Gallo pinto

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Gallo pinto is a traditional dish of Costa Rican and Nicaraguan cuisine. Though many variations exist, the dish at its most basic is composed of pre-cooked rice and beans fried together. It is considered the national dish of these two countries, and is eaten as a part of any meal, although mostly for breakfast.


When the beans and rice are combined, the rice gets colored by the beans, and the mix results in a multi-colored, or speckled appearance. Beans are quickly cooked until the juice is almost consumed. Gallo pinto means "spotted rooster" in Spanish, thus the name fits with the colored rice.

Often considered to be the core ingredient of a meal, the name is also traditionally believed to have developed to conceal the lack of meat in the dish, either because it is unavailable or too expensive. So the host serves a dish hoping that those eating it will be fooled into believing it contains chicken, the lack of which being disguised by the texture and speckled appearance of the bean and rice mixture. Those eating are rarely fooled, however, so the pejorative name "gallo pinto" suggesting the dish has been merely "painted rooster" arose.


There are other variations of this dish. Similar dishes are known as Moros y Cristianos ("Moors and Christians") in Spain and Cuba or just Moro, but regarding the true nature of gallo pinto, it is believed that it came to be known through the Afro-Latino immigrants who live on the...
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