Gandule Rice (Arroz Con Gandules)

July 13, 2018
5 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 24 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

In Hawaii, where I grew up, Puerto Rican arroz con guandules, or rice with pigeon peas, is a rare sight, only available if you are lucky enough to spot a hawker selling the often homemade dish on the side of the road. That's why I got this recipe from The Original Hawaii Plantation Village Cookbook—so I could make it for myself whenever my heart desires. —Ligaya Malones

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup gandules (pigeon peas), soaked overnight
  • 1 pound lean pork (tenderloin is best)
  • 1 whole onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 pinch or more pepper, to taste
  • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce or tomato puree
  • 4 stalks green onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups rice, uncooked
  • 1 pinch or more salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon achiote seeds (substitute: 1 1/2 tsp paprika + 1 1/2 tsp turmeric)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or Crisco)
  1. Bring gandules to a boil; drain in colander and set aside.
  2. Slice pork into thin, short, narrow strips. Chop onions. Fry pork with onions, pepper, and garlic until browned. Add can of tomato sauce and allow it to simmer, uncovered, for a few minutes. Add chopped green onions, cilantro, gandules, broth, and uncooked rice. Add salt to taste.
  3. In a separate pan, melt the achiote seeds (or paprika + turmeric) in oil. Strain seeds, if using. Add the infused oil to the other ingredients.
  4. Bring mixture to a boil then lower heat and place foil on top, folding in the edges. Place pot lid on foil. Simmer until the rice is cooked, about 15 minutes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • FrugalCat
  • Starmade
  • Smaug
  • Ronnie Maiden
    Ronnie Maiden

16 Reviews

Ronnie M. August 21, 2020
Gandule rice "is a rare sight, only available if you are lucky enough to spot a hawker..." or are fortunate enough to have ohana that are Puerto Rica! I agree with those that say the sofrito is missing, and I love it with pork. My Tia Rosa used to make pasteles and gandule rice with pork AND chicken for weddings. Mmm. This is a nice basic recipe to build upon
Esthi June 26, 2020
Delicious! I cooked the pigeon peas in the broth for about 10 minutes before adding all that to the pan, came out perfect.
FrugalCat September 18, 2018
My Haitian co worker taught me about pigeon peas. I made this with coconut oil. It was great, will make again.
shortnsweet July 15, 2018
seems like an interesting take on how the dish may have traveled, but i'm not seeing sofrito, which is key...i take culantro, cilantro, aji dulce peppers, garlic, onion and a little tomato (all fresh) and pop 'em in the food processor. it keeps beautifully in the freezer in half cup measures. i would swap that for her herbs and alliums if you want a more puerto rican flavor. i'd also recommend smoked pork neck bones instead of tenderloin, but maybe i should be quiet and share my own recipe some other time :) this does look like a tasty relative of arroz con gandule, though!
Ricardo O. July 16, 2018
That is the sofrito those same ingrediants we call it sofrito. I make my own also. My was old school she made it rt at the moment. In a what we call a pilon.
Ricardo O. July 16, 2018
I also add pork for flavor. Pork is also a good ingrediant in the making beans
shortnsweet July 16, 2018
i know the pilon! i have one too. i just find it easier to make it ahead of time, when i can get my hands on everything.

i see in the recipe she has things to make it sofrito-like, but without the hot peppers and added at different times it seems like it would have a different taste than the way we make arroz con gandules in PR.
Ricardo O. July 16, 2018
My recipe is original from Puerto Rico Sofrito made fresh is the best you add the aji dulce peppers etc and mash in the pilon thats what we call receta del campo.
Ricardo O. July 15, 2018
If they are from a can then thry come fully cooked yoi should saute everything first add water let it boil then add your once when the rice dries add the
gandules. If you add the gandules to soon they will break up. Cover and turned the heat down you will want to mix every 10mins so your rice doesnt get mushy. Total about 45min too cook. I have been cooking Puerto Rican food all my life I was Chef in Puerto Rico for many years. Everyone has there own way of cooking What we call comida criollo.
Starmade July 15, 2018
It does not say how long to cook the pigeon peas, but it is hard to believe they would be soft enough if you just brought them to a boil and drained them, even with overnight soaking.
Amira E. July 14, 2018
This person can make other types of dishes because not everybody knows her kitchen skills the reason about this idea is to know her more in her kitchen skills
Ricardo O. July 14, 2018
The secret if there is to Puerto Rican arroz con Gandules is the sofrito which is a staple most dishes it has culantro cilantro garlic onions peppers crushed together or blended together I spent many years as a chef on the Island and my mom was old school jibara from lares. So yea sofrito is main ingrediant for Puetto Rican Arroz con Gandules
Smaug July 13, 2018
Achiote seeds are rock hard- can you really dissolve them in oil? I'd try it if I had any, but I buy it ground; turmeric and paprika seems like an odd sub., achiote has a very distinctive flavor.
Tanya July 14, 2018
You let them soak in the oil, not sure how long though. I’ve never made this dish but I remember my aunt soaking the seeds and using the oil.
Smaug July 14, 2018
That does sound a good deal more likely.
shortnsweet July 15, 2018
you heat the seeds in the oil and then strain. here's daisy, one of my favorite experts on such topics: