Nicaraguan Recipes & Cuisine

Written by on March 24, 2013 in Family - No comments | Print this page

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Arroz-con-Pollo

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America.  Nicaraguans call their cuisine, “la comida Nica”, and it is a blend of indigenous, Spanish, and Creole flavors. The Spaniards arrived in the 16th century, and later in the 17th and 18th centuries Africans were brought as slaves to Jamaica and the West Indies to work on plantations.

As they migrated to the southern Caribbean, they developed their Creole culture.  About 9% of Nicaragua’s population is Creole, of West Indian origin.  Nicaraguan cuisine has evolved and fused the Pre-Columbian, Spanish, and African influences.

Dishes consist mainly of corn, plantains, yuca, beans and rice, flavored with a variety of spices and seasonings.  The Creole influence is mainly on the Caribbean coast, where seafood and coconut are popular ingredients.  Fruits, such as jocote, mango, papaya, bananas, tamarind, avocado, and pipian are widely used.  Local roots like yucca are eaten as a starch to fill stews.  Nicaraguans eat turtle eggs, iguana, armadillos, and boa constrictors.

Baho – Beef, Plantains, and Yuca Steamed in Banana Leaves – serves 8

Ingredients

4 lbs beef brisket

3 tomatoes, chopped

2 green bell peppers, thinly sliced

3 onions, thinly sliced

8 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup orange juice

1 cup lime juice

salt

4 green plantains, peeled and halved

4 ripe plantains, peeled and halved

2 lbs yuca peeled and cut in large pieces

banana leaves

1 recipe repollo (cabbage slaw)

Instructions:

Combine the beef, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, juices, and salt.  Cover, and let marinate overnight in the fridge. In a 5 gallon pot, add 4 inches of water, and add a rack to keep the food from touching the water.

Place a plate on the rack and then line the inside of the pot with banana leaves, letting them hang over the edge of the pot.  Lay the plantains on the bed of banana leaves, add the meat, and top with the yuca.  Pour the marinade and vegetables from the meat over the yuca.

Fold the banana leaves over the food so that it is completely covered.  Top with a lid and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 4 hours, adding water as necessary. Traditionally Baho is served on a banana leaf and topped with a big scoop of repollo.

Ensalada de Repollo

Ingredients

1/2 head of cabbage, shredded

1 carrot, peeled and grated

4 cups boiling water

3 scallions, minced

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup water

1 jalapeño pepper, minced

2 tomatoes chopped

1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

Place the cabbage and carrots in a large bowl or pot.  Cover with the boiling water and let sit for 5 minutes before draining in a colander.  After pressing out as much water as possible, toss the cabbage and carrots with the remaining ingredients.  It’s usually better after a few hours.

Gallo Pinto – Red Beans And Rice – serves 4

Basic rice and beans, a hearty dish that can be served at every meal, even with eggs for breakfast.

Ingredients

2-3 tbsp coconut oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 bell pepper, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups cooked red kidney beans, liquid reserved

salt and pepper

3 cups hot cooked rice

Instructions

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic, and saute 3 minutes.  Stir in the beans and some of the liquid.  Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.  Add the rice and stir into the beans.  Season to taste and add more bean liquid if it is too thick.

Marc Gonzales is part of a team of Spanish online teachers currently he lives with his wife Martha in Managua, Nicaragua.

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