Friday, July 12, 2013

Nicaraguan Taste + Tortillas

Hello I'm back again with another exciting recipe, and this time it's one that I should of done a long time ago, but sadly always that I wanted to do it some other recipe crossed my mind and then I skipped it, however this time is going up finally.

So it's tortilla time! This is how we make tortillas back in Nicaragua. Tortillas are pretty much an all time basic starch just like rice. In Nicaragua however not everyone makes them at home but there are "tortilla shops" technically folks that sell tortillas for a living, most of them being women they start rather early in the morning as tortillas are most popular to go along with breakfast, some also sell in the evening when people have dinner.

It's a starch that has a very big presence on Nicaraguan food and it's widely use for many dishes and side dishes, so it's a must to know how to make them, however there's another detail, the traditional way of making tortillas is by boiling dry corn seeds in salty water, with some ashes then when the corn is soft they strain the water and mill it adding a bit of fresh water so it forms a paste and from that paste they make the tortillas.

Now there's a simpler way of making them and this is what people that make them at home mostly use which is the same paste but it comes in a powder form, and it's called Maseca, you could call it corn flour but it's not completely corn flour it's different, so it's the closest you can get to an authentic tortilla. Now depending on where you live this may be or not available, if you're in the USA then you're likely to find it on Mexican food shops or any Central American food shop, but if you're outside the USA then you have less chances to find it so then again you can find something similar which is a corn flour called Harina Pan, but try to get the Maseca because it's the real deal.

That being said let's get to the recipe!

serves 4

For this you will need

Maseca Flour (alterntive Harina Pan)
2 Plastic bags

To cook

First we need to get the flour into a dough, you can follow the instructions on the back of the bag, I don't really use measurements unless I'm baking, but I calculate most of the time how much I'm going to need.
So I use around 500 grams of Maseca and I just add water until I have a nice dough not very soft but still moldable and moist.

Now the reason you'll need plastic bags is because the dough is very sticky and it works as a base as well for the tortilla so supermarket bags should work fine or any medium sizes bag just cut a circle out of them you'll need about 4

Once you're done with that you can start to make the tortillas!

Start by simply grabbing some dough and make a ball, it can be the size of a tennis ball try to use about the same amount of dough all the time so the tortillas look even

What I do is that I make the balls first, so I have them as even as possible and I also can see which ones are bigger or smaller

So if you're not too sure about your calculation I'd recommend you to do that first

Once you're done grab one of the plastic circles you made and put the ball on the center of the circle and then press it down

Now a little note, the tortillas are hand made so it's better to do it that way trying to use a rolling pin will not work so it's a bit of hard work but just remember that the folk at the "tortilla shops" can produce 2 per minute hehe.
Now with one hand give the round shape and with the other press down the dough like in the picture.

Keep doing that until you have around a quarter of a centimeter of thickness.

I'd recommend to first use all your plastic circles so you don't struggle too much, so meanwhile your tortilla is cooking you use that time to shape the remaining dough balls and as you cook the tortillas you free your circles so it's like a synced process.

Now to cook them, in Nicaragua the "tortilla shops" have grills and on top the have a flat metal plate, they add a bit of oil to it and then with a cloth they spread it and quickly throw the tortilla in the plate putting it in their hand so the plastic circle is up then they take of the circle and throw the tortilla in the metal plate
Just like in the pic to the right, if you have something similar then it's fine to use however if you don't a non-stick pan should do the job, but there's another detail, that you need it pretty hot so yeah I'd recommend as well to turn off for a while your smoke detectors and or have a window open and have air flowing in because your kitchen can get pretty smoky, I'd also recommend to use an old pan you don't want to ruin a nice pan so a pan that you don't use too much is better, just in case

So your tortilla should be looking like this before you cook it not perfectly round but with a nice circular shape

So first get your pan really hot then add a little bit of oil, and with some kitchen paper spread out the oil, here is when it gets smoky but it's fine nothing to worry then put the tortilla in your hand and remove the plastic it should come off pretty easily then just quickly turn your hand and throw the tortilla on the pan.

Reduce the heat now from high to medium-high and let it cook each side for 2 minutes

Then wet in cold water the tip of a cooking cloth and push the tortilla down.
This generates vapor inside of it so it cooks evenly, do this before you take the tortilla off the pan, but let it cook for a few seconds after you pushed the tortilla with the wet cloth

It should look like this pic below when it's ready.

