Last week I asked: What is Vigorón?
A Nicaraguan salad
When my family and I were in Nicaragua for the holidays we stayed at Home Away rental.
It was perfect and reasonable for the eight of us especially considering it was the Christmas/New Year’s holiday time when the prices sometimes double.
We had looked at places in Belize but they were twice the cost.
I have found that it is often best to visit places that are not on everyone else’s radar.
Nicaragua is an interesting country with a variety of things to see and do.
The owner of the house suggested we hire the caretaker’s wife, Sara, to do some of the cooking.
It was one of the best decisions we made.
We asked her to make Nicaraguan food not typical American food.
Another good decision.
We could communicate with Sara in our limited Spanish supplemented with help from her son, Roger, who spoke perfect English and, of course, Google translate.
Roger said a favorite, local Nicaragua salad is Vigoron made with chicharrones.
Chiccharrones are fried pork rinds.
The only difference is that when locally made they often have a little
meat on them.
We all loved fried pork rinds but never thought of them as being part of a recipe.
They add flavor and texture.
Some of the recipes call for banana flowers.
The flowers would later turn into bananas.
It taste like cabbage and has the same texture.
If you are not familiar with yucca the taste is similar to potatoes.
Yucca offers numerous health benefits and is often used medicinally.
Native Americans have long used
for relief from arthritis symptoms,
Yucca can boost health in people with diabetes.
There is evidence that yucca helps regulate blood sugar.
It can also be used topically to treat skin conditions or wounds plus it can be used as a protection from the sun.
2 pounds of yucca (aka cassava), peeled and cut into two inch pieces
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp salt
half of whole cabbage – thinly slice
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 onion thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 sliced tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
2 pounds of pork rinds (chicharrón)
Fill a pot with water add salt and garlic cloves.
When boiling add peeled yucca.
Boil for about 30 minutes.
When the yucca is soft, drain off the water.
Break up the yucca into bit size pieces and remove the fibrous center.
Toss the cabbage, carrots, onions, cilantro together.
Add vinegar and salt to taste.
To assemble place some yucca on the plate, topped with pork rinds, and then the cabbage mixture.
The tomato and jalapenos slices are added last for a colorful accent.
Sarah put the cabbage mixture, pork rinds, yucca, tomatoes, and jalapenos on the table separately so we could build our own vigoron.
I left off the jalapenos.
The salad has a nice crunchy texture.
I was impressed watching Sara slice the cabbage.
She was able to slice it just using a knife faster, thinner and neater than any gadget I have used to slice cabbage.
We also found that she was skilled in making sauces that were tasty and unique.
In place of a typical tartar sauce she used cream cheese, capers and, most likely some other ingredients.
Everyone liked it better than traditional tartar sauce.
Most meals contained refried beans which were the best we have ever had.
I should have watched her make it but cooking the beans take a long time.
Travel Trivia Tease™: Should you visit Santo Domingo?
Look for the answer next week.
Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!