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Patacones: Colombia's Most Famous Dish
Patacones – also called “tostones” – are flattened and fried plantains and are a side dish for many Colombian meals. They look like little yellow pancakes!
Ingredients (for 4 persons):
- 2 plantain bananas
Cut each banana in 3 pieces, fry them in oil or in place in fryer for 3 to 4 minutes until they soften.
Remove and dry.
Prepare a large bowl with water, mashed garlic and some salt. Dip each banana piece in the mixture, then flatten them with a rolling pin (1/2 inch thickness).
Put the plantain pieces in oil again to brown them.
Remove, dry, and add salt.
Enjoy as an appetizer or a side dish for fish or seafood.
Colombian Coco Rice
Coco rice is a specialty of the Caribbean coast, it is perfect with fish or seafood.
Ingredients (for 4 persons):
- 1 pound of white rice
- 1 Coconut or coconut milk + 3.2 ounces of grated coconut
- 2 tablespoons of panela OR brown sugar
- 1 Liter (32 oz) of water
Mix 1 half coconut (or half of the coconut milk and half of the grated coconut) with 250mL (8 oz) of water. Strain with a strainer.
In a pan heat the panela or sugar with the coconut mixture. Let it reduce and brown.
Mix the other half of the coconut (or the rest of coconut milk and grated coconut) with the rest of the water. Strain and add to the pan. Tiny pieces of caramel (“cocada”) must detach. Salt.
Boil the preparation and add the rice.
Add water if necessary.
Enjoy with fish!
Cheese Arepas: Key to Colombian Gastronomy!
The arepa is a sort of bread made of corn flour. It definitely is the most consumed food by Colombians! There is a wide variety of arepas: arepa de huevos (with eggs), arepa de choclo (with yellow corn), etc. The cheese arepa is yet another version.
- 1 pound of white corn flour
- 200 ML (7 oz) of lukewarm water
- 100 mL (3 oz) of milk
- 3 ounces of butter (3/4 stick)
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Feta cheese
- Swiss cheese
Crumble the cheeses, mix, put to one side.
Melt the butter in the lukewarm milk. In a big bowl, mix the flour with the salt and the sugar. Pour the water and the milk with butter. Mix and knead for a few minutes until you obtain a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Add flour if too sticky. Do not expect a bread type of dough, as corn flour is gluten-free!
Form little disks. Put the cheese in the middle of a disk, cover with another one and seal the edges together.
Heat a frying pan (a plancha is even better!), brown the arepas 3 minutes on each side. Eat immediately.
A Recipe for Ajiaco: The Meal of Bogota
Half soup, half chicken and potato stew, Ajiaco is the typical meal of Bogotá, Colombia’s capital.
- 3 onions
- 2 chickens of 5 pounds, cut in pieces
- 2 poultry stock cubes
- 1.2 pounds of “sabanera”, potatoes peeled and sliced
- 1.1 pounds of yellow “criolla” potatoes, peeled
- 2.2 pounds of “pastura” potatoes peeled and sliced
- 1 bowl of fresh guascas leaves
- 5 corns, cut in 3 pieces each
In a pan put the onions, the cilantro, the salt and the chicken. Cover with water. Cook over an open fire. Skim regularly. Then reduce the flame and let cook.
When the chicken begins to be cooked, remove the cilantro and onions and add the stock cubes. Add pepper. Add the potatoes and cook on a medium heat for 30 minutes.
When the chickens are cooked, remove them, let them cool down then cut in small pieces.
Add to the pan the “criolla” and “pastura” potatoes. Add the guasca leaves and the corn. Let it cook for 15 minutes.
When the potatoes are cooked, add the chicken and let it cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Serve it hot with crème fraîche, capers, chili and/or avocado slices.
Sancocho Colombian Beef Stew
The sancocho, a Colombian beef stew, is both delicious and quite copious!
- 0,7 pounds or more of beef meat (type: brisket or chuck roast)
- 1 manioc tuber
- 1 green plantain banana
- 4 big potatoes
- 1 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- A generous quantity of cumin
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoon of olive oil
- One ear of corn per guest
Thinly slice the onion and chop 2 garlic cloves.
In a big pot, brown the garlic and onion in olive oil. Once brown, sear the meat at medium heat on every side.
Add salt and pepper.
Cover with water and let it cook for 1h30.
Peel the manioc and break it to remove the hard stem in the middle. Break in big pieces (easier by hand)
Peel the potatoes and cut in big pieces.
Peel the pantain banana and break in big pieces.
Add right now one potato to the pot. It will cook more than the others, thus thickening the stew. Mash it once well cooked.
Wait 1 hour and 30 minutes. Then add the manioc to the stew. 20 minutes later the potatoes, then 15 minutes later the plantain.
Add the remaining garlic clove cut in two.
Add a generous quantity of cumin for a delicious stew. Add a few spoons of paprika.
10 minutes before the end, add the corn. Add salt and pepper once more.
Finely chop the cilantro and put it to one side.
It is possible to add a few fried bananas for a sweeter taste. Serve the sancocho with a salad or a sliced avocado with vinegar.