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 also a popular emergency-dish among Nicaraguans since it is so swift and easy to prepare, e.g. when you get unexpected guests or need a quick snack.
I had eaten vigorón on the street and in the homes of multiple families before i ever tried to make it myself. The first time i tried to make the dish i used a recipe i had received from a friend in Nicaragua. Unfortunately i did not really like the result as the cilantro was to over powering and the dish didn’t taste as crisp as i like it to. I went through a number of other recipes before i finally found one i like that you can read below. I found the recipe in a very unlikely place. On the Swedish website matkasse.se which is not the first place i would think to look for good Nicaraguan recipes.
- 4 lbs of chicharron de cerdo, which is a type of fried pork rind or pork crackling. Nicaraguans in a hurry purchase this ready-made at the local market, but you can of course make your own as well. Simply cook pork rind on low heat in a pot without adding any grease. The pork will gradually release its own grease during the cooking process. Let the pork cook until it’s brown and crunchy; this will normally take around three hours since the heat is so low. Cut the pork into small pieces before serving it or using it to make vigorón.
- 4 lbs of cassava / yucca
- 1 head of garlic
- Salt to taste
- Oregano to taste
- 1 rolls of fresh cilantro (if you like Cilantro you should use 3 rolls instead of 1. If you dislike cilantro you can ignore it completely.)
- 3 lbs of ripe tomatoes
- ½ lbs of onion
- 1 red pepper
- 15 limes for juice + 5 limes for slices
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Salt and cumin to taste
- 4 lbs of cabbage
- 10 tropical almond tree leaves
How to make vigorón
1.) Peal the cassava and cut it into 2 inch long pieces.
2.) Place the cassava in a pot and fill up with water until the water is 1 inch above the cassava.
3.) Boil the cassava. When it starts getting soft, add a whole head of garlic, salt and oregano.
4.) When the cassava is soft, drain the water and leave the cassava to cool down.
5.) Chop cilantro, tomatoes, onion and red pepper into thin pieces. Place in a bowl and mix them together.
6.) Squeeze 15 limes and save the juice.
8.) Mix the juice with the sugar and pour into the bowl.
9.) Add salt, pepper and cumin to taste.
10.) Chop the cabbage.
11.) Slice the 5 remaining limes.
11.) Place each tropical almond tree leaf on a plate.
12.) On each leaf, place an ample amount of chopped cabbage before adding three pieces of cassava, two pieces of chicharron and four tablespoons of the vegetable mix.
13.) Serve the vigorón with slices of lime that each person squeezes over his or her own dish.
A plate isn’t really necessary; you can eat vigorón by placing the leaf in one hand and scoping up the ingredients with the other. If you can’t find Indian almond leaves, banana leaves will work just as well.
Vigorón or Vaho/Bajo?
Vigorón and Vaho (also known as Bajo) are very similar, but vigorón isn’t pressured cooked.