May 17 2012

How to make ‘indio viejo’ stew (Nicaragua recipe)

Unbound recipe: Indio viejo from Nicaragua

Try this indio viejo recipe from Nicaragua … mmm!

Unbound serves more than 10,000 sponsored children and elderly in Nicaragua. Our staff members there sent us this tasty recipe for “indio viejo,” or a corn-based, slow-cooked stew!

The Nicaraguan people are experts at making a variety of food dishes based on corn. This is a culture inherited from their ancestors.

In rural communities, corn-based meals are consumed daily. One of them is indio viejo, which is usually served as the main dish with rice, fried plantain and coleslaw salad. Sometimes, however, it is served as a secondary dish.

This recipe is for five people.


  • 1 and a half pounds of chicken breast or beef
  • 1 pound of corn flour or “masa”*
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 roll of spearmint (needed for flavor, although you can use cilantro as a substitute)
  • Chicken or beef seasoning (approximately two bouillon cubes)
  • 1 bitter orange (you can use lemon as a substitute)
  • 4 ounces of butter
  • Achiote or annatto (needed for coloring, although you can use sweet paprika as a substitute)
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • Approximately half a gallon (2 liters) of water

*This item should be available in any Hispanic grocery store.

Cook the chicken breast or beef with the chicken or beef seasoning, garlic, one onion and one bell pepper.

When the meat is soft, shred it. Save the water to be mixed with the corn dough.

Cut the tomatoes, onion, spearmint and remaining bell peppers in small pieces and fry them in the butter.

Add the water to the corn dough and add the fried vegetables. Mix it all together on medium heat. Add achiote or annatto to make the corn dough look slightly red.

Once the corn dough is cooked, add the chicken or beef shreds, as well as bitter orange, and let it cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve with rice, fried plantain and coleslaw salad.

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