Aji de habas secas ( Spice dried fava beans)

Aji de habas secas ( Spiced dried fava beans)

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Every time I went to visit my Dad’s side family in Colomi, I was shocked by the beauty and simplicity of everything. They grow potatoes and fava beans and we would go to visit them at harvest time. The smell of freshly dug potatoes and the crunchiness and tenderness of a fresh raw fava beans made those trips the best experiences of my childhood. They would dry some of the best fava beans and potatoes for seed and the other ones would be cooked. This is a recipe with dried fava beans, it goes so well with tiny little potatoes. Enjoy it.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups dry fava beans

5 medium yellow  potatoes (10 small yellow potatoes)

1/2 lb round steak

2 cups chicken broth

1 onion

1 tomato

2 tbsp vegetable oil

3 tbsp paste of red spicy pepper

1 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp cumin

1 garlic clove

1/2 tsp sugar

2 tbsp chopped parsley

1 small bunch of scallion

Preparation:

A night before measure the dry fava beans into a pot. Add boiling water and cook for a minute and drain the water. Cover with cold water and let it rest overnight.

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They will double the size and the skin should be easy to peel. Peel coverings and set aside

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Put the ingredients together for the sauce

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Cut the meat by hand in thin small sliced pieces.

Peel the potatoes and cut them in 3 pieces or keep them in a piece if they are the small.

Peel and dice the onion and dice the tomatoes into small pieces.

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Heat 2 tbsp oil and add the red spicy paste, garlic and cumin. Cook for 2 min and add the onion, cook for 5 min until onion is clear.

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Add the meat and mix. Cook for another min and add the tomatoes

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Cook for about 3 min until meat is tender, add the oregano, salt, sugar, pepper and parsley.

Mix and add the fava beans.

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Add the chicken broth and the potatoes and mix. Cover the pot and cook until potatoes are cooked. It’s so much better if you use small potatoes, they will cook faster and they are going to be bite sized.

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If it dries during this process, add more chicken broth or hot water.

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Serve warm with rice or just by itself. Top with scallions or green onion that are cut and washed. Enjoy!

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Pique a lo Macho (Pique Macho)

Pique a lo Macho (Pique Macho)

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If you say the word Pique Macho in Bolivia everyone will tell you what is it and that the best pique macho is from Cochabamba (of course I’m being biased). And everyone might also have an amazing history related to  this dish. The first day that my husband I met we went with a couple of friends to La Casa del Gordo, a restaurant very well know for its pique macho. After trying to convincing him that one dish would be enough for the 4 of us we ordered two. While we were playing cacho waiting for our food I bet Dave that there was no way we would finish the dish. When the plates arrived I remember seeing the surprised face  of Dave admiring the mountains of food. We did our best and he won the bet because after 1 hour of digging and digging we finished. The amount of meat, potatoes and locotos with their juices make this plate incredible and also made me look at this boy that I just met differently there are not to many non-bolivians that will finish and eat and entire pique macho. Enjoy it!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 lb top round first cut steak (any soft lean beef will do great)

8 large potatoes

4 uncured beef hot dogs (you can use pork hot dog)

4 eggs

1 large tomato

1 small red onion

1 small green pepper  (1/2 large pepper)

1 locoto or jalapeno (optional)

1/2 cup beer (I used Corona for this recipe but any light beer will work)

1 tsp white vinegar (for meat)

1 tbsp cider vinegar (for the salad)

1 tbsp vegetable oil (for the salad)

2 tbsp vegetable oil

3 cup vegetable oil to fry potatoes

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp cumin (optional)

1 garlic clove peeled and mashed (optional)

On the side

Llajua

4 slices of baguette

Preparation:

Put together the ingredients

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Peel the potatoes and cut in large wedges.

Peel the onion and slice in the juliana style (think strips), do the same with pepper and tomato

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Slice the hot dog in thin slices. Slice the hot dog giving it an edge, we don’t want them round.

Clean the meat and cut in cubes of 2 cm each side this is very important we don’t want the pieces too small or too big we want them bite size.

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Mix the vegetables together and set aside. Once all the ingredients are ready we start cooking.

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Start by frying the potatoes. You might end up cooking two batches, since we want them to cook slowly so they are crispy outside but slightly soft inside. This will help the potatoes to absorb the juices.

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While cooking the potatoes, hard boil the eggs and peel them and cut them in wedges or round shapes. I prefer wedges.

