The tropical climate produces fruits and root vegetables that are used in Cuban dishes and meals. A typical meal would consist of rice and beans, cooked together or apart. When cooked together the recipe is called either “Congri” or “Moros” or “Moros y Cristianos” (black beans and rice).
Tamales are equally as popular of a dish as the rice and beans. Made with fresh ground corn and pieces of pork meat, tamales are wrapped in corn leaves and tied and boiled in salted water. Tamales as well as black bean soup, are among the few indigenous foods that have remained part of the modern Cuban cuisine.
Stews and soups are also common. These are usually consumed along with white rice or gofio. Corn stew and corn soup are popular dishes as well.
Cuban cuisine uses citrus (i.e. sour orange, lime, lemon), tomato, vinegar, onion, garlic, peppers, white wine or beer (depending on region and dish), raisins and olives/capers to flavor almost every savory dish. This combination of flavor often results in complex flavors with sweet, salty and acidic components. Cuban desserts are known for their sweetness and many desserts use citrus peel, cinnamon or anise seed to add distinct flavor. Tropical fruits are often cooked in a sugar syrup with cinnamon and citrus peel and served on white cheese for contrasting flavor or baked in flaky pastries.
The Cuban Sandwich
The sandwich is built on a base of lightly buttered Cuban bread and contains sliced roast pork, thinly sliced Serrano ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickles, and yellow mustard.