Then take the tortilla off the pan and repeat the process until you get them all! I'd recommend starting with some time because sometimes some recipes are very tricky and this one is no exception and there are a lot of terms in here that will confuse one or two people.

But you know it's my job to keep you entertained!

So that being said once you're done then off it's just time to relax and enjoy your very own hand made tortillas

As always I hope you enjoy this recipe, and if you like it then why not share it?! That's the best way to help my blog! If you have any suggestions, comments or just simply are wondering about something write a comment below or email me, you can find more info in the contact section! Happy cooking!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Nicarguan Taste + Guiso De Pipian

Hello! I'm bringing you a very nice stew today it's one very of our own and it's one good thing when it comes to a very bad rainy weather like here in Bergen, although this city has some of the best sunny days most of the time it's raining, so for those days when you feel in a bad mood why not eat something that'll put a smile on your face?

I was a little skeptical about this recipe a few years ago, long before I wanted to be a chef and did all this blogging, I didn't even liked to cook so I was always in the mood of I don't want to try this and that but I finally tasted it and boy it was good, so don't feel too insecure about eating something new you never know when you'll find out something very tasty!

One more thing! I use a white squash that in my country we call it Pipian and this is the main ingredient so I don't really know how it's called in English. Pardon me but I'll leave you a photo down here so you can check it out!

Serves 4

For this you will need

2 White squash ( Pipian in Nicaragua)
Half a bell pepper
A quarter of an onion
2 Tomatoes
100 ml of double cream (you can also use 3% fat milk)
2 Eggs

To cook

First remove the the tip and the bottom of the squash then cut them in two, in a pot with water (half filled it's fine) set them to boil and leave them boiling at a medium heat for about 10 to 12 min or until the center is transparent.

Once they're done remove them from the water, these things absorb a lot of water so place them in a cutting board in a place where they can drain. I recommend you to let them drain for about 20 mins so they're good to go

Meanwhile cut your veggies cut the tomatoes, the bell pepper and the onion as I always show you, when you're done with that proceed to cut the squash as I show you in the pic below as well

Add oil to a pan and then add the veggies and the squash saute them lightly at a medium heat and then add the cream or the milk, let it reduce a little just like in the pics in left

Let it reduce for 3 minutes. Then add the butter and stir the veggies so all gets mixed well

Let it reduce a bit more for another 3 minutes at a low heat and then add the eggs. Now to clarify something, the original recipe has eggs on it, but some people don't like the texture and the look that the eggs give to the stew, so it's optional, however the eggs give it another flavor, I recommend adding the eggs but then again it's your choice, that doesn't mean that it tastes bad without them ;)

So once you add the eggs stir well, let the eggs cook at a low heat once the eggs are cooked let it rest form some minutes and serve!

You can serve this with rice, it also works rather good as a vegetarian dish, no meat in here!
You can also serve it with both rice and boiled plantain.

So for the rice recipe click here

I still haven't got anything for boiled plantain but if you want to do it
Just click here it's basically the same thing peel off the skin but this time
cut the plantain in half vertically and then horizontally set a small
pot with water and let it boil until soft, to check just pinch
the plantain with a fork and if it goes through easily then they are
ready to go

As always I hope you enjoy the recipe, I'm always open to any kind of feedback, so if you are wondering about something or need more explanation just write a comment below or email me. Happy Cooking :) !

Friday, January 25, 2013

Nicaraguan Taste + Maduro Frito

Maduro Frito is basically fried mature plantains, a dish of it's own, although is not really a dish but more of a side for many Nicaraguan dishes, they are sweet and delicious whether you boil them or fry them always are very good treats

serves 4

For this you will need

4 Plantains ( if you're not sure about buying them, you can ask in any Mexican food store for Plantanos Machos)

To cook

If you  have a deep fat fryer then it will come in handy, if you don't then use a pot you wil require a lot of oil for this one 

Peel off the skin cut in circles or basically what ever form you want to it's optional then proceed to fry until the center is soft, You want to star to fry in hot oil and after lower the heat to a medium temperature.

When cooked place in a plate with some kitchen paper to absorb excess oil and serve!