When the potatoes are half cooked start cooking the meat.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a skillet and when the oil is hot add the meat. We want to seal the edges and brown them but not burn them. This takes about 5 min

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Once they are brown add half of the salt and pepper. If you want, add the cumin and garlic, I like the flavor that this adds to the meat. Reduce the heat to medium high

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By this point the potatoes should be cooked and in the hot oil we cook the hot dogs. This step is important. We need to cook the hot dogs for about about one minute so they are nicely browned on the edges and crispy. Take to a paper towel.

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Add to the meat 1 tsp white vinegar and 1/2 cup beer and the hot dogs. If you are cooking in an electric stove you can turn off. If you are cooking in gas cook for about 1 min. We don’t want to be dry, we just want the alcohol of the beer to be reduced.

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Mix the vegetables with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tbs vegetable oil salt and pepper.

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Serve immediately after the meat is cooked it is important to serve  hot.

Put one layer of potatoes, add the mix of meat and hot dog and add 4 tbsp of the juices from the pan. Top with the salad and decorate with the hard-boiled egg.

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I like it as simple as this you can put mayonnaise and ketchup on top, I like putting this on the table so it’s optional for people to add. The best way to eat it is with a nice llajua and pieces of marraqueta (roll) to absorb those juices and when it gets too spicey, a good beer goes so well with it.

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There are so many variations of this dish in Bolivia but I like this way for its simplicity.

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Mechado de pierna de cerdo (Bolivian Style Roast Ham)

Mechado de Pierna de Cerdo (Bolivian Style Roast Ham)

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The first time I tried this recipe was when I was in my first year of college. My friends and I got together to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I had seen my mom do this recipe and I thought it would be easy to replicate. Our first mistake was to buy a 20lb ham with the skin and everything for just four people. We started cooking around 9 pm thinking we would have it ready in a couple hours but we did not realize that it would take 4 hours to cook and that we would run out of natural gas in the process. We opened champagne and we had our grapes at midnight but we did not eat until 1:30 am but by that time we were all tired and went to bed. The good thing is that we had amazing left overs for a while. This dish really doesn’t take that long to cook and is so delicious that you can use the left over pork to make the amazing Sandwich De Chola (Cochabamba style).

Serves 6

Ingredients:

4 lb ham rump half (with the skin)

1 tbsp salt

1 large onion

1 large tomato

2 large carrots

1 small green pepper

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

3 garlic cloves

1/2 cup of spicy red pepper (paste)

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 tsp sugar

1 tbsp vinegar

1 cup corona beer (any beer)

For the side?

3 sweet potatoes

12 small potatoes

1 head of lettuce

1/2 red onion

2 tomatoes

1 tbsp cilantro

salt and pepper

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp vinegar

Preparation:

Put together the first ingredients

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Make cuts in the ham all around big enough to put some of the cut vegetables in the holes. Rub the ham with the tbsp of salt and set aside.

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Peel the onions and carrots.

Cut the carrots, tomato, and pepper in a large thick size, about 1/2 inch thick. Put them in a large bowl and mix. Set aside.

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Put together all the spices.

Peel the garlic and mash with a garlic press.

Cook the red spice paste in 1 tbs oil add the garlic. Let it cool.

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Add the spices, the cooked red spice pepper and the beer to the vegetables. Mix.

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Insert the mix of vegetables in the cuts made in the ham. Cover it and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F

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Place the ham in a container and bake cover for 2.5 hours covered. Uncover the last half hour. Broil the last 4 min to crisp the skin. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 min.

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One hour before the ham is ready, roast the potatoes with their skin on and cut them in half at 375F. Prepare the salad.

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Cut the ham in slices and place it in the plate. This goes so well with everything and there is usually plantain in this recipe. My husband and I had leftovers the next day with mashed potatoes and it was delicious. Enjoy with a nice cold beer.

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Sopa de Te’qo (Semana Santa Vegetable soup)

Sopa de Te’qo (Semana Santa Vegetable Soup)

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Semana Santa is one of my favorite times in Bolivia, we cook and eat a lot surrounded by family. I have loved this soup since I can remember and I love everything about it. My favorite part of this dish’s preparation is the egg part. I remember starring at my mom making miniscule cracks in the top of the egg and pouring into the soup. After that she gave us the empty eggshells to play with. This an easy quick soup to make and has so much flavor, the tricky part is the preparation of the potatoes but it’s so much fun. It’s so delicious, enjoy it!

