Papas a la huancaina

Papas a la Huancaina (Rommy’s Bolivian way)

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I grew all my life thinking this dish was Bolivian and not knowing our neighbor’s geography (Huancayo is in Peru). When I traveled in Peru with my husband, I was surprised to see papas a la huancaina on the menu and I ordered it. We were amazed by the delicious sauce, but I noticed it didn’t have peanuts and we could not figure out what the ingredients were. I asked the waitress and she told me that the sauce was made with soda cracker and cheese with aji amarillo and I asked why they modified the Bolivian recipe. She said, “Bolivian recipe?  You know Huancayo is en Peru.” So this is how I learned geography and a new recipe. Here is the Bolivian way. Enjoy!

Serves 8

Ingredients

4 dried spicy yellow peppers

2 garlic cloves

1 cup raw peanuts  (you can substitute for unsalted roasted peanuts)

2 cups water (1/2 cup more if you want it less thick)

1 tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

Optional ( 1/2 cup grated queso fresco or monterrey jack)

1 head of lettuce

8 large potato boiled and peeled or 16 small potatoes

8 hard boiled eggs

black olives

Get the ingredients ready:

Llajwa de Mani (Bolivian peanut sauce)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Select 4 large yellow peppers. Bake them in the oven for 5 min, the pepper will start burning in some areas and the pepper will turn a dark red color. Don’t over roast.

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Let the pepper cool. Meanwhile, put the peanuts on a baking sheet and roast the peanuts at 350F for 7 min. Remove from the oven, the peanuts will continue cooking after they are out of the oven so you don’t want to keep them inside the oven too long.

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(The above photo with two piles shows the unroasted and roasted peanuts). Take the seeds out of the yellow peppers and put them in a food processor or blender, add the peanuts, garlic, salt and water. You are looking for a smooth sauce.

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Heat the oil in a pan and add the peanut sauce. Cook for 15 min, if is too thick add more warm water or milk. Add the cheese after you take the sauce out of the stove.

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Serve warm with potatoes or pasta or any barbecue chicken or meat.

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Heat the oil in a pan and addd the peanut sauce cooked for 15 min if is to thick add more warm water or milk. Add the cheese after you take the sauce out the stove.

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At this point you can add the fresh cheese make sure that the fresh cheese is well shreded since it doenst melt with heat. You dont want big chunks in you peanut sauce. Ad warm milk or water if needed to keep it more liquid that (espeso)

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Peel the potatoes and eggs and slice them. You can arrange this on the plate this in different ways, I like it this way. Usually there is a layer of lettuce, a layer of potatoes, and a layer of eggs covered with peanut sauce. Top with olives. You can get very creative, my husband and I love it this way.

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Llajwa de Mani (Bolivian peanut sauce)

Llajwa de Mani (Bolivian peanut sauce)

IMG_4858I love llajwas in Bolivia and this peanut sauce is one of my favorites, it goes really well with potatoes, yuca and anticuchos (grilled cow heart-meat on skewers). I tried two different recipes and I love both of them; one has fresh cheese and the other one doesn’t. The first recipe I made was for dish call papas a la huancaina.  The second recipe without the cheese we tried on pasta with fresh tomatoes and came out delicious!

Ingredients

4 dry spicy yellow peppers

2 garlic cloves

1 cup raw peanuts  (you can substitute for unsalted roasted peanuts)

2 cups water (1/2 cup more if you want it less thick)

1 tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

Optional ( 1/2 cup grated queso fresco or monterrey jack)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Select 4 large yellow peppers. Bake them in the oven for 5 min, the pepper will start burning in some areas and the pepper will turn a dark red color. Don’t over roast.

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Let the pepper cool. Meanwhile, put the peanuts on a baking sheet and roast the peanuts at 350F for 7 min. Remove from the oven, the peanuts will continue cooking after they are out of the oven so you don’t want to keep them inside the oven too long.

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(The above photo with two piles shows the unroasted and roasted peanuts). Take the seeds out of the yellow peppers and put them in a food processor or blender, add the peanuts, garlic, salt and water. You are looking for a smooth sauce.

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Heat the oil in a pan and add the peanut sauce. Cook for 15 min, if is too thick add more warm water or milk. Add the cheese after you take the sauce out of the stove.

