Friday, October 23, 2009

Costa Rica: Typical Food

The most common food for Costa Ricans are black beans and rice. This simple, standard dish is the backbone of Costa Rican cuisine. Regarding Tico's eating habits, it is important to mention that Ticos make lunch the main meal of the day.
A typical meal is the casado, consisting of rice and beans, meat or fish, fried plantains, tomato, and cabbage salad. In Costa Rica for breakfast, it is common to eat a dish of black beans and rice (gallo pinto) seasoned with onions and peppers, accompanied by fried eggs, or fried plantains, sour cream, and corn tortillas. Some people like to accompany this breakfast with orange juice. However, there are certain families that prefer to take a cup of coffee and a piece of bread.
Another really common meal in Costa Rica is Olla de carne, this is a delicious stew made with beef, potatoes, carrots, chayote (vegetable pear), plantains and yucca.
On the other hand, Sopa negra is a simple soup made with black beans.
Vegetables are utilized mostly in soups and stews. Corn is usually prepared in the form of tortillas and corn pancakes. Corn on the cob is sometimes roasted; this is what Ticos call elote asado. Another way to eat corn is preparing it as a pudding, this is known as Masamorra. Besides, Ticos sometimes make chorreadas, which can be considered a kind of corn pancakes.

Empanadas are corn turnovers filled with beans or cheese, or maybe with mashed potatoes or meat. And Patacones are fried mashed plantains with a liberal sprinkling of salt.
Fruits found in Costa Rica include papaya, mango, pineapple, watermelon, melon, blackberries, lemon, guava, passion fruit, avocados, among others. Marañon is another fruit found in this country, its skin is bitter, but its flesh is delicious. Zapotes are a brown fruit resembling an oversized avocado in appearance and texture. Unlike the avocado, their pulp is very sweet and bright red-orange in color. Guanábanas are textured, they are green. This kind of fruit has fibrous flesh. Many people prefer this fruit as a juice or with milk.
Pipas (green coconuts) are really popular among Ticos. By chopping the top with a machete and tapping the hollow core with a straw, you have a refreshing drink. The pejibaye, a relative of the coconut, is a bizarre fruit. Its flesh is thick and fibrous. They are usually boiled in salt water, peeled, halved, and then eaten.
The manzana de agua is a red, pear-shaped fruit that is full of juice and quite refreshing. Starfruit is a yellow fruit, when it is cut across makes slices that look like five-pointed stars. The taste is lightly sweet and juicy. It is very common used to make a refreshing drink.
Regarding meat, steaks can be found at many restaurants in Costa Rica. Fresh seafood is more readily available near the coasts, though shrimp and lobster are offered throughout most of the country. Among the most common types of fish which are eaten in Costa Rica are the corvine, dorado, and swordfish. As a common appetizer, Ceviche is a dish of raw fish marinated in lemon juice with cilantro and onions.

It is also common to eat Tortilla de queso, which is a thick tortilla with cheese. The Arroz con pollo (rice with chicken and vegetables) is also eaten really frequently; as well as Picadillos; which are sautéed vegetables sometimes with meat. And during Christmas most Ticos prepare Tamales, this is a cornmeal, often stuffed with pork or chicken, wrapped in banana leaves and boiled.
As sweets Ticos eat cajetas de coco, which are prepared with coconut.
The traditional breakfast drink, besides coffee, is called agua dulce ("sweet water") and is made from tapa de dulce. Sugar cane juice is boiled down in traditional trapiches and put to solidify in conical molds, called tapas ("lids"). Then some of this tapa is scraped off and dissolved into boiling water or milk to make the agua dulce.
Coffee is frequently served at breakfast and during traditional coffee breaks in the afternoon, usually around 3:00pm.

