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I is for indio viejo

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being transported back to my recent travels in Central America when I cooked up a dish I'd enjoyed in Mexico. For some reason, when it came to the letter I, something popped in my brain and I decided I had to make another something from Central America, Indio Viejo.

Indio viejo is a dish that hails from Nicaragua and normally made with corn tortillas or masa harina, veggies and ground meat (unsurprisingly, not in this house). The name means 'old indian' and the recipe itself is hundreds of years old (or so the internet tells me).

I based my recipe on this one from Explore Costa Rica (yeah, not Explore Nicaragua - odd, no?) and given as I was using Linda McCartney mince rather than actual meat, I did things slightly differently to the way the original recipe suggested.

After frying a couple of chopped up onions for a bit, I added a couple of chopped tomatoes, a diced green pepper and the juice of two oranges until the whole lot was cooked down and soft. Then, I added in some of that mince, some annatto, garlic and a few tablespoons of masa harina.

The whole lot did not become the lovely silky stew that I remember from Nicaragua - it became a weird doughy lump. I let it out with a bit of stock and lemon juice - then it started looking like the wonderful soupy dish it was supposed to.

After letting it cook out for a good few minutes, I added in a metric truckload of mint and the job was done. Sure, it won't win a beauty contest, but it wouldn't do half bad in a taste-off.

The end result wasn't as a patch on the version I tried in a veggie restaurant in Nicaragua called Cocinarte, it's an interesting combination of flavours, and I wouldn't hesitate to suggest you go try it - and if you're ever in the Leon area, go try Cocinarte too.

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  1. Well if I end up stopping over in Nicaragua in the next couple of weeks, I know what I can try! I wouldn't have anything to compare it to like you do.

  2. interesting. Orange and mint. I know nothing at all of s.american stuff. Seems maybe worth investigating..?

  3. That is an interesting stew, I like the addition of orange and gratuitous amounts of mint. I remember making a spicy black bean soup once and it had orange - so good. I use lemons and limes plenty in savoury cooking, but oranges not enough.

  4. It sounds really good, even if it didn't look exactly the way you wanted. And it actually looks good to me!

  5. I love it when fruits get used in cooking savours sauces and stews. This one looks so hearthy and comforting.

    1. I meant 'savoury' not 'savours'. :oP


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