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How To Make Gallo Pinto, The Recipe for Nicaragua's Signature Dish

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How To Make Gallo Pinto, The Recipe for Nicaragua's Signature Dish

If you've ever been to Nicaragua then you'll surely have gotten a taste of gallo pinto, the country's most emblematic dish. Let's find out how to make it!

 GALLO PINTO, WHAT IS IT?

Gallo pinto is considered the national dish, as Nicaraguans eat it from morning to night regardless of the time of day. This is also a very popular dish in neighboring Costa Rica.

Although its name means "spotted rooster" in Spanish, this dish contains no trace of chicken and it is 100% vegetarian. In fact, gallo pinto consists of white rice and red beans. Simple but effective.

THE GALLO PINTO RECIPE

To prepare this gallo pinto recipe for 4 people, you will need:

- 1 cup of dried red beans
- 1 cup of long-grain rice
- 1/4 cup of vegetable oil  
- 2 garlic cloves
- Salt

1. Start by pouring the dried red beans into a large bowl. Rinse, drain and cover with water. Soak for at least 12 hours and change the water midway.

2. Once the 12 hours have elapsed, rinse the red beans and place them in a large pot. Cover with water by 2 inches. Add the two garlic cloves. Bring to a boil then simmer the beans for 2 to 3 hours until tender. Turn off the heat and salt the beans generously. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain the red beans.

3. Pour the rice into a colander and rinse until the water is clear.

4. Pour half the oil into a saucepan. When hot, add the rice and fry for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. When the water boils, cover and turn down on low heat. Cook until the rice has absorbed all the water. 

5. Pour the remaining oil in a pan and heat. Add the drained beans and leave on high heat stirring regularly. When the rice is cooked, pour it over the beans and mix. Cook again for 5 minutes, stirring. 

Notes:

Depending on the season and the time of day, gallo pinto is served with scrambled eggs, plantains or toast.

Other common additions to gallo pinto include sautéed onions, green bell peppers, and/or chicken broth. 

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