Morisqueta Michoacana – Authentic Recipe

This morisqueta recipe features white rice topped with juicy pork ribs in roasted tomato sauce, beans, and cheese. A comforting and traditional dish from the state of Michoacán bursting with flavors and so easy to make at home.

Mexican morisqueta Michoacana.

What Is Morisqueta?

In a nutshell, morisqueta is the name for which cooked white rice is known in the coastal states of Michoacán, Colima, and Jalisco in Mexico.

The basic dish is used to accompany different kinds of soups, broths, and stews, including seafood preparations. It’s a versatile dish and it’s easy to find different regional versions of it.

Our recipe features the traditional way is made in Apatzingán Michoacán, where the cooked rice is served topped with beans, pork ribs braised in tomato sauce, and fresh cheese.

The dish also has some variations in the same city, such as using only the sauce with no meat, serving with soupy beans (frijoles caldosos), and adding shredded cabbage,

Morisqueta with pork served on enamel plates.

The Origin

The name Morisqueta is the diminutive of morisco, a variant of moro. Morisco mean also mueca in Spanish, which can be translated into grin in English).

On the coasts of Guerrero and Michoacán, the morisqueta is sometimes called zambaripao which is a word of Philippine origin, clarifying the colonial origin of the dish, since it actually comes from Asia and arrived in Acapulco during the trans-Pacific trade routes with the New Spain.

This dish probably came from the Philippines thanks to the Manila Galleon, along with other Filipino foods such as the Manila mango or tuba drink.

Other theories suggest that the dish made the opposite journey, from Mexico to the Philippines, and trace the etymological origin of the name to the “Moros y Cristianos”, another rice and beans dish typical of the Hispanic Caribbean.

What Type of Rice Should I Use?

As you already know, there are many types of rice available on the market. To bring this dish to life, you want to stick with long-grain rice.

Mexican white rice should be your first option, but if not available, use basmati, jasmine, American long-grain rice, or any other kind of long-grain rice that’s available to you. 

The perfect rice-water ratio for morisqueta is 1:2, meaning, for every cup of rice, two cups of water are needed to achieve a perfectly fluffy and nicely cooked rice.

Morisqueta rice cooked on a pan. Seen from above.

About The Stew

Though the rice is the foundation of this dish, it would be nothing without the main star—the salsa. Pork ribs are always my first option, but the recipe can be made also with pork shoulder or even sirloin.

The salsa must be well-seasoned, but you shouldn’t overdo it. When it comes right down to it, the salsa is very simple, but delicious. It contains roasted tomatoes, chilies, onion, pepper, and garlic.

These simple ingredients already provide so much flavor, so the seasoning should accentuate that flavor, not overshadow it. A little goes a long way!

Pork ribs stew for morisqueta in a deep pan.

It’s important to note that chile de árbol is very spicy, particularly if you’re not used to eating it. However, chilies are essential to this recipe because it adds flavor, boldness, and a nice kick to the salsa. You should use as much as you can handle.

If chile de árbol is not available where you live, use other types, such as serrano or jalapeño chiles and you can remove the seeds to tone the spiciness down a bit if you want to. 

How To Make Morisqueta Michoacana

Start by placing the ribs in a pan and covering them slightly with water. Add salt and bay leaf. Set heat to medium and bring to a simmer.

Pork ribs slightly covered with water in a deep pan, ready for cooking.

You need to cook the meat for about one hour or until tender, in the end, all water should have evaporated and the meat should be tender but not falling from the bone.

Pork ribs after 30 minutes of simmering.

While the meat is cooking, make the tomato sauce. Place tomatoes, onions, and chilies on a smoky hot griddle.

Roast until charred spots appear and tomatoes are tender with the skin falling off. Chilies will roast faster, so does onion and garlic, therefore make sure to remove them as the tomatoes keep cooking.

Roasted ingredients for morisqueta sauce on a plate.

While the sauce ingredients are roasting, make the rice. Place rice in a large sieve and rinse quickly under running water. Put rice into a pan, add salt and water.

Morisqueta rice with water in a deep pan.

Cover the pot, place it over medium-low heat and cook without uncovering until rice is nicely cooked through (about 18-20 minutes).

Morisqueta rice cooked in a pan.