Recipes: Costa Rican Typical Food ________________________________________
"Flor de Itabo"

This flower comes from a tree with the same name. This tree is located in the rural countryside. It has a characteristic bitter flavor and it is reduced by removing the center and using only the petals of the flower.
Basic Recipe:
1- Wash the petals
2- Cook in water until boiling
3- Put a bit of salt and wring them out.
Itabo Flower with egg:
1- 1 bunch of flowers
2- 2 eggs
3- ½ chopped onion
4- Bit of salt and oil
Warm up the frying pan with oil, add the onion. Then put in the flowers and the beaten eggs with pick of salt. It is ready when the egg is cooked. It is usually accompanied with tortillas.


"Picadillo de Arracache"

Normally, it is accompanied with meat and vegetables.
1- 1 k of arracache
2- Boil it with a bit of salt
3-1/2 chopped and boiled pork post
4- 4 chopped potatoes, boiled in water
5- 4 clove garlic cut very thin
6- 1 big onion cut very thin
7- 1 sweet pepper
8- 1 roll of cilantro
9- 2 big tomatoes in pieces
10- 3 spoons of vegetable oil
11- Pepper, cumin, oregano, salt for your choice.
Put oil in a pot. Fry the garlic, the chili and the onion.
Then add the tomatoes and the meat. Let it cook until it forms a sauce. Add the salt and all the flavoring. Finally add the arracache, the potatoes and put them in a slow fire. Dry it well and incorporate the cilantro.


This food is for any hour of the day. The yucca is very famous on Costa Ricans cuisine.
1- Peel and cut 1 k of yucca.
2-2 eggs
3- 4 flour spoons
4-1 cup of grated cheese.
Cook the yucca with water and salt until they are soft. Make a puree with it and add the eggs, the flour and the cheese. They can also fill up with different things:
a- Fill with: cheese and pepper cut in pieces.
b- Fill with: ground meet cooked with onion, sweet pepper, garlic, celery and cilantro.
c- Fill with: wring up tuna.

"Tamal Asado"

Specially for drinking coffee, it is a sweet dessert.
1- 1/2 corn pastry.
2- 1/4 grated cheese
3- 1 egg
4- 1 cup of sugar
5- 1 cup of cream
6- 1 ½ cup of sour milk
7- 1/2 butter bar
8- 1 cup of grated coconut
It is easily prepared just mix all the ingredients with a spoon. Put them to cook, mix them and when it starts to boil put it to bake.

"Carne en Salsa"

Normally this food is for having lunch. It is eaten with rice and salad.
1- 2 lb of meat in pieces
2-1/2 onion
3-1/2 sweet pepper
4- 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
5- 1 or 2 clove of garlic in bits
6- Salt and species to taste
7- 4 tomatoes
8- 2 spoonful of Lizano sauce (Costa Rican special sauce)
Cook the meat with 3 or 4 cups of water. Put one spoonful with salt, onion, sweet pepper, cilantro, garlic, and tomatoes. When the meat is cooked, remove the juice. Add the condiments and the Lizano.


The Chilera is spicy; normally it is to combine with the lunch.
1-12 small hot peppers
2-3 large carrots sliced in thin round pieces
3-2 large onions sliced in thin pieces
4-1/2 of a cauliflower chopped in small pieces
5-8 ounces of your favorite fruit vinegar
6-1 cucumber sliced
Combine all the vegetables, hot peppers and enough vinegar to fill a container.
Refrigerate for about two weeks until the vegetables and vinegar have absorbed the flavor of the hot peppers.
Used when serving rice and bean dishes and other meals. Shake on or add a few drops of the vinegar to the meal, or add to a soup.

"Arroz con Leche"

The rice with milk is a dessert done slowly cooking rice with milk and with sugar. It is eaten cold or warm.
1-2 cup of rice
2-1 big can of sweet condensed milk
3-1 big can of evaporated milk
4-2 cups of milk
5-1 cups of sugar
6- cinnamon
8- currants
9-1/2 butter bar
Put the rice to rest for 1 hour in water with cinnamon. Add milk and cook it for 1/2 hour. Do not leave the rice to get dried (if this happens add more milk or water). Remove every two or three minutes so that it does not stick.
Add the sugar. Cook for 10 minutes.
Add condensed and evaporated milk. Cook it for 15 minutes more and let it rest.

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