A typical Costa Rican dish served in pretty much all sodas (mom & pop cafes) and is usually what's for lunch. The dish supposedly earned its moniker "Casado," meaning "marriage," because it was what wives used to pack for their husbands to go to work. A typical Casado includes: rice, beans, cabbage salad, fried plantain, meat (chicken, steak or fish), picadillo (diced cooked veggies) and maybe an egg. Sounds hearty? It is.
Check out this monster custom-made order. My family here owns a soda that's attached to our house and the smells from its kitchen usually find their way to the room in which I sleep upstairs. Where the soda is now used to be a beautiful backyard with fruit trees, a fish pond and a pool which was much more beautiful and entertaining but definitely not as profitable. Anyway, apparently this customer asks for a mega casado that includes rice, beans, picadillo, salad, lomito (steak), fried cheese, and TWO large eggs. I feel my cholesterol levels spiking by just thinking about it.
Today Johnny Alberto drove me to downtown San Jose to visit Doña Marielos, an old family friend. And while her health is great and she's her usual chatty and cheery self, I do notice that she's getting older and settling into her life as a senior citizen. She took us out to eat at a "healthy" soda, which like most sodas is family run, and acquainted us with the owner. She doesn't like having her picture taken, so I took pictures of the food instead...naturally. I had an arroz con pollo, but it came with yummy refried beans, maduros (ripened plantains) and ensalada de repollo (cole slaw).
Johnny Alberto had the Casado with slow cooked beef which included my side dishes plus a picadillo. Jealous.
While we were out, grandma was preparing some favorite dishes of mine: kok chai & lo bat ko. I've had them elsewhere but NO ONE MAKES THEM LIKE GRANDMA. She grinds the rice into a fine powder herself and adds water to make it a dough. She then cooks it to the right consistency and rolls them into little logs. She dices the logs and takes each circle and flattens them with a tortilla maker. The flattening part is the hardest and I've broken my share of tortilla makers doing this. The rice has a very rubbery and elastic quality to it, so you have to press down hard and several times to flatten it out well.
I know I started off explaining the process but I actually wasn't home this time to help and document the whole thing. I came just in time to eat it. That wasn't our intention, but we took longer than expected at the local mall looking for cell phones and well...I ended up feeling like a bad granddaughter. I praised her cooking as best as I could but it didn't seem to quite do the trick. *sigh. Anyway, it tasted gooood...