After a visit to Nicaragua where we were impressed by the food, we decided to try making our own Nicaraguan meal. As a side note, you can get incredibly sweet mangoes for about 5 cents each there! Definitely worth the plane ticket. Anyway, this is a classic Nicaraguan breakfast, but we made it for dinner. The main course is gallo pinto, scrambled eggs, tortillas, and fried plantains. We served the main course with a fruit salad of watermelon, pineapple, and banana, as well as the national cocktail of Nicaragua, macuá.

Gallo Pinto:

Gallo pinto (translated to painted rooster) is a combination of rice and beans, a staple in Nicaragua and much of Central America. The sauce traditionally used to make the dish is called Salsa Lizano, but unfortunately it can rarely be found anywhere outside Central America. We made this dish with Worcestershire sauce instead, which worked surprisingly well, but we will order Salsa Lizano online for our next go at it.

2 cans of beans
4 c. cooked white, long-grain rice
1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Handful of cilantro, chopped
5 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce or Salsa Lizano2 tbsp. canola oil

Saute onion, pepper, and garlic in canola oil until soft. Add beans and rice and allow to heat up. Add Worcestershire sauce and cilantro and mix well. Serve with scrambled eggs, tortilla, and fried plantain.

Fried Plantains:

Plantains are hugely abundant in Central America, but much harder to find in the US. Ideally, the plantains will be very ripe – this means that the skin is dark brown. However, we used plantains that were yellow and beginning to turn brown, and the dish was still delicious. We fried these plantains in 2 batches, in a medium-sized frying pan.

2 large, ripe plantains
4 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. sugar

Slice the plantains diagonally into disks that are about 1/2-inch thick. Lightly sprinkle sugar on sliced plantain. Pour half the oil into the pan and allow it to heat up on medium heat. Place the plantains into the frying pan and allow to cook for a few minutes on each side. They are done when both sides have a well-done brown color.

Here’s a picture of our main course:

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Macuá:

1 1/2 oz. white rum
2 oz. lemon juice2 oz. guava juice
1 oz. orange juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup

Fill shaker halfway with crushed ice. Pour in all ingredients and shake. Serve over ice.

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