Indio Viejo – The “Old Indian”

Nicaraguan culinary arts date back to pre-Colombian times, as one might be able to discern by the names of the most popular plates. Rich with multi-cultural heritage, the regional cuisine – ranging from soups and meats to a diversity of sweets, is well known for the vast selection of interesting ingredients which are used.

Nicaragua’s Indio Viejo, which means “Old Indian,” is a meat-based soup dish prepared with onions, garlic, sweet pepper, tomato and ground corn or tortillas. When combined, the dish turns into a hearty stew which is traditionally prepared for Holy Week.


2 pounds of beef (such as flank or skirt steak)
4 medium tomatoes, diced
2 red peppers, sliced
2 medium onions, diced
1 tsp achiote paste
1 bunch (about a cup) of fresh mint, minced
juice of 3-4 sour oranges (substitute juice of 2 oranges and 3 limes)
1 cup tortilla dough
Salt to taste

  1. Add one of the onions to a preheated saucepan and saute until soft. Add the meat, orange juice, and enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender (about two hours.)
  2. Remove meat and onions and allow to cool.
  3. In a food processor (or a bowl) add tortilla dough and a couple cups of water. Blend until there are no lumps.
  4. Add tomatoes, onion, peppers, achiote paste, and tortilla dough mixture to the simmering broth. The tortilla dough should thicken the broth significantly. Keep stirring to prevent lumps from forming.
  5. Shred the meat with a couple of forks or your hands and add to the stew as it is thickening.
  6. Just before you are ready to serve, stir in the mint and the rest of the juice.

Serve with a sprig of mint and fresh tortillas.

One response

  1. vagabondvictor

    One of the best versions of this soup I found was definitely at El Indio Viejo on Ometepe. We wrote a full article about it at

    October 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm

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