Written by Gloria Pazmiño
It’s the season for Habichuela con Dulce. Time to indulge in the sweet and creamy texture that this hard to come by dessert has to offer. But first you’ll have to leave your sugar awareness aside.
Habichuela con Dulce makes its way into Dominican kitchens around this time of the year during Lent. The milky dessert, a Dominican staple and a cherished tradition, is typically prepared in large batches during the season and often shared at family gatherings between relatives and neighbors.
Habichuela con Dulce and I are not yet friends. We don’t know of this sweet creation in my native country. In Colombia, we celebrate Lent by parading around with saints and eating buñuelos, but we’ll get into those another time. This year, I decide to be a pseudo- Dominican national and go on a quest to find the dish.
Legend has it that no two recipes for Habichuelas con Dulce are the same. Initially I found little success with my habichuela-hopping. While many street vendors sell it, I was curious to find a local restaurant that serves it. I control my urge to start knocking on people’s doors. Finally I arrive at El Malecon, along the hustle and bustle of W. 175th Street and Broadway. At this point, in need of a sugar fix, I’m wiling to settle for a flan, sad that I might never meet the dulce habichuela of my dreams.