My Global Food Challenge

Nicaragua (2)

Indio Viejo (Nicaragua)

The name Indio Viejo literary means “old Indian” in Spanish and is a dish that date backs to pre-Columbian Nicaragua. Except for the onion which is a later addition, it only contains ingredients that are native to the region. The consistency of Indio Viejo is somewhere between stew and thick soup, and the orange and achiote gives it a beautiful colour.

Yields: 6 Servings


2 onions
Oil or grease for sauté
2 lbs of beef such as flank or skirt steak
4 sour oranges
1 cup masa or 1/2 cup of masa the harina
4 medium large tomatoes
2 red peppers
1 teaspoon of achiote paste
1 bunch of fresh mint (preferably bushmints from the genus Hyptis)
Salt to taste


Dice one of the onions. Squeeze the juice out of 3 oranges and save it. Preheat a saucepan, add some oil and sauté the onion until it’s soft.Add orange juice and meat to the saucepan, and fill up with enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and leave to simmer until the meat is tender. This will normally take around two hours. Add more water if necessary to prevent dry boiling.Remove the meat from the saucepan and leave to cool. Don’t throw away the onion broth! Chop the other onion. Slice tomatoes and peppers.

Blend the masa with a few cups of water until there are no lumps. If you use masa the harina you can skip this step. Add onion, tomatoes, peppers, achiote, and masa mixture or masa the harina to the simmering broth. The maize will serve to make the broth really thick. It is important to stir continuously to prevent lumping.

Shred the meat using your hands or a fork and add to the saucepan. Traditionally, this dish is always made using long strips of meat. Add salt to taste. Finely mince the mint.

Just before you are ready to serve, squeeze the juice of the last orange into the stew to spice up the colour and add the minced mint.

Link to My Post on Nicaragua:

Cuisine :   Nicaraguan

Main Ingredient :   Beef

Achiote (Bixa orellana) is a plant native to tropical parts of the Americas.   The name achiote is borrowed from the Nahuatl language where the plant is called achiotl.   The seeds and their surrounding pulp are harvested to make a paste or powder for culinary use, and are a main ingredient in the spice mixture commonly sold as recado rojo.    If you can’t find achiote paste, substitute with dried achiote powder or paprika powder.

Gallo Pinto (Nicaragua)

Gallo Pinto – a nutritious concoction of fried rice and boiled beans with some fresh greens thrown into the mix – is a staple food for most people in Nicaragua and it is not uncommon to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The name Gallo Pinto literary means “painted rooster” or “speckled rooster” in Spanish and is a reference to the look of the dish.

Yields: 6 Servings


1 pound (450 grams) of fresh red beans. If you can’t find fresh, get dry
10 sprigs of cilantro. Fresh is best but frozen will work too. Don’t use dried cilantro
1 onion
1/2 sweet pepper
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to fry the rice
3 cups of chicken broth (if you want to make a veggie dish, use water or vegetable broth
2 cups of white rice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 -3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to fry the Gallo Pinto


If the beans are dried, cover them with water and soak overnight to have them ready for your breakfast Gallo Pinto. If they’re fresh, just rinse them off.Pour the drained beans into a pot and add fresh water until the surface is about 2.5 cm (1 in) above the top of the beans. If you add salt at this point it will make the bean shells harder; if you wait they will be softer. Bring to a boil, cover the pan and reduce heat to a very low simmer.

Keep on simmering until the beans are soft and the juice is almost consumed.In the meantime, chop cilantro, onion and sweet pepper into very small pieces. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into a large frying pan and heat up. Pour the dry, uncooked rice into the frying pan and sauté for two minutes over medium high flame. If you burn the rice it means that you’re using too much heat. Frying raw rice might seem strange to the non-latino, but by frying it raw you prevent it from becoming mushy later on when blended with the beans.

Add cilantro, sweet pepper and half of the onion to the pan and continue to sauté for another two minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover the frying pan and reduce the heat. Leave to simmer until the rice is tender. This will normally take 20-35 minutes.

Stir in the boiled beans and the other half of the onion. Add salt to taste. Add the rest of the vegetable oil and fry the Gallo Pinto a few more minutes before serving.

Link to My Post on Nicaragua:

Cuisine :   Nicaraguan 

Main Ingredient :   Rice  

Gallo Pinto is considered the national dish of both Nicaragua and Costa Rica and asking about its true origin – or the proper way of making it – is a sure fire way of starting a hot debate if members of both nationalities are represented at the dinner table.

File:Nicaragua in North America (-mini map -rivers).svg

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