Monday, April 4, 2011

Gallo Pinto - Rice and Beans For Breakfast!

One of the stranger parts of living in Costa Rica for me, was eating rice and beans for breakfast.  I, like so many foreigners, see rice as a dinner-time option.  Here in Costa Rica, this national dish of mixed rice and black bean's is referred to as Gallo Pinto (this literally translates into "Painted Rooster").  It can be eaten at any meal, but when eaten in the mornings for breakfast, it is often served with eggs, plantains, and cheese.  You can see the dish below from a picture I took this past weekend while at a roadside "soda" known as 5 Tecas.  "Sodas" in Costa Rica are the small restaurants you see sprinkled throughout many of its neighborhoods and off most highways.  They serve basic Costa Rican cuisine, are usually open-aired (which means they can get really hot inside), but are usually pretty cheap to eat at.

Soda 5 Tecas (off the highway from Esparza to Miramar)

Gallo Pinto for Breakfast at the 5 Tecas

Gallo Pinto Recipe

After about my third breakfast of Gallo Pinto, I was able to acquire a taste for the dish in the mornings.  While it's a very simple dish, it's also considered nutritious, since rice and beans form a complete protein when combined together.  If you'd like to try your hand at making Gallo Pinto, here is the basic recipe:

2 cup of cooked rice
1 cup of cooked beans
1 chopped onion (small)
1 small chopped red pepper
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tbsp oil
¼ cup chopped cilantro
4 Tbs. Salsa Lizano (a popular Costa Rican condiment developed in 1920. It is slightly sweet, with just a hint of spiciness.  You can use Worcestershire sauce instead but, of course, don’t expect the same taste.)
A pinch of black pepper
1 tbsp of your favorite multi-purpose seasoning

How to prepare:
1. Fry the onion, red pepper, garlic, and cilantro in the vegetable oil until translucent.
2. Pour in the beans and add the sauce, black pepper and seasoning. Let it cook for a few minutes, but don’t let it dry out.
3. Pour in the cooked rice and mix it with the beans.

Lizano Salsa 4.5oz

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