Cuisine in Nicaragua, Food, Recipes, Culture
The majority of Nicaraguan culinary dishes date back to pre-Colombian times and as a result are a mixture of interesting dishes and unusual ingredients. When colonists arrived in Nicaragua, they found that the Creole people living here had made ample use of the foods available in the area. The varied menu that was present then and is still used today is a delicious mixture of soups, meats and sweets that reflect the mixed ancestry of the Creole people.
One of the most fundamental components of Nicaraguan food is corn. It has long been used by the indigenous tribes who lived in the area and is still every bit as popular today. It permeates all aspects of cuisine in Nicaragua and you will find it in the most unexpected places. Corn is used to make drinks such as Chicha and Pinol. It is also used in the Nacatamal, Indio Viejo and Sopa de Albondiga dishes that are commonly served as a main meal. Popular sweets featuring this dynamic vegetable include Atolillo and Perrereque.
However there is much more to be found in Nicaraguan cuisine than just corn. A largely tropical country, there is a wealth of fruits to be found that are used widely in the kitchen. Traditional foods generally feature jacote, mango, papaya, tamarind, pipian, banans, avocados, yucca roots, quequisque roots as well as cilantro, oregano and achiote herbs. However Nicaraguans do not limit their dishes to that found only in their own country. Ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, garlic, flour, rice, oranges, mustard, mayonnaise, milk, cheese, vanilla and cinnamon have found their way into Nicaraguan dishes in the most wonderful ways.
Nicaraguan culture also shuns wastefulness and so many foreigners will often be surprised to find them using a cow’s tail, udder, stomach, brain or testicles in a dish while the skin, hoofs and blood of a pig are sometimes used. It is good to keep in mind that these dishes are not commonly offered in restaurants. Nicaraguans also eat turtle eggs, lizards, armadillos and boas, but as all these creatures are threatened with extinction efforts are being made to curb this tendency.