Makes: 8 portions

Ingredients:

10 cups of Water or Broth

1 cup thinly cut Achojacha (This is a Bolivian ingredient that you can skip if unavailable)

5 leaves of yerbabuena (This is a Bolivian ingredient that you can skip if unavailable)

1/4 cup diced green pepper

1 small onion diced in small pieces (1/2 cup)

1 small peeled and diced tomato

1 cup carrots cut in thin strips

2 cups sliced green beans

2 tbs canola oil

1 tsp salt

1 large clove garlic

1/4 tsp cumin

5 large potatoes peeled and diced

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup thinly cut spinach

2 eggs

2 tbs scallion thinly cut and washed

2 tbs cut parsley

2 tbs cut cilantro

1 tsp oregano

Preparation:

Put together the ingredients

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Peel and cut the potatoes in eight pieces.  Crush the potatoes pieces on a cutting board with a meat softener until they are small chunky pieces. They should still be in pieces but be cracked open. Put the pieces of potatoes in a bowl with water and reserve.

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Cut the vegetables as shown in the pictures. Pepper, onion and tomato are diced, carrots and achojcha are cut crosswise and beans are cut diagonally.

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Mix all the the cut vegetables together. Put the water to boil.

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Cook the vegetables in oil and add the salt. Cook until tender for about 5 min.

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Add this mixture to the boiling water. Grind together the garlic and cumin and add to the soup. Simmer the soup for 15 min. Remove any foam that might form.

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Remove the potatoes from the water and add to the soup. Is very important to save the water where the potatoes have been sitting. The potato starch is at the bottom of the bowl and will be used to thicken our soup.

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Slowly drain the water and save the starch at the bottom and add it to the soup. This step is very important to make your soup nice and thick.

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Cook the potaoes for 10 min and add the peas and spinach.

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Reduce the heat. Turn on the stove. Crack the top of the eggs and pour them into the soup, you have to shake the egg while your pour it in and stir the soup at the same time (a second person can help here). Turn off the stove

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Chop and wash the scallions.
Add to the soup and mix. Crush oregano in your hands and add to the soup

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Cut the parsley and cilantro and top each plate before serving

This soup is healthy and delicious, I love everything about this soup! In bolivia we have el batan and we use this flat stone to crush the potaoes. I miss some tools from Bolivia and the Batan is one of them. Enjoy!

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Ensalada 7 granos

Ensalada 7 Granos (Ensalda de la Abuelita Alejandra)

IMG_1022Every dia de todos santos my mom would take me to la Cancha (market) to buy the ingredients for my grandmother’s favorite recipe “la ensalada de 7 granos.” I loved going with her to pick the grains for the salad. My favorite part was the display of the grains and the free samples of cooked grains from the doñitas (vendor ladies).  For my mom this was her way to remember my grandmother. My grandmother had a stand in la Cancha were she sold vegetables from 6 am to 6 pm. I grew up knowing my grandmother through this recipe since I never got to meet her. My mom would talk a lot about her from when we were on our way to get the ingredients to the time she would set the table with the salad. So since my earliest memories, I have called this salad “La ensalada de la abuelita alejandra” It brings happy memories of my mom and my grandmother.

Ingredients

Serves 8

1/2 cup kidney beans

1/2 cup pinto beans

1/2 cup canolini beans

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup garbanzo beans

1/2 cup fava beans

1/2 cup cooked barley

1 vidalia onion (or red onion)

1 large tomato

2 tbsp chopped cilantro (or Quilquina)

1 jalapeno pepper without the seeds (you can use half a green pepper)

3 tbs olive oil

1 tbs cider vinagrette

salt and pepper

Preparation:

You can find all the ingredients canned except the barley.

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Soak 1/4 cup of barley a night before and cook until soft. Rinse and let it cool

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Meanwhile peel the fava beans  (since the canned fava beans come with the skins on). In bolivia we eat them with the skin but the here the canned version’s skin is too hard.

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Rinse the other beans and put them together in a large bowl. Add the barley and fava beans.

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Dice the onion, tomatoes and pepper.

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Added to the bean mix and top with the cilantro or quilquina and mix slightly

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Wisk together the oil vinegar, salt, and pepper and add to the mix before serving.

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You can serve it just as a salad or as a side. It goes really well with steak. You can add or switch any bean and replace it with what you have on hand.

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The last time I was in Bolivia, I went to market with my mom and took this photo.  This is how cooked beans are sold in the markets and how they beautifully arranged in their own fabric bag. You can buy any type of cooked bean or corn.

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Torta tres leches o cuatro?

Tres leches Cake or four?

