What’s Cooking in… Nicaragua

By Sandra Scott
This item appears on page 25 of the June 2021 issue.
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Grandson J.J. with his grand catch. Photos by Sandra Scott

During the 2019 Christmas holiday, I spent a wonderful two weeks in Pochomil, Nicaragua, located on the Pacific coast a little less than two hours’ drive from Managua’s airport.

Our family rented a house on the beach (with an infinity pool) for $250 a night. It can be found at www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p368251. The three air-conditioned bedrooms were a perfect fit for the eight of us.

Even though there was a complete kitchen, at the suggestion of the owner, Edward, we hired the caretaker’s wife, Sara, for $20 a day to do the cooking, cleaning and laundry. We bought the groceries. The arrangement was a great deal.

We asked Sara to make traditional Nicaraguan dishes, and all the food she prepared was tasty.

During the two weeks we were there, we took a couple of day trips. One was to Granada, with several stops along the way. We looked down into Masaya Volcano, which was steaming, we saw Laguna de Apoyo from a viewpoint in the village of Catarina, and we took a boat ride on Lake Nicaragua around Las Isletas, where monkeys scampered down from the trees to meet the boat in the hope that we had food for them.

Another day, my son and grandson hired a fisherman to take them fishing in the Pacific. My grandson caught the first — and the biggest — fish of the day.

I was never very fond of fishing or eating fish, especially uncooked fish, until Sara made us ceviche the next day. It was excellent and is now my favorite fish dish.

Some ceviche recipes call for limes, but Sara used the local lemons, which were green in color. (She said the limes were smaller.)

Sandra Scott can be reached by email at sanscott@gmail.com.

Ceviche
1½ lb of fish (corbina or another firm, lean white fish, like bass, sole, grouper or
rockfish), cut into half-inch pieces

2-3 lemons
1 medium onion, diced (a red onion will add nice color)
¼ cup diced green pepper
¼ cup cilantro (or culantro, to taste)*, finely chopped
Salt and pepper as desired.
Stir all ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate for one hour or more. Serve with fried plantains.
*Culantro and cilantro are similar in aroma and flavor, but they are not the same plant. Culantro has
long, serrated leaves and looks a bit like long-leafed lettuce. It has a stronger flavor than
cilantro, so less is needed.

Fried Plantains

2 ripe plantains

2-4 tbsp oil

Salt (optional)

Cut off ends of plantains. Peel. Cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Heat oil in a frying pan over
medium heat. Add plantain slices and brown lightly on each side. Drain on paper towel, and sprinkle with salt if
desired.

Ceviche with plantains, ready to serve.
Raw corbina ready to be cut into small pieces.
Cut lemons ready to squeeze.
Dicing a pepper.
Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.
Grandson J.J. with his grand catch. Photos by Sandra Scott

During the 2019 Christmas holiday, I spent a wonderful two weeks in Pochomil, Nicaragua, located on the Pacific coast a little less than two hours’ drive from Managua’s airport.

Our family rented a house on the beach (with an infinity pool) for $250 a night. It can be found at www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p368251. The three air-conditioned bedrooms were a perfect fit for the eight of us.

Even though there was a complete kitchen, at the suggestion of the owner, Edward, we hired the caretaker’s wife, Sara, for $20 a day to do the cooking, cleaning and laundry. We bought the groceries. The arrangement was a great deal.

We asked Sara to make traditional Nicaraguan dishes, and all the food she prepared was tasty.

During the two weeks we were there, we took a couple of day trips. One was to Granada, with several stops along the way. We looked down into Masaya Volcano, which was steaming, we saw Laguna de Apoyo from a viewpoint in the village of Catarina, and we took a boat ride on Lake Nicaragua around Las Isletas, where monkeys scampered down from the trees to meet the boat in the hope that we had food for them.

Another day, my son and grandson hired a fisherman to take them fishing in the Pacific. My grandson caught the first — and the biggest — fish of the day.

I was never very fond of fishing or eating fish, especially uncooked fish, until Sara made us ceviche the next day. It was excellent and is now my favorite fish dish.

Some ceviche recipes call for limes, but Sara used the local lemons, which were green in color. (She said the limes were smaller.)

Sandra Scott can be reached by email at sanscott@gmail.com.

Ceviche
1½ lb of fish (corbina or another firm, lean white fish, like bass, sole, grouper or
rockfish), cut into half-inch pieces

2-3 lemons
1 medium onion, diced (a red onion will add nice color)
¼ cup diced green pepper
¼ cup cilantro (or culantro, to taste)*, finely chopped
Salt and pepper as desired.
Stir all ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate for one hour or more. Serve with fried plantains.
*Culantro and cilantro are similar in aroma and flavor, but they are not the same plant. Culantro has
long, serrated leaves and looks a bit like long-leafed lettuce. It has a stronger flavor than
cilantro, so less is needed.

Fried Plantains

2 ripe plantains

2-4 tbsp oil

Salt (optional)

Cut off ends of plantains. Peel. Cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Heat oil in a frying pan over
medium heat. Add plantain slices and brown lightly on each side. Drain on paper towel, and sprinkle with salt if
desired.

Ceviche with plantains, ready to serve.
Raw corbina ready to be cut into small pieces.
Cut lemons ready to squeeze.
Dicing a pepper.