Nicaraguan Food includes the dishes and drinks consumed in Republic of Nicaragua, a country in Central America. Nicaraguan Food is a blend of traditional recipes and Spanish and Creole cuisines. The foreign influences in Nicaraguan cuisine are a result of foreign settlers who brought their recipes to the land. The country's Pacific coast region has foods more focused on ingredients like corn and fresh fruits, while Caribbean coast regions consume more of seafood. Coconut is also an important ingredient here.
Ingredients Commonly Used in Nicaraguan Food
Fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally have been a part of traditional Nicaraguan food, even before the coming of the Spanish settlers. Mango, papaya, banana, avocado, tamarind, mimbro, jocote, grosella and yucca are some examples. Herbs like oregano, achiote and culantro are also used in Nicaraguan cuisine. Coconut is used in various forms in Nicaraguan food.
Corn is a staple food in Nicaraguan cuisine. Corn is consumed in various forms, as an ingredient in dishes like nacatamal and in drinks like pinolillo. It is also used to prepare various types of desserts.
Popular Nicaraguan Dishes
Here are some of the popular dishes amongst many others, which form a part of Nicaraguan food.
· Albondigas: It is a meatball made of ground meat and spices.
· Arroz a la Valenciana: It is a dish made of rice, chorizo, chicken, onion, tomato, red bell pepper, salt, pepper, butter, beer and white wine.
· Chicharron: It is made of pork rinds which have been fried. Sometimes chicken, mutton or beef may also be used.
· Gallo pinto: It is a traditional dish of Nicaragua, and is often eaten at breakfast. It is made by frying together pre-cooked rice and beans. There are many variations to its recipe, and some recipes suggest use of onions and cilantros.
· Nacatamal: It consists of spiced dough that is filled with chicken or pork, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, garlic, rice and mint leaves. It is steamed or cooked in a pressure cooker.
- Pinolillo: It is a traditional drink of Nicaragua. It is prepared with toasted corn and cacao, and is served sweetened or unsweetened. The drink is also used as an ingredient for certain dishes of Nicaraguan cuisine.
Health Benefits of Nicaraguan Food
Food of Nicaragua is a rich source of a range of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as many healthy antioxidants, on account of the many fresh fruits and vegetables used to prepare it. Corn, a staple part of Nicaraguan food, is known to be helpful in heart and kidney diseases, as well as in conditions of anemia and constipation.