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I made this recipe for our house warming party, and my friend Jane loved it. I promised I would put the recipe on my blog. Even though is not Bolivian, it is very Latin American and you can use your favorite fruit to go with it. I love blueberries in Maine, but in Bolivia I love topping it with grilled mango and grilled pineapples. To Jane and Maura for sharing hours in the kitchen baking. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (softened)

1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 eggs yolk

5 eggs white

1 cup milk or cream

1 can (14oz) condensed milk

1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

1 cup whipped cream

Fresh fruit like berries, mangoes, roasted pineapples, peaches

Preparation:

If you don’t have time to bake the cake you can use Betty Crocker  yellow cake mix and follow the box instructions.

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Preheat oven at 350F. If you are making one cake use a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. If you are making two cakes use two 8″ baking dishes. Lightly butter the baking dish.

In a bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Beat egg whites to until stiff and you see small peaks in their shape. Set aside

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and 3/4 cups of sugar until pale and thick. Add the eggs yolk and vanilla, beat to combine. Gradually add  the flour and mix to combine. With an spatula add the whipped eggs whites and mix into the batter until well mixed. Pour into the baking pans. Bake for 30-35 min.

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In a bowl mix together milk or cream, evaporated milk and condensed milk and set aside.

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Remove the cake from the oven and poke the cake  all over with a toothpick, and add the mix of milk. Is very important to make enough small holes around the cake so the mix will go through the cake and to pour it slowly so the milk will soak the cake. Let it cool for an hour. I like making this one day ahead so the cake really is well moisturized by the mix of milks.

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Whip cream to peaks. Spread the cream evenly over cooled cake and top it with a layer of your favorite fruit. Enjoy!

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Sopa de Pan

Sopa de Pan

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My dad and mom used to talk how my grandmother Esperanza (my dad’s mom) would make this amazing sopa de pan for Semana Santa. My mom was always sad that she never learned how to make it from Esperanza. So I asked my dad’s sister, Rosa to teach us how to make this dish. I thought that this was a real soup made with bread, I didn’t have any idea that sopa de pan is more similar to a pizza than a soup. So my aunt Rosa told us how to make it. I guess each family has their own way to do it and the main ingredient is  Pan de Arani. This bread has a particular flavor and consistency. You can substitute the pan de arani for a bagguete or a rustica bread. You can bake it or cook it in a pot on the stove but the final product is so delicious that you will end up eating more than one piece, especially if you love pizza. Enjoy!

9 inch baking dish.

Ingredients:

2 red onions medium size

2 peeled tomatoes

1 large green pepper

3 tbsp vegetable oil

salt and pepper

24 slices Monterrey Jack or Cheddar cheese

1 cup of milk

2 baguette

Preparation:

Slice the onion tomatoes and pepper in long strip (corte juliana). Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Cook the onion  for 3 min add tomatoes and pepper and cook for 10 min. Add salt and pepper and taste, the onion should be soft and the pepper should still be crispy.

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Slice the cheese and bread. The bread should not be too thin.

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Preheat the oven to 400F

Butter and flour the baking dish.

Soak each piece of bread at a time in milk and accommodate in a layer on the baking dish. Then add a layer of the vegetable mix and a layer of cheese.

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Start a second row with the soaked bread in milk, add a layer of vegetables and finally a layer of cheese.

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Add the rest of the milk. Bake it until the cheese starts to become golden about 25 min.

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The cheese that we use in Bolivia doesn’t melt. You can use mozzarella if you want but I love Monterrey Jack or even Cheddar would work great. Cut slices, serve hot. Enjoy!

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Pukacapas

Pukacapas

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The name of this empanada is Spanish-Quechua. Puka in Quechua means red and Capa in Spanish has two meanings: layer, cape. I think the name evolved because you have a nice round red layer that is the shape of a cape that covers the empanada, so it makes sense to called them Pukacapas.

We love our mid afternoon snacks and I love this pukacapa recipe because of the filling.  I used to eat it with an helado de canela (cinnamon gelato) or a good juice made of dry peaches called Mokhochinchi.

 

 

Makes 15 units of Pukacapas

I will describe the process step by step on give the ingredients for each step
Filling
1 medium red onion shredded ( ⅓ cup shredded red onion)
8 oz Fresh cheese or Monterrey Jack

2 tbsp shredded hot pepper
1 tbsp chopped quilquiña or cilantro
1 egg
Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl and put aside.

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Red dough wash
2 Tbsp paprika
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp water
Mix all ingredients and set aside.  It has to be well mixed.

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Dough
2 Cups flower
5 Tbsp Crisco
2 eggs yolks
3 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tsp salt
1 1/2 Tsp dry yeast
¼ Cups water

Sift the flower in a mixing bowl. Shape the flower in volcano shape. Heat the crisco close to boil. Add this hot oil to the flour, you will see how the flower effervesces. Mix with a wooden spoon.

