Some call it ‘congri rice’ others call it ‘moros y cristianos.’ Whatever the case, this easy Instant Pot recipe for Cuban black beans and rice tastes great!
Cuban Black Beans and Rice Recipe
Pedro lived in Cuba until shortly after his third birthday. His dad had to work for two years in Castro’s sugarcane fields in order to acquire visas for the family’s exit. From there they went to Spain, and then on to Jamaica, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and finally the United States in the early 80s.
When we met in college, his mom prepared this dish for my first meal at their house. I’ve heard it called ‘moros y cristianos’—which sounds a little racist. The beans are black and the rice looks white when it’s cooked.
But rather than filtering the phrase through our politically correct lenses of today, we should look at the historical context. The phrase ‘Moors and Christians’ reflects reality in Spain in the 15th century when the Spaniards (white Christians) ousted the Moors (darker-skinned Muslims) out of the Iberian Peninsula.
This event (driving the Moors out of Spain) happened in January of 1492, about eight months before Columbus landed in the New World. The new trade routes established between Europe and the New World opened up a storehouse of new foods—including black beans.
Rice, a staple in Europe from 8th century, couldn’t have met black beans until sometime after Columbus arrived. No one knows who came up with the idea of cooking rice and beans together (Cubans also serve arroz y frijoles—rice and beans, but it’s not the same dish).
Congri or Cuban Rice Dish
Some claim that the term ‘congri’ is what you call it when you cook kidney beans with the rice, and ‘moros y cristianos’ is the term for black beans and rice. Either way, this Cuban black beans and rice dish is good for you (especially if you use brown rice instead of white rice).
Black beans have lots of protein and fiber and may help prevent heart disease as well as lower blood pressure and boost bone health.
Whatever the case, Pedro claims that my Instant Pot moros y cristianos recipe tastes like the real deal. And I take that as quite the compliment, coming from a man who lived on Cuban food for his first 22 years of life!Print
Instant Pot Cuban Black Beans and Rice Recipe (Congri)
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 60
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 10 1x
When black beans and rice are cooked together, Cubans call them ‘congri’ or ‘moros y cristianos.’
2 c black beans
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 Tbs adobo seasoning
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbs vinegar
2 bay leaves
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 tsp. salt
Soak the black beans in 6 cups of water for about six hours OR place them in a bowl, pour six cups of boiling water over them, place a lid on the bowl, and let them set for an hour. Drain the beans before using them in the recipe.
After the beans are soft turn the Instant Pot to [Sauté] and allow it to heat while you chop the onions, garlic, and jalapeño. Add the olive oil and then the vegetables and sauté until the onions look limp.
Add the seasonings and stir well.
Add the 2 cups of water, the vinegar, the drained, pre-soaked black beans, and the brown rice.
Lock the lid and select [Pressure Cook]. Use the + and – buttons to adjust the cooking time to 30 minutes.
When the machine cycle ends, allow it to change to the [Keep Warm] cycle for 10 minutes before opening the vent.
Remove the bay leaves, add the salt (if needed), fluff, and serve.
This dish has enough protein to serve as the main course. Or, you could use it in whole-wheat tortillas for a healthy burrito.
- Category: Entrée
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: Cuban
Keywords: Instant Pot, Cuban, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, GF, Entrée
What’s your favorite Cuban cuisine?Make Cuban black beans and rice (congri, or moros y cristianos) in your Instant Pot with this easy recipe. #InstantPot #recipe #vegetarian Click To Tweet
Thanks for stopping by, Tara! I agree, his parents went through all kinds of things in order to immigrate (and I’m so glad!).
Anita Ojeda recently posted…Instant Pot Chana Masala You Can Make in a Hurry
Hi! Thanks for this! It sounds delicious. Can I make it with white rice too?
You can! Thanks for stopping by. Let me know how it turns out.
Is the amount of water added different if using white rice?
I’ve never tried it, Clari. But white rice takes less water, so I would adjust by adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup less water.
As a Cuban, born and raised, I can tell you unequivocally that we do NOT use jalapeños in our recipes. However, I am certainly going to try this recipe (sans jalapeños 🙂) as I am looking for a good old fashioned moros recipe.
I know Cubans would never use jalapeños ;). But I’m allergic to green peppers, so my Cuban husband has approved this modification!
You are so right , in my 84 years as a Cuban and eating black beans all my life in different places never I have seen jalapenos in black beans but I do use green peppers lacking our ajies
When do you add the vinegar?
I add everything at once :).
Do you drain the beans ?
Yes, I drain the beans. I should have included that in the instructions! Thank you for pointing out the error!
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I’m excited to try this. I have fast-soaked the beans. Just to clarify, do I dump the water, drain the beans, add 2 cups of fresh water, rice, and cook in Instant Pot for 30 minutes? 30 minutes seems like a lot for an Instant Pot. Is that correct? Thanks! Alicia
Hi, Alicia! Yes, fast-soak the beans (or slow soak them 😉 ), DRAIN the beans, and then continue with the recipe.
Thank you! I followed the recipe and they were delicious! The only thing I’ll do differently when I make them again this weekend is not to add as much water since it came out a little sticky. I rinsed the brown rice so I think it soaked up too much water. I’ll try it with 1/4 cup of water less. Thank you! I’m Cuban and look forward to more recipes I can make in my new Instant Pot!
I’m glad you enjoyed it! Let me know how it turns out with 1/4 cup less water :).
They were very tasty and the consistency was much better with 1/4 cup less water. I did the overnight soak this time. They weren’t the least bit mushy. I didn’t add the adobo either time because I didn’t have any and I don’t think my mom ever added adobo but they were delish. Thanks!
Can the black beans be pressure cooked in the instant pot? Then drained and then begin the recipe? Or would they be too mushy?
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What do you mean, “Some claim that the term ‘congri’ is what you call it when you cook kidney beans with the rice…” That’s what it’s called. There’s no debate. If an non-Spanish speaking non-Cuban wants to make that argument, it feels pretty empty to me.
Can you please add in the step when the vinegar is added, I believe you left that out. Thank you kindly.
Done! Thank you for bringing that to my attention :).
I’ve made this twice and I’m still amazed that I can have perfectly cooked, delicious BROWN rice and beans in such a short time! I love this recipe AND my instant pot!
Hi, there 🙂 coming from a Cuban family and always around family, making congrí we never add jalapeños to congrí – we do add bell green peppers. But I will try this and see how it comes out 🙂 thank you for the recipe.
Alas, I’m allergic to green bell peppers! That’s why I use jalapeños. Let me know how it turns out.