If you are familiar with this warm culture and country, the title above would make sense, well maybe…
In Costa Rica there is a dish so popular an entire day of celebration has been dedicated to it. Gallo Pinto is usually made daily and available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The name means “spotted rooster” in Spanish and it is said that this name was given because of the speckled appearance that comes from rice being cooked with black or red beans.
As easy as this recipe sounds, it took speaking with locals to perfect it. I made the mistake of using plain old white rice like the recipe I found in The Costa Rica Star says and it didn’t look a thing like the pictures that were sent to me by our Tica friend, Lleana Koons, who is quite the culinary genius. I have been told that jasmine rice or long grain brown rice are much better alternatives. Lleana told me that, “For me it is so hard to tell you how much of each ingredient, as we were taught to eyeball the measurement when cooking, which is the norm for every Tico. I just taste the food and in this way I know what else I need in order for it to be tasty!”
So if you want to be adventurous in your kitchen and try to make Gallo Pinto at home, here’s the list of ingredients you would need: long grain rice, black beans, cilantro, white onion, green onion, garlic, red pepper, cilantro, salt, olive oil and of course there is always a secret ingredient, Salsa Lizano (which is featured below, you can pick this hot item up on your trip to Costa Rica, we have yet to find it in the States).
First, you cook the beans in a pressure cooker with enough water, finely chopped onions, garlic, red peppers, cilantro and salt. Cooking time is approximately 25-30 minutes. Next, in a different pot, we make the rice. First add the oil, then the finely chopped onions, cilantro, red peppers, and onions. Fry this for a little bit and then add the rice, salt, and water. Now we will make the Gallo Pinto. In a pan, add more finely chopped onions, cilantro, red peppers, and green onions. Fry this for a little bit and then add the rice and beans. Now add the Salsa Lizano and a little pepper and we have Gallo Pinto. Enjoy!
So… an entire day of celebration for Gallo Pinto? San Jose crowds gather together to eat Gallo Pinto with tortilla, sour cream and other traditional recipes such as sweet bean pie and rice pudding at The Paseo Colon in March every year. According to The Costa Rica Star, “The culinary activity, which showcases the most representative folkloric dish in Costa Rica, was part of the “Smoke-Free Sundays” initiative that the Municipality of San Jose is promoting each year. During each Smoke-Free Sunday, one of the main arteries of downtown San Jose is closed to vehicular traffic. Smoke-Free means that pedestrians are asked to take tobacco products away from the event as well.” Sounds like a wonderful, delicious, and healthy celebration to attend if you happen to be traveling with us this March. There is still time to plan your spring trip with Greenspot to Costa Rica, check out our adventures today!