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Panama has its own unique and unsual cuisine. Being the brige between two places, Panama is very unique by there nature and their unusual variety of tropical fruits, vegetables and herbs that are used in native cooking. Panama’s cuisine is influenced by its diverse population which is largely of mixed Spanish, African, and Native American. Typical foods are mildly flavored, without the taste of some of Panama's Latin American and Caribbean styles. Culantro is a common seasoning such as maize, rice, wheat flour, plantains, yuca (cassava), beef, chicken, and seafood such as corvina, shrimp, and lobster. With the amazing burst of flavor Panama's food sticks out the most. Unlike most spanish colonies, Panama's agriculture never depended on corn. Fish and Deer were always considered protein. Corn is mostly eaten in the form of thick cakes called arepas and maize gruel. The Kuna roasted bananas and boiled them in a soup dish that consists of water squeezed through coconut, meat, fish and deer in the late 1850's. The Meal Arroz Con Pollo is a dish that has been around for several years. It consists of Chicken, Peppers, Peas, and Rice. This dish is bursting with great flavors and is the perfect meal for any hour.

Arroz Con Pollo
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1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
1 pound Boneless, Skinless, Chicken breasts cut into thick strips
1 medium Onion; chopped
1 medium Green pepper; chopped
1 medium Red pepper; chopped
1 Garlic clove; minced
1 teaspoon Chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
1 cup Uncooked rice
1 medium Tomato; seeded & chopped
2 cups Chicken broth

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken 8 to 10 minutes or until brown on all sides. Remove from pan. Add onion, green pepper, red pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and turmeric. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add rice and tomatoes; stir until rice is lightly browned. Add broth; bring mixture to a boil, place chicken pieces on top of mixture. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. To serve, fluff with fork stirring in chicken pieces.

(Amanda Kern)