Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls might not be the first thing you think about when you think about a tropical paradise such as Nicaragua. Cinnamon rolls are however a common sight in Nicaragua. You can buy them in any supermarket and many smaller stores. The cinnamon roll was brought to Nicaragua by German immigrants. Nicaragua is home to…

Arroz con piña Recipe

Arroz con piña literary means rice with pineapple in Spanish and that is exactly what this drink contains. Using rice in a drink might sound a bit bizarre, but it is actually delicious. The drink is very easy to make and can be prepared in advance so you don’t have to mix anything while enjoying…

Chicha de Maíz Recipe

Chicha de Maiz is a fermented beverage made from corn. Long before slow-cooking became a household phrase among the stressed out urbanites of wealthy countries like Canada and the United States, the Nicaraguans knew that a good Chicha de Maíz drink can’t be hurried. If you want to make this recipe you need to start…

Gaubul Recipe

Gaubul is a typical drink of Caribbean Nicaragua and is virtually unknown in the rest of the country. The drink is based on green banana and coconut water; two ingredients that are easy to find along the coast. Green plantains are cooked and then mashed in water. Add milk and coconut water, and a touch…

Macua Drink Recipe

The Macua is the national drink of Nicaragua. It is a fresh slightly sour drink that perfectly balance the sweetness of the guava with the sourness of the lemon. Brazil has its legendary caïpirinha. Peruvian bartenders serve up pisco sour all night long and who would go to Cuba without trying the local mojito? However,…

Tres Leches Recipe

Tres Leches means ”three milks” and is a reference to the three types of diary used to make this dessert: condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cream. The origin of this cake is disputed, with culinary historians being divided between Mexico and Nicaragua. Today, the cake is eaten all over Central America and has begun to…

Rosquillas Recipe

In the westernmost part of Nicaragua close to the Honduran border lays a small town noted for Rosquillas and other gastronomic specialities – El Viejo.  El Viejo is located in the sugar producing department of Chinandega,  The town has developed a rich assortment of sweet pastries made from locally grown produce. There is for instance cajeta…

Caribbean Rice and Beans Recipe

Caribbean Rice and Beans is a dish that is mainly eaten on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. The Caribbean coast of Nicaragua distinguishes itself from the rest of the country in several notable ways. The majority languages are English and Creole rather than Spanish, and the residing population traces their ancestry back to Native American…

Nacatamal Recipe

Nacatamal is a big Central American version of the Mexican tamale. A nacatamal always contain maize dough, rice, potatoes, meat and vegetables but the exact ingredients vary from family the family. Below you will find a basic recipe that you can use for further experimentation. You can for instance substitute or complement the pork with…

Rondon Recipe

Rondon is a hopscotch stew prepared from whatever you happen to catch or find that day. Traditionally, this has meant whatever the fisherman brought in today + some meat from land animals like wild bore and birds + locally grown vegetables like yucca, plantain, onion, sweet pepper and spicy pepper. Since this is the Caribbean,…

Sopa de Mondongo Recipe

Sopa de mondongo is a rich soup served in Latin America and the Caribbean. Based around the slow-cooked stomach of a cow, each region has developed their own variant of this nourishing dish depending on locally available vegetables and spices. Soups like this one is a great way of making sure that no part of…

Vigorón Recipe

If you walk the streets of Granada, the oldest colonial town of the Americas, you will sooner or later encounter a street vendor serving up vigorón from her cart. Invented in Granada, vigorón is a popular and very filling Nicaraguan fast-food that can be eaten with the fingers without any need for utensils. Vigorón is…

Quesillo Recipe

The quesillo is  originally from Nagarote and La Paz Centro in the department of León, but  is now enjoyed all over the country. The word literary means “little cheese” and the basic ingredients are always Nicaraguan cheese, tortilla, onions and vinegar. In the rapid, pun-filled Spanish spoken in Nicaragua, the phrase “claro que si” (of…

Indio Viejo Recipe

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, although my particular recipe below uses beef since that is what most Nicaraguans put in their…

Gallo Pinto Recipe

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, often with slight variations depending on what the family have grown themselves…

How to make coconut milk from coconuts

It is possible to give any dish more of a coconut flavor by letting it simmer in coconut milk. You simply add the coconut milk together with the chicken broth; the more milk the stronger the taste. If you use a lot of coconut milk, decrease the amount of chicken broth accordingly.  Along the Atlantic…

Nicaragua Food

Just like many other parts of Nicaraguan society, Nicaraguan food is a blend of clashing cultures. The people living in the region before the arrival of the Europeans utilized locally available foods, such as fish along the shorelines, wild pecari in the dense forests and of course the emblematic maize produced in arable parts of the landscape.

European influence on Nicaraguan food

When the Europeans arrived they brought many American products back to Europe, such as cacao and vanilla, but they also introduced a wide range of Old World crops to Central America, including important staples like plantain, yam and wheat.

African influence

Last but not least, Nicaraguan cuisine has been heavily influenced by Africans brought to Latin America as slaves. This African heritage is especially noticeable along the Nicaraguan Atlantic coast; a traditional haven for escaped or shipwrecked slaves that established their own communities and intermingled with the local Amerindians. Recent studies also suggest that African slaves working at the plantations played a more active role in establishing rice, especially of the African variety, in the New World than previously thought.

Food with African influences are often made with locally available ingredients. If you eat a certain type of food in Nicaragua it will not be identical to the African dish that influenced it. It will be a Nicaraguan version of the dish mad with local ingredients. There are some exceptions to this rule. An example of this is the African tilapia fish. Tilapia have escaped from fish farms and are present in most rivers and lakes. This makes it possible for the local population to prepare a dish that is true to its origin using local caught fish. Fish that they can catch themselves from local rivers.

The development of food in nicaragua

As the cuisine of wealthier countries started to shift from sustenance to consumers that favored prime rib, sirloin and chuck, and turned their noses up on sheep testicles, cow tripe and pork marrow, the harsh economic realities of everyday life in Nicaragua made such an attitude impossible. To this day, Nicaraguan cuisine is characterized by utilizing locally produced foods and using every last piece of fare to the absolute maximum. Cow belly is turned into sopa de mondongo, locally grown peppers and achiote (Bixa orellana) is used to add color and flavor to a dish, and a wide range of different maize variants are cultivated to make anything from basic tortilla and tamales to candy and fermented drinks. Today, these ancient foods are celebrated for their high nutritional value and the Nicaraguan food philosophy is put forward as an environmentally friendly alternative to the wasteful practices of richer countries.

IMPORTANT: About old nicaraguan recipes

If you come across an old Nicaraguan recipe that contains meat from an endangered species, please substitute with something else since the endangered animals of Nicaragua need to be left in the wild. This includes sea turtles and their eggs, as well as several types of lizards and snakes. Lizard and snake meat can easily be replaced with chicken for a very similar experience. Sea turtles can be substituted for a more gamy bird such as turkey. Paca & Augoti can be replaced with rabbit meat.