One of my most pronounced memories as a young girl is that of assisting my mother in the kitchen, every week, in chopping the vegetables necessary to make fresh sazon.
In the Dominican Republic it is called sazon, in Puerto Rico recaito, and in Cuba sofrito and every family has its own variation of this condiment. However, since my mom calls it sazon and it’s her version, we will call it Sazon.
There is evidence to suggest that sofrito has its origins in Spain in the region of Catalonia. The sazon/sofrito, an integration of Spanish colonization, is essential in the Caribbean cuisine and in parts of Latin America. For me the biggest difference between Sofrito and Sazon -the original sofrito- is that sazon is fresh and sofrito is sautéed slightly before storing.
I prefer to use small sweet pepper and culantro – Mexican coriander or long coriander- in my sazon but they can be hard to find in my area. I also don’t use garlic in excess simply because I like to add more or less to the stew, soup, meat, beans or whatever it is that I’m cooking. You can adapt it to your own taste. Some how the combination of these components gives Latin Caribbean dishes their incomparable flavor.
- 1 large red pepper or 6 small sweets peppers
- 1 large green pepper
- 1 large onion
- 1 big bunch of cilantro (culantro if you can find it)
- 4 big cloves of garlic (6 medium-sized ones)
- White vinegar or lime juice to taste (about 1 to 2 tablespoons)
- Peel and chop ingredients into pieces
- Blend in a food processor or blender until it forms a pasta
- To keep fresh sazon for use within three to five days of making, keep in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
- For future use, freeze it in a plastic bag or in ice molds for up to one month.