Cuba and my home country of Dominican Republic are both located in the Caribbean, the main language spoken in both is Spanish, their people are warm and hospitable, nature is breathtaking, and the food, oh the food! Funny enough even thou the food in both countries have been influenced by their Taino, European and African heritage, they each also have very unique dishes they take pride in. While I am not an expert on Cuban cuisine, I am thou a fan and really enjoy it. This particular recipe is inspired in the ways I’ve had Vaca Frita before.
And what’s Vaca Frita? It literally translates to Fried Cow but lets just call it Fried Beef, Cuban Fried Beef. I have never seen a dish similar to this in my life, the texture and flavors are so bomb and the way to cook it is pretty different to anything I’ve had. First of all you will need a long muscle beef cut. I used Moyer Beef Top Round Steak which I found at my local Tops Friendly Markets. This is a great choice of meat that is lean and will shred well after boiled.
Yes you will need to boil the meat with seasonings like salt, garlic and bay leave. Peppercorn is an option as well but I was out of peppercorns when I did this recipe. I did used peppercorns on the video below thou. Make sure you watch it so you can see how to make this recipe.
Once boiled and shredded the next step is to fry it in very hot oil along with onions and additional ingredients like cumin. This is the time to adjust the salt or any other flavors to taste.
I like to finish it with a good drizzle of lime juice and have it over rice or with plantains.
- 1 lb Top Round Steak
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 peppercorns
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- 1 medium visalia onion, thinly sliced
- Oil for frying, thin coat in your pan
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add enough water to cover the meat in a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Add the meat, bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic cloves, and salt and cook for an hour or until meat is tender. Bring the heat down after water is boiling again.
- After the meat is cooked shredded it the help of a fork. It is best to shred the meat while somewhat warm still and not cold.
- In a skillet with very hot oil (just enough to cover the pan size you decide to use), add the onions and cook them for about 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat.
- Bring the heat up and add the beef to cover the who pan and do not stir allowing the meat to get crispy on one side. After a 1-2 minutes or as you see the meat crisping up, toss the meat to keep frying the rest of it.
- Adjust the heat level as you see fit to make sure you do not burn the meat but do get it crispy as in the video above.
- Once you are happy with the crispiness on all the meat, take it off the pan and enjoy it with a few splashes of lime or as is.
- If needed adjust the salt, pepper, cumin and garlic flavor before taking it off the pan.
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