Nicaragua is located in the continent of North America. It has Honduras to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, Costa Rica to the south, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and El Salvador to the northwest
The capital is Managua.
The official language is Spanish.
The climate is a little cooler and much wetter in the east than in the west. Average temperatures in the east (Pacific side) are around 80F, with precipitation averaging 75 inches. In the west (on the Caribbean side) temperatures are the same as in the east, but precipitation is almost 150 inches.
The staple food is corn overall, but they also eat tomato, onion, garlic, flour, rice, orange, milk, cheese, jocote, mango, bananas, beef, pork and much more (https://vianica.com/go/specials/2-nicaraguan_food.html).
NICARAGUAN NACATAMALES (Nicaraguan style Tamale) (https://www.internationalcuisine.com/nicaraguan-nacatamales/):
- 6 C Masa Harina
- 1 C lard or shortening
- 1 TBSP salt
- ½ C sour orange juice (or bottled if you can’t find fresh)
- 4-5 C chicken stock or broth
- 3 lbs Pork butt, cubed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¾ C rice (soaked in warm water for 30 minutes)
- ½ lb potatoes, peeled, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
- 1 onion, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
- 2 Bell peppers, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
- 2 tomatoes, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
- 12 green olives
- 24 prunes
- ¼ C raisins
- ¼ C capers
For the wrapper:
- 12 pieces of banana leaves, cut into 10×10 inch rectangles
- String to secure
- 12 pieces aluminum foil, cut into 10×10 inch rectangles
- Place the masa harina, lard or shortening and salt in a large bowl.
- Mix well to incorporate the fat into the masa harina and give it a mealy texture.
- Add the sour orange juice and enough chicken stock to make a soft, moist dough,
- Use a mixer to incorporate some air into the masa.
- Cover the bowl and set the masa aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Season the pork with salt and pepper.
- Drain the rice.
- Assemble all of your filling ingredients and assembly items.
- Start assembling the nacatamales.
- Lay out a banana leaf square with the smooth side up.
- Place 1 cup of the masa in the middle of the banana leaf and, using wet hands, spread it out a little.
- Put about ½ cup of pork on top of the masa and sprinkle 1 or 2 tablespoons of rice over the pork. Lay 1 or 2 slices of potato on top of the pork and then top with 1 or 2 pieces of onion, 1 or 2 pieces of pepper and a slice of tomato.
- Add next the prunes, olive, raisins and capers.
- Fold the top edge of the banana leaf up over filling.
- Bring the bottom edge of the banana leaf down over this.
- Then fold in both sides to make a rectangular package.
- Be careful not to wrap it too tightly or the filling squeeze out.
- Flip the package over so it is seam side down.
- Secure with string like a package.
- Repeat until all the masa and filling material is used up.
- Add 3 inches of water to a pot large enough to hold all the nacatamales.
- Place a rack in the bottom so they are mostly out of the water.
- Add the nacatamales and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Cover tightly, reduce heat to low and steam for 3 to 4 hours.
- Add more water as needed to keep the pot from boiling dry.
- Remove the nacatamales from the pot.
- Serve hot, please note the banana leaf should not be consumed.
CORN TORTILLA (https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_corn_tortillas/):
- 2 C masa harina
- 1-1/2 to 2 C very warm water
- Put the 2 cups of masa flour in a large bowl.
- Add 1-1/2 to 2 cups of very warm water to the masa flour.
- Mix in and let it sit for 5 minutes or so.
- Begin working the masa with your hands to make the dough. Work the dough for several minutes.
- Press the dough with your fingers and the palms of your hands as if you were kneading bread dough.
- The dough will be a little gritty at first but should become more pliable as you knead it.
- If at any point through the tortilla making process the dough seems too dry or too wet, add a little more water or masa to the dough.
- Pinch off a piece of the masa dough and rub it between your hands to shape it into a ball the size of a plum, or slightly large golf ball.
- Make about 16-18 balls from the dough.
- Cut two pieces of plastic from a plastic freezer bag (or shopping bag) in the shape of a circle. (If using a press, this will be a little different. Shape the tortilla with your hands otherwise.
- Heat a well-seasoned cast iron griddle or large cast iron pan works well for this.
- Working one at a time, hold a tortilla in your hand, carefully removing the plastic.
- Allow the tortilla to rest half on your hand, and half hanging down, and gently lay the tortilla down on the skillet. Start working on the next tortilla.
- Cook the tortilla on the hot pan for 30 seconds to a minute on each side. The tortilla should be lightly toasted and little air pockets forming.
- Remove the tortilla to a paper towel or wrap them in a dish towel to keep them warm.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat.
TRES LECHES CAKE (https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/food-cooking/recipes/a8891/tres-leches-cake/):
For the Cake:
- 1 C all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 5 whole eggs
- 1 C sugar, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 C milk
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ C heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9×13 pan liberally until coated.
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.
- Beat egg yolks with ¾ C sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.
- Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining ¼ C sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.
- Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.
- Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture – try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.
- Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes.
For the Icing:
- 1-pint heavy cream, for whipping
- 3 TBSP sugar
- Whip 1-pint heavy cream with 3 TBSP of sugar until thick and spreadable.
- Spread over the surface of the cake. Decorate cake with whole or chopped maraschino cherries. Cut into squares and serve.