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Disolve the yeast in the water.

Add this mix to the flour  along with the eggs yolks , salt and sugar. Mix until all the ingredients are well mixed in the dough. It’s very important to knead the dough forcefully on the table the dough for at least 5 min. (My Mom slams the dough down on the table, throwing it from up high for about 3 minutes). Make a nice ball and divide in 30 pieces.

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Shape each piece in small balls and with a roller pin, flatten each piece until it’s the size of the cup,. If the dough is a little bit too sticky, add some flour to your surface working area.

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After all of them are flat, add 1 tbs of the filling mix in the center of the 15 discs, making sure ther is a nice pile with no filling on the edges of the disc. Use another disc to cover and press well to seal the edges. After sealed, do a nice braid twist around the edges of the dough. If you don’t know out to braid the dough, you can use a fork to press the edges down.

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Preheat the oven to 350F

Put the pukacapas on a baking sheet and using a brush, cover with the paprika and yolk mix.

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Bake them for 15 min the bottoms look golden.

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Cuñapé

Cuñapé

IMG_4661Traveling around Bolivia in a bus can be very exciting when you are a kid,  especially when the bus stops at a checkpoint and tons of ladies start offering different street food to the bus passengers. I used to have a favorite food in every city because every city has different dishes. In Santa Cruz my favorite snack that the ladies would sell outside the buses was Cuñapés, sometimes they would even be hot out of the oven. The nice Crispy outside with the melted soft cheese inside makes this little roll a good source of energy for the long travel ahead. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Makes 10 small portions

Cooking and preparation  time 30 min

Ingredients:

1 cup tapioca flour (Bob’s Red Mill)

2 cups  shredded monterrey jack (or preferably Queso Fresco)

1 tsp baking powder

1 egg

1-2 tbs milk

Assemble the ingredients and preheat the oven to 450F.

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Mix the tapioca flour and the baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add the cheese and mix well until cheese is covered in the flour.

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Add the egg to the mix of cheese and flour, and mix. If the dough starts sticking together, you don’t need to add milk if it keeps separating add 1 tbs of milk at that time.

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In this case I added one tbs of milk and made a nice ball of dough. Divide the dough in 10 pieces of the same size and shape them into balls. Put a thumbprint in the bottom of each ball (to help with even puffing in the oven).

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Place finger print side down on a cooking sheet. You can use a parchment paper. Bake for 15 min at 450F, you want them to be nicely golden and dry.

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This is why I love cooking, you get rewarded at the end with delicious food and some recipes don’t take that long to Cook. Best served warm.

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Fricase Paceño Boliviano

Fricase Paceño

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What I remember about this dish growing up was that every place that was organizing a New Year’s eve party offered Fricase paceno para recibir el alba on the menu. Of course, I didn’t understand why this was a special on the menu at 5 am in the morning on New Year’s eve! But when I was old enough that my parents let me go to a party with friends, I realized how important it is to have a nice spicy soup to keep you awake to receive the New Year with good energy. So I now understand why fricase is so important. I love this dish for the flavor and how simple it is. You don’t have to eat it at 5 or 6 am in the morning to enjoy!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 lb pork (ribs or porkchop)

1/2 cup aji amarillo yellow sauce

12 black or white Chuño (usually you use the black ones) 3 per person (chuño is freeze-dried potato, if unavailable, rather than substituting for potatoes I’d just leave them out)

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1 can hominy (Mote blanco)

5 garlic

1 tsp cumin

1 tbs dry oregano

salt

4 cups of water or broth

Get the ingredients ready. Chuño is soaked in water a night ahead, clean the extra skin if necessary.

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Cut the pork into 8 large pieces, two per person. Rub the aji amarillo into the pork.

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Meanwhile in a large pot heat the water or broth. Once is hot (but not boiling) add the pork, garlic, salt, cumin and let it simmer for an hour an a half.

While the meat is cooking, cook the Chuño in a separate pot. It’s cooked after 20 min or tender with a knife. Set aside.

Once the pork is tender after one hour and a half, add the oregano and bread crumbs. Let it simmer for 10 min. Add the Chuño and hominy or mote blanco (I like doing it this way).

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Usually in Bolivia they put the chuño and the mote blanco in the soup bowl first and they add the meat and the fricase soup on top. I love cooking the mote blanco and chuño in the soup a little bit so they absorb the flavor.

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The best way to enjoy this is early in the morning usually Saturday after a long night partying! There’s nothing better to go with this than a crispy  marraqueta (Bolivian version of a baguette) to soak the juices in your bread and a good llajwa (spicy salsa).

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