ECUