Chifrijo is a very popular dish in Costa Rica. A bed of rice forms the base of the dish (duh, we’ve already learned about Costa Rica’s love for rice), and then kidney beans, pico de gallo, and chicharrones top it off.
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What is Chifrijo?
This dish is served a lot as a form of street food, but you can also order chifrijo in bars or restaurants across the country.
Restaurants and street vendors across the country sell this hearty and delicious dish! It’s pretty cheap to buy as street food in Costa Rica, costing usually around $3 USD. In restaurants, of course, you can expect the price of the dish to increase.
What is Chifrijo Made Of?
For the Chicharrones
For the Red Beans
Lizano (You can sub Worcestershire sauce if need be)
For the Rice
For the Pico de Gallo
For full measurements and instructions, visit the recipe card at the bottom of the page!
How to Make Chifrijo
How to Make Chicharrones
In a small bowl, combine the uncooked, cubed pork belly with all of the spices. Mix until the spices coat all of the pieces.
In a medium cast iron skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Once heated, add the pork belly. Stir to cook, about 10 minutes. Chicharrones should be slightly crispy.
When cooked, remove from pan and leave to rest on a paper towel-lined plate.
How to Make Red Beans
Drain and rinse red kidney beans
In a medium pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and saute for about 5 minutes, until translucent.
Add the kidney beans into the pot. Stir until warm.
Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and Lizano (or Worcestershire sauce). Remove and set aside.
Cook the rice according to package or follow these instructions for How to Cook Rice in an Instant Pot
Assemble the Pico de Gallo according to instructions.
Assemble the bowl with rice on the bottom, then beans, then chicharrones, then the Pico de Gallo on top.
What are Chicharrones?
Chicharrones are made with pork belly. In Costa Rica, the pork belly is cut into cubes and then fried. You can coat them in spices before frying (in this case, smoked paprika, cumin, and chili powder) to give them even more flavor.
Pork belly really is just uncured, unsliced bacon, which means that making chicharrones means that you’re just frying up thick cubes of bacon for crunching! Hey, sounds pretty good to me 😉
Ticos LOVE chicharrones and eat them across the country. Though they’re mixed into this dish, quite often they’re bought alone and eaten as a solo snack. Costa Ricans often cook them up in accompaniment with a celebration, like a birthday or a festival! The city of Puriscal in Costa Rica even hosts a Feria del Chicharrón (Chicharrón Festival) every year.
The Importance of Lizano
Lizano, the most common condiment used in Costa Rica, makes a special appearance on our recipe for Gallo Pinto! Lizano is a smoky, tangy dressing that I could liken to Worcestershire sauce. The difference between Worcestershire sauce and Lizano is the smokiness-factor present in Lizano. It gives the entire dish a different flavor.
Lizano can be found in most South American grocery stores, if you can find one. If not, you can also order it off of Amazon! If you either can’t afford that or need a quick substitute, you can use Worcestershire sauce and add a little cumin as well. This will be the best replacement!
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If you liked this recipe, check out these other recipes on my site too. I think you’ll like them:
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 6 oz pork belly cut into cubes about 1 inch in diameter
- ⅓ tsp smoked paprika
- ⅓ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp chili powder or more to taste
Red Kidney Beans
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ sweet onion, chopped
- 1 tsp garlic
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp Lizano, or Worcestershire sauce if you don’t have Lizano
- ¼ tsp salt or more to taste
- 1 cup long grain white rice, dry
Pico de Gallo or Salsa, your favorite recipe (mine is linked below)
How to Make Chicharrones
- In a small bowl, combine the uncooked, cubed pork belly with all of the spices. Mix until all pieces are fully coated.
- In a medium cast iron skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Once heated, add the pork belly. Stir to cook, about 10 minutes. Chicharrones should be slightly crispy.
- When cooked, remove from pan and leave to rest on a paper towel-lined plate.
How to Make Red Beans
- Drain and rinse red kidney beans
- In a medium pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and saute for about 5 minutes, until translucent.
- Add the kidney beans into the pot. Stir until warm.
- Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and Lizano (or Worcestershire sauce). Remove and set aside.
- Cook the rice according to package or follow these instructions for How to Cook Rice in an Instant Pot
- Assemble the bowl with rice on the bottom, then beans, then chicharrones, then the Pico de Gallo on top.