Craving for Caribe or how to travel trough food

So, like I Told You people at the beginning of this blog, i made an amazing backpacker trip trough Central America, and off course one of the highlights was the food. I must admit that before the trip I did not know much about the food of some countries, so I found very pleasant surprises. I was also  surprised and delighted to find so many  vegetarian dishes and street snacks,  except for Mexico, where i found myself really frustrated when i discovered that they eat lots of meat.

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Crunchy tostones
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Blue corn tortillas. Love the idea of eating something blue

It was also very interesting to find all the ingredients that these countries have in common, and even in common with us South Americans, and see the different ways of cooking the same ingredient, such as bananas, coconuts, corn and beans.

Of course the Caribbean sea and Central American countries are plagued by marine delicacies for those who decide to enjoy them, but the flavors left in me were the crunchy and salty Colombian patacones or tostones, the pleasant Gallo Pinto at breakfast time  in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, the incredible blue corn tortillas in Guatemala’s markets, and Mexican avocados! among other thousands of things!

So today I decided to make a mix of the food i loved during my trip ( and that goes along together perfectly) because through the flavors I want to transport myself to the beaches, the turquoise warm water, the humid jungle, the faces, the chaotic cities, the unbearable heat, the warm smiles, mysterious lakes, smoking volcanoes and most incredible coffee grains ever.

Eating is another way to travel 🙂

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While i eat this, my mind is in some tropical hot little town in Central America

Caribbean Rice and Beans with Patacones (fried green plantains)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Rice and beans:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup soaked black beans (soak them overnight for better results)
  • 2 cup coconut milk
  • 3 cups of water for the beans
  • 1 cup water  for the rice (use the cooking water from beans, it will give your rice a beautiful color)
  • 1/2 chopped small white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove
  • salt and pepper to taste

Patacones:

  • 2 large green plantains
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • Sea salt to sprinkle

Mashed avocados:

  • 2 medium ripe avocados
  • 1 lime (juice)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • salt to taste

Preparation:

1.In a large pan, bring the beans and water to a boil. Cook them until slightly tender. Drain and reserve a cup of  this water to add to the rice prep.

2. Wash rice until water comes clean, drain water. Heat a large saucepan with coconut oil, add the onion, garlic and spices and saute for 2 minutes, add the rice and the drained beans, add coconut milk, water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Taste salt at this point. Cover with  a lid and simmer until rice is cooked (about 20 minutes). Stir occasionally from the sides and add more water if needed.

3. For the patacones, peel the plantains by making a vertical cut through the skin and peeling it back with your hands or the edge of a spoon. Cut them into 1-inch thick pieces (2 cm.). Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan, fry plantains in batches, without crowding, until tender and just golden, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. With tongs transfer plantains as fried to paper towels to drain. Remove pan from heat and reserve. Smash each piece  of plantain with the back of a wooden spoon of the back of a heavy pan – this gives you a flatter shape with rougher edges. Do this while the plantains are still hot. Return to the frying pan and fry for an additional 4-5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer back to a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil. Sprinkle salt while still hot.

4. Smash the avocados with the lime juice, salt and cilantro.

I made scramble eggs and heated some blue corn tortillas to serve along the rice and beans. You can use regular corn tortillas or skip this and just serve the rice and beans with the patacones and avocado mash.

Enjoy and transport yourself to some tropical place in your head 🙂

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This is what my meals in Nicaragua looked like :P. Veggie paradise !

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