Cooking on a Budget: Arroz Con Pollo

One of the main benefits of living in Costa Rica is the availability of fresh produce. A major bonus is locally available products that are also fair priced. With traditional dishes being ample, an all time staple is “Arroz con pollo”, rice with chicken. The colourful mix of rice with chopped veggies and shredded chicken are normally served alongside a mixed green salad made up of lettuce, tomato and lime juice.



  • 2 cups of rice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • Salt

Meat (if you are vegan you could make this optional)

  • 2 chicken breasts – cooked and shred the meat


  • 1 can of kernel corn – drained
  • 1 can of green peas – drained
  • 1 carrot – shredded
  • 1 white onion – diced (can also be a red or yellow, depends on your taste)
  • 1 stalk of celery – cut small
  • 3 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 handful of culantro – cut finely


  • 1 tbsp. of achiote
  • 3 tbsp. of ketchup
  • 3 tbsp. of soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. salsa Lizano
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all your ingredients for your sauce together very well. Mix the rice and chicken together and slowly incorporate the sauce. Add in your vegetables by folding into the rice (versus storing to mix it) – and enjoy! Serve with lemon juice to taste.

Achiote: Anyone who has seen arroz con pollo has noticed its signature orange color. This color comes naturally from achiote. Achiote are reddish-orange seeds of the annatto tree, which grows in Central and South America. To make achiote paste, the seeds are ground and combined with some thickeners, like oil or corn flour.

Salsa Lizano: This is Costa Rica’s signature sauce that is used in flavoring all kinds of things, especially beans. It’s a mix of vegetables and spices, a stable at any Costa Rican table.

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