Now back to the sauce. Place the roasted ingredients in a blender, peppercorns, and 1 and half a cup of water. Blend until everything is combined into a sauce.

Roasted tomato sauce blended.

As the meat is finishing to cook, it will start releasing its own fat, so keep cooking to brown nicely those ribs.

Pork ribs browned on its own fat.

Then pour in the tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper, mix well and bring to a simmer.

Pork ribs cooking with the tomato and chili sauce.

Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat to blend the flavors and then adjust with salt to taste. The pork ribs stew should look like the photo below after being cooked.

Pork ribs cooked with sauce.

How To Serve

Fluffy the cooked rice with a fork and divide it into serving plates. Add beans on each plate and top with ribs and plenty of tomato sauce. Last, add the cheese and enjoy!

In Apatzingán, this dish is often served with totopos, tostadas, or crispy potato tacos on the side.

Useful notes and tips

  • Do not uncover the rice when it’s cooking, as it need the steam to cook it perfectly with that amount of water.
  • If you have a rice cooker use it!
  • You can use queso fresco, queso panela, cotija cheese, primo sale, paneer cheese, or even parmesan for this recipe.
Morisqueta served with braised pork ribs, beans, and cheese.

Make Ahead, Store and Reheat

Morisqueta is a prep-meal perfect for those busy days. The rice can be made up to 3 days ahead and keep it in the fridge nicely stored in an airtight container.

The pork stew can be also made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

For reheating the rice, the microwave is your best option, but the stove can be also used, add rice to a non-stick pan and place over the lowest heat your stove allows, cover, and reheat for a couple of minutes gently stirring from time to time.

More Recipes With Rice

Morisqueta Michoacana Recipe.

Morisqueta with braised pork ribs

This morisqueta Michoacana features juicy pork ribs braised in tomato and chile sauce, then served over fluffy rice with beans and cheese.
PREP 15 minutes
COOK 1 hour 20 minutes
TOTAL 1 hour 35 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 4
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 2.2 lb short pork ribs
  • 1 ½ lb tomatoes
  • 1 small onion (peeled and halved)
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 chile de árbol peppers (or your favorite hot chili peppers)
  • 7 oz panela or queso fresco (read note 1)
  • 2 cups cooked beans (read note 2)

For the morisqueta (rice)

  • 1 ½ cups long-grain rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

Make the stew

  • Place the ribs in a pan and cover slightly with water.
  • Add salt, set heat to medium-low, and bring to a simmer.
  • Cook the meat from 50 to 60 minutes or until tender, at the end all water should be gone (read note 2).
  • Meanwhile, place tomatoes, onions, garlic, and chilies on a smoky hot griddle.
  • Roast everything over medium heat, chilies will roast faster, so does onion and garlic. Make sure to remove them as the tomatoes keep cooking.
  • Allow to slightly cool down and then transfer everything to a blender with 1 ½ cup of water.
  • Blend until everything is combined.
  • As the meat is finishing to cook, it will start releasing its own fat, so keep cooking to brown nicely the ribs on all sides.
  • Pour in the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Make the morisqueta rice

  • Place rice in a large sieve and give it a quick rinse under cold running water.
  • Put rice into a pan, add salt, and 3 cups of water.
  • Cover the pot, place it over medium-low and cook without uncovering until rice is cooked through (18-20 minutes).

Serve

  • Fluffy the cooked rice with a fork and divide it into serving plates.
  • Add beans on each plate.
  • Top with ribs and plenty of the tomato sauce.
  • Add the cheese and serve immediately.

NOTES

  1. You can use queso fresco, queso panela, cotija cheese, primo sale, paneer cheese, or even parmesan for this recipe.
  2. You can use canned beans or make our recipe for cooked beans at home.
  3. You need to cook the meat for about one hour or until tender, in the end, all water should have evaporated and the meat should be tender but not falling from the bone.
Nutrition
Calories: 1040kcal | Carbohydrates: 86g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 174mg | Sodium: 828mg | Potassium: 1316mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1956IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 379mg | Iron: 5mg
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Recipe Rating




One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Simple and yet amazing recipe, my kitchen smells like heaven and can’t wait to be ready and enjoy with warm tortillas. Thank you!