the masa will cut the time in half.”
So if you’re filled with stress as Election Day nears, take this home cook’s advice: get your apron on and get set to prepare this delicious treat for your family and friends. Then feel your stress melt away in the sweet comfort of food prepared and shared with loved ones.
1 lb green banana (around 4 bananas)
1 lb yautia (one large or two small tubers)
1 packet of sazón
2 tbsp of achiote oil (if you can’t find it, just do another packet of sazón)
Adobo to taste
Note: you can use different fillings such as corned beef, ground beef, crab. for a vegetarian option you can use Beyond Meat. For this recipe I used ground pork.
1 lb ground pork
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 packet of sazón
1/2 cup of sofrito
1 small onion
1/3 cup of finely chopped olives (optional)
Cooking oil to fry
Banana leaf to shape the alcapurria (if you can’t find it, brush some olive oil on the parchment paper.