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Gallo pinto (or gallopinto) is the prototypical traditional dish of Costa Ricanmarker and Nicaraguanmarker cuisine. It is considered the national dish, and is eaten as a part of any meal. Though many variations exist, the dish at its most basic is composed of pre-cooked rice and beans fried together with spices such as cilantro, onion and peppers.


When the beans and rice are combined, the rice gets colored by the beans, and the mix results in a multi-colored, or specked appearance. Costa Ricans usually use black beans while Nicaraguans use small red beans. Beans are slowly cooked until the juice is almost consumed. Gallo pinto means 'mottled rooster' in Spanish, thus the name fits with the colored rice.


A Costa Rican legend claims the name gallo pinto was coined around 1930 in San Sebastian, one of the southern neighborhoods of the capital, San Josémarker.


The dish has several variations including the addition of grated coconut and coconut milk which is primarily prepared on Nicaragua's RAAS and RAAN provinces and Costa Rica's Limón Province and In Costa Rica it is commonly served with Salsa Lizano.

There are other variations of this dish. One of them is known as Moros y Cristianos ("Moors and Christians") in Spainmarker and Cubamarker, 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 Caribbean coasts. They simply call it "rice and beans" and prepare it with coconut oil and/or shredded coconut. A similar dish is found in Panamamarker, and in El Salvadormarker where it is called casamiento. Other national variations include Dominican Republicmarker and Puerto Rico (a variation with Gandul beans); Colombiamarker (calentado paisa) and even Perumarker (tacu tacu)


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