Cooking in Costa Rica
On July 2nd, we went to a house in downtown Heredia to learn how to cook traditional Costa Rican food. The morning of the class, we all shuffled onto a busy public bus and rode to the city center. We were welcomed by a lovely friend of Ximena, the director of ISA Costa Rica. The lady showed us to her cozy kitchen, which heated up quickly due to the number of people. She had already cooked the chicken with cilantro, onions, peppers, and various seasonings and shredded it.
Next she prepared the rice mixture. She took uncooked rice from a sack, put it in a strainer, and washed it. Then she added the rice, five and a half cups of water, green onions, peppers, carrots, cilantro, salt, garlic, and basil to a rice cooker. Once the rice was cooked, she put a stick of butter and a red powder of some description in the pot. The chicken mixture, which had already been set to boil with butter, ground pepper, red pepper paste, and a bag of tomatoes was combined with the rice mixture.
We were asked us what we wanted to drink. A tamarindo flavored refreshment was suggested. Our host commented that she wasn’t a huge fan of the juice, but still decided to make it for us. She took an amount of pealed tamarindo and boiled it in water. The concentrate was mixed with cold water and sugar to create a drink yellow-brown in color and with the taste of a sightly less tart lemonade. It was very delicious.
After the food was prepared, we all served ourselves buffet style. The aroma of the food was so flavorful and the group was very excited to taste traditional Costa Rican cuisine. The final spread included the arroz con pollo, refried black beans, chips, the tamarindo drink, and a dessert of Jello cake and ice cream. The food was delicious and everyone took seconds. After enjoying the amazing meal, we went out onto the patio and took a group picture. We had such a great time!
– The above post was contributed by Sera Simpson, Gabriella Novak, and Anne Cecilia Byrne who studied abroad in with ISA High School in Heredia, Costa Rica in 2015. Students participate on many cultural activities as a group every week to help them become more acquainted with their host country’s culture.