My neighbor Haydeé came over yesterday, and we had cooking class in my kitchen. What fun! She is Panamanian so of course she knows how to cook all kinds of Panamanian food, and I’m interested in learning.
We made a drink called chicha de arroz con piña – drink of rice with pineapple. (Chicha seems to cover a lot of drinks, usually with fruit, and occasionally fermented. I’m getting the feeling my neighbor makes chicha out of any kind of fruit she has on hand)
When you peel a pineapple, take all the peelings and the core, and put it in water, enough to cover it. Add some rice (maybe 1/4 – 1/2 cup). Boil this for 30-60 minutes. It’s interesting to see her cooking is not an exact science either, but rather “some” of this, “more” of that, and “a little” of something else.
So anyway, you end up with this very aromatic pineapple water that smells wonderful. Let it cool and remove the pineapple peels. This is the base for your drink.
Put some ice in the blender, some of the drink base, some sugar to taste, some milk, and a splash of vanilla. Blend it until smooth, put in a glass and enjoy.
Joel thought it tasted like ice cream and he’s right. It’s smooth, creamy, cool, and tastes surprisingly rich for only having some rice and milk in it. And, what a good thing to do with your pineapple peels that you would otherwise throw away.
I have a couple more things that she taught me, and there will probably be others in the future too so I’ll share what I learn here.