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Serve warm with potatoes or pasta or any barbecue chicken or meat.

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Nogada de cordero

Nogada de Cordero

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I love peanuts and this dish calls for raw peanuts that, combined with the other ingredients, make a delicious sauce. This is my mom’s version that she used to cook occasionally and probably is the Cochabamba style. The original dish came from another city, Sucre, and they use walnuts instead of peanuts and add some raisins.  The traditional dish calls for lamb, but you must be prepared because lamb has a strong earthy aroma when cooked. So if you want to try this delicious peanut sauce you can substitute the lamb for chicken if you are not a lamb fan. Enjoy, you will be surprised with the flavors and how a 1/4 tsp of sugar enhances the flavor!

Like any Bolivian main dish we will do this one step by step.

Serves 8

Precooking the lamb

Ingredients

8 pieces of Lamb

1 onion

1 carrots

6 cups water

4 stem parsley

1 tsp salt

Put together the ingredients and clean the lamb of extra fat or nerves. Put the six cups of water in a large pot and let it get warm. Before it starts boiling add the pieces of lamb, onion, carrot and parsley. Let it simmer for an hour.

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Remove the foam that forms on the top and discard.

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Seasoning the cooked lamb.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup ground red pepper

3 garlic cloves

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/4 tsp cumin

2 tbs oil plus 2 more (to fry the meat)

Heat oil in a saucepan and add the minced garlic, cumin, and pepper. Cook for a minute and add the red pepper sauce. Cook for 5 min and reserve. We are going to use this sauce to rub onto the pieces of lamb and then sear them in the frying pan with oil.

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Peanut sauce

1/2 cup peanuts

1 cups hot water

1 cup water

1 large onion diced in small cubes

1 large tomato peeled and dice in small cubes

1 tsp salt

2 tbs chopped parsley

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/4 tsp sugar

2 -3 cups of broth (you can use the lamb broth)

4 large potatoes

cooked rice (arroz graneado)

While the lamb is being cooked, prepare the peanut sauce, potatoes and rice.

Soak the peanuts in a cup of hot water and let it soak for 15 min.

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Dice the onion, peel the tomatoes and leave out the seeds if you can. Chop the parsley. Set aside

In a blender (or batan) grind the peanuts finely with a cup of water.

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After the lamb is cooked remove from the broth, save the broth. Cover each piece of lamb with the rubbing sauce. Heat the vegetable oil in a large sauce pan and fry the lamb slightly and set aside.

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In the same saucepan that the lamb was fried in, cook the onion, tomatoes, parsley, pepper, salt and sugar for 10 min. Add the peanuts and mix. Cook for 5 min.

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Add the 2 cups of lamb broth or any broth and add the pieces of lamb. Let it cook for 30 min, don’t let it dry too much. Add warm water or more broth if necessary. Optiona: add the potatoes to this mix 10 min before it’s cooked.

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Rice (Arroz Graneado)

Ingredients:

2 cups rice

4 cups water

2 tbs vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves

1/4 tsp salt

In Bolivia we prepare our rice this way: sometimes we use also some slices of onion and even black sweet pepper.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the sliced garlic, cook the garlic for 30 sec, add the rice and fry until the rice changes color from clear white to dark opaque white.

Boil the four cups of water. Add salt and the fried rice, let it cook for 20 min until dry.

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In Bolivia the way they present this dish is with the potatoes on one side topped with the meat, sauce and parsley sprinkled on top and the rice next to it.

Enjoy it!

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Sopa de Mani (Bolivian Peanut soup)


Sopa de mani

My friend Lindsay is a professional cook and a great writer. She asked me to cook  a Bolivian recipe for an article in the Portland Phoenix. The first thing that came to my mind was Sopa de Mani. In Bolivia when I was growing up, we would only have it on special occasions, and what a better occasion than to have a lunch with my friend? Unfortunately (or luckily), it was a hot summer day. But we ended up enjoying it anyway. Today, Maine is still cold with some snow in the ground, so I thought about posting this recipe to warm us with a soup that tastes great with a Marraqueta (Bolivian version of a Baguette). Enjoy!
As Rommy Holman, from Cochabamba, Bolivia, taught to Lindsey Sterling for the Portland Phoenix in Cumberland, Maine, June 2011.
Serves 8
Cooking Time: 2-3 hours.
1 Tbsp salt