Sadly I don't have pics for this I just have one when finished I hope it gives you guys an idea I promise to upload some photos asap! Happy Cooking

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Hello it's been a month since I last uploaded a recipe and I'm hoping to upload something by this next week but I've been busy with a lot of things, for example my double bass lessons etc. So I can't promise anything but I'll try my best to keep you guys updated with new recipes at a shorter period of time As I always I hope you enjoy your stay in my blog. Happy cooking!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Nicaraguan Taste + Pico de Gallo

Hello this is part of my special Carne Asada so it's part of a several dishes dish, although those aren't much complicated, so this is Pico de Gallo it's not Nicaraguan of course but we eat it too and it's great for tortilla chips and stuff like that

So if you want something hot and strong this comes in handy

For this you will need

3 Tomatoes
1 Onion
Cilantro leafs
1 Lime

To make

This is a very straight-forward dish so it's not that complicated, start off chopping your tomatoes in very small dices the smallest you can, do the same with the cilantro leafs and your onion

 Add the juices of the lime, a half does the trick and finally add salt to taste and you're done! some people like to ad chili to it but I'm not a big fan of chili but if you like you can add to it.

As always I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you like it then why not share it it helps me and my blog a lot.

Thanks and happy cooking!

Nicaraguan Taste + Platano Asado

Hello I'm back and as you probably know it this is part of my Carne Asada special so this is basically grilled plantain and we serve it traditionally with Carne Asada as Pico de Gallo it's very straight froward, and easy to do, it might be a little difficult when it comes to when it already cooked or not but you might want to cook these in a medium low heat, just in case.

We eat a lot of plantain whether it's fried, boiled or grilled, and we have lot's of uses to it and many different ways to eat it and of course many dishes that this very humble plantain goes with. So to not bother you anymore here it is

serves 4

For this you will need

4 Plantains

To cook

First take off the shell, to do so with the tip of your knife make a cut, lift up a little bit the shell and start to run your finger up and down releasing the shell

Once you're done with that make little cuts in one side of each plantain this will help to get them cooked faster.

Once done lay down in the grill and try to cook them evenly but don't turn them too often because they are hard to get done sometimes, to know when they're done, cut a little piece and if inside it's white and soft it's done if it's pink or a strong yellow keep cooking them.

Nicaraguan Taste + Carne Asada

Hello I'm back sorry for the delay but I couldn't make an agreement with the weather around here and I had to postpone this recipe for several days but finally there was a nice weather for me to grill. So as always I hope you enjoy this recipe, happy cooking!

Carne Asada (Roast Beef) it's one of a kind, long strips of meat in a charcoal grill equal heaven. To me it has a really special place in my heart and I always loved it, specially when my grandmother made it for us. Served with Gallo Pinto, Maduro Frito or Platano Asado/Frito and salad sometimes in the famous Fritangas they and more things to like Pico de Gallo, but it is also commonly added fried cheese

Fritangas are small places where people sell this kind of food, in Managua you can find thousands, but you know which ones sell good food and which ones not but it's common to find them in the streets selling to people passing by.

So Carne Asada in a nutshell is our answer to fast and delicious food whether you're coming from work or just want to have a delight, this is the number one dish

serves 4

For this you will need

3 Cloves of garlic
2 Lb of rib eye (see picture below for the cut of meat)
4 Tbs of olive oil
1 Lime

To Cook

First cut your meat in long strips, just like a spiral begin to cut around until you end with a nice long strip of meat, after that cut the strip into smaller portion sized ones like in the picture

Now for the marinade, in bowl add in your garlic, peel it and crush it, with a garlic crusher, add the olive oil, and the lime juice. Now the lime is very strong so a half is enough, add salt and pepper to taste and leave to rest for several minutes as it ensures that all the flavors and ingredients will do their work!

This is a special I'm doing so I'm going to do multiple recipes at once you can choose whether you want to them all or do just one or two, so it's up to you, but if you're doing them all then in the meantime you can make the other ones which are Gallo PintoPlatano Asado and Pico de Gallo

I recommend to start with the pico de gallo and to get someone to help you out, and the gallo pinto you need to check first that recipe out because you have to do the rice and the beans one day in advance, and once you checked that you're ready to go

Once you've got your grill nice and hot lay down the strips, if can get a charcoal grill that'll be perfect but you can use whatever you have if that's the case, I used a electric grill, but still there's nothing like charcoal for this dish. Note: If you're using a gas grill be careful! olive oil and flames don't mix! lay down the meat strips carefully always away from your face! and try to take out excess oil so the flames don't burst so much.

Finally try to get a nice color on the meat turn the meat over once in a while keep checking the color, it has to be a nice golden brown

Here is a photo to give you an idea on how we plate it and as always I hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as I do and if you like it then why not share it it helps me and my blog a lot and if you have any suggestions you're welcome to make them just let me know in the comments or by email

Have a nice day!