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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 12/25/2022

Costa Rican Recipes - With rice

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

As in much of Latin America, rice is a staple ingredient in the Costa Rican diet.  It is used from breakfast to dessert and everything in between!  We are confident that you will try all of these dishes while you are in Costa Rican for your 4-week TEFL course, so check out these staple recipes!

Gallo Pinto

2 cups of cooked rice

1 cup of cooked beans (red or black)

1/3 cup of Salsa Lizano

1/3-1/2 red pepper, finely chopped

1/3 an onion, finely chopped

1/2 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped

1/3 cup of chopped cilantro

Saute the onions, pepper, and garlic in a large frying pan.  Once this mixture becomes soft and translucent, add the cooked beans and the Salsa Lizano.  Note, canned beans work just as well as home-cooked beans!  If using dried beans, don't forget to give yourself time to cook them before making the gallo pinto.  Simmer the vegetable and bean mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently for approximately five minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and simmer on very low heat for around 20 minutes, stirring frequently until all the liquid is absorbed.  Most Costa Ricans would suggest making your rice the day before you plan on making gallo pinto.  Stir the cilantro into the final mix and serve warm.  

Gallo pinto is the most popular breakfast dish in Costa Rica and is typically served with eggs, sausage, sour cream and bread or tortillas.  You haven't really experienced Costa Rica if you haven't eaten gallo pinto!  

Arroz con pollo (Rice with chicken)

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

3 cups rice

1 Tablespoon achiote paste or powder

1 cup cooked vegetables (typically carrots, peas, green beans or corn)

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 red pepper, finely chopped

2-3 Tablespoons vegetable oil

salt & pepper

2-3 Tablespoons Salsa Lizano

1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped

1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

Cook your choice of chicken in a slow cooker or on the stove top and reserve the juices.  Shred the chicken and let it cool.  On the stove or in a rice cooker, cook your rice with the achiote paste and a bit of salt in the reserved juices from the chicken.  If needed, add extra water to cook rice according to the normal cooking instructions.  Achiote has a very subtle flavor and is mainly used to add color.  It can be found in all supermarkets in Costa Rica and most latin markets in other parts of the world.  

In a large frying pan, saute the onion and red pepper in the vegetable oil, until they are tender and translucent. Add the rice, cooked chicken and cooked vegetables to the pan and season with the Salsa Lizano, salt and pepper.  You could even add a bit of chili powder if you need a little kick!  Mix well to incorporate and allow all ingredients to heat through.  Garnish with the chopped cilantro and parsley.  

Typically arroz con pollo is served with a side of refried beans and french fries or even potato chips.  Arroz con pollo is so popular at Costa Rican events, like baby showers and weddings, that it is affectionately called arroz con siempre!  Try your hand at the recipe!

Arroz con leche (Rice pudding)

1 cup uncooked rice

1 can (14 ounces) sweet condensed milk

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

4 cups of milk

½ cup of water

½ teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

½ cup raisins (optional)

In a large saucepan, bring the rice, milk, water, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to a boil over high heat for five minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the sweet condensed milk and turn the heat down to low to simmer for ten minutes.  Then add the evaporated milk, vanilla and raisins, cooking for an additional 10 minutes until it thickens.  If you prefer your arroz con leche thinner,  add a bit more milk.  It will continue to thicken as it cools down.  This sweet treat is delicious as an afternoon snack, dessert or even breakfast! 

Watch for more traditional Costa Rican recipes, and don't forget that we offer cooking classes to our alumni and students in our 4-week TEFL training!  If you haven't already saved your seat in our course, talk to us today!  

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