4 beef ribs or bone-in cut of beef 1 small red onion

2 small carrots
1/2 green pepper, medium dice
1/4 red bell pepper, medium dice
10 green beans, sliced diagonally across for long, thin ovals
1/2 pound skinless raw peanuts (they’re not tan or brown, they’re cream-colored and may be called blanched)
4 Yukon potatoes
1/2 cup white rice
1 big clove garlic
1/2 tsp powdered cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
handful fresh cilantro
handful fresh parsley
small bunch fresh celery leaves
1/4 cup peas
crusty bread
llajua (a fresh hot sauce condiment)
1 tomato
1 jalepeno
small handful cilantro
1 tsp dried oregano
Fill soup pot 2/3 full of water, add 1 Tbsp salt and beef. Bring to boil and simmer for 1 hour or two (longer for the tougher cuts of meat). Keep a lid on to keep broth from evaporating too much. As the soup simmers, skim any fat and foam that rise to the top of the soup with a big flat spoon into a small bowl for easy discarding.
While the meat broth is brewing, cut your veggies. cut carrots lengthwise into 1/4″ thick planks and then crosswise into 1/4″ strips. Dice green and red pepper and onion. And cut the green beans on the diagonal to make thin long ovals. Put the veggies in the soup pot.

Make a raw peanut puree by blending the peanuts in a blender with about a cup of water until you have what looks like almost melting vanilla ice cream. After the meat has cooked for at least an hour, add the peanut puree so the soup turns white with a creamy top surface.
Continue cooking for an hour. I wouldn’t fudge that particular cooking time because Rommy said, “Raw peanuts need to be cooked an hour at least or it makes the tummy ache. That’s what my mom says.” An hour then! Stir occasionally so peanut particles don’t burn on the bottom. As this cooks, go ahead and do the following.
Mash garlic and 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp cumin (and a little salt to aid the grinding) in a mortar and pestle. Don’t forget to smell this because it’s VERY satisfying. Add to soup.
Now it’s time to prep for the soup garnishes.

Make a bowl of fresh feathery herbs by gathering a tight bouquet of parsley and cilantro (she’d also use quilquina if she were home) and cutting across them toward your thumb with a paring knife. Fry potato strips.
 
Make fried potato strips by slicing potatoes across into round slices, and then slicing across the the slices to make thin strips. Covered with water (to keep from turning brown) until soup is almost done.

Strain potato strips. Pat dry with paper towels. Heat a half-inch of oil in a frying pan on medium high. Get a plate with paper towel over it ready for drying the fries. Test one strip in the oil. You want it to bubble vigorously. If it doesn’t, let the oil get hotter before adding potatoes. They’ll come out soggy if you add them to not-hot-enough oil. If the oil is smoking – it’s too hot. The fried potato strips are done when they’re golden brown; remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon or tongs and put them on paper towels to dry. Salt them.
Make homemade hotsauce, called llajua, by pulsing in the the blender ever so slowly fresh jalapenoes, tomatoes, and fresh cilantro (again, she’d use quilquina at home). Her mother would make it on a traditional tool, a rectangular mortar and pestle called a batan. Avoid putting the blender on full blast – it makes the hot sauce foamy, which is not authentic! Serve in dishes on table for individuals to spoon into soup as they like.
After the peanuts have simmered with the soup about an hour, add a cup of rice. After rice has cooked for about ten minutes, use cooking twine to tie a bouquet of celery leaves and parsley leaves and steep bouquet in the soup. Take meat out of the pot. Pull meat off bone, discard bone, and put meat back in soup.
When the rice in the soup is cooked, add peas and sprinkle dried oregano over top. Now taste the soup. Add salt so that it tastes the best it can be. Serve soup in shallow bowls, sprinkle fried potatoes in the center of each bowl and fresh herbs all over top. Serve with chunks of baguette and the llajua on the table.
Yo can freeze this soup and taste delicious every time!

Photos by Lindsay Sterling and Yulia Converse.