Costa Rica is a wonderful country with a vibrant culture and some distinctive cuisine. In our prevous article, we discussed a few traditional dishes unique to Costa Rica that we felt every visitor to Costa Rica should try. At this time, we would like to share a few more dishes with you to add to your list.
Olla De Carne, a traditional beef stew is a weekend staple food in many Costa Rican households. This is a food often served at family gatherings as it is difficult to make in smaller portions due to long cooking time and the large amount of vegetables. Beef is simmered for several hours with an assortment of vegetables that could include yucca, potatoes, chayote, carrots, corn, or plantains. As with several other Costa Rican dishes, this wonderful stew is often served with beans and rice on the side.
Picadillos, or vegetable hash, is a great introduction to the bounty of food that grows in Costa Rica. This is a simple homestyle hash-a mix of chopped vegetables sauteed in fat with stocks, onions, herbs, and seasonings. The name of the dish will always reflect the predominant vegetable in the mixture-such as picadillo de vainitas-which is primarily green beans. Picadillos are usually served over white rice-sometimes with a protein such as ground beef or a nice chorizo. Another common variation is to serve this with tortillas to make gallos-which is a Costa Rican interpretation of the taco-making this simple dish into a hearty meal.
Chorreadas are traditional Costa Rican corn pancakes. These can be made sweet or savory, and are a common breakfast item at sodas (small single family run local restaurants.) In traditional versions, the corn is ground by hand. Today’s versions are much more likely to be prepared in a food processor and thickened with flour and egg. Sweet versions are topped with honey or syrup, and savory versions are topped with natilla, which is similar to sour cream.
Ceviche is a dish made from lime cured raw fish or shellfish which is added to a mixture of chopped onion, diced tomato, garlic, and chopped cilantro. This dish originated in Peru, but the Costa Rican version differs in that the fish tends to be marinated in the citrus juice much longer, which results in a more opaque and less raw tasting final product.Locals like this with some tabasco sauce or ketchup for flavor. This dish is made with peeled shrimp or sea bass, but can be made with any firm white raw seafood, including blood clams.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to a few more Costa Rican dishes to try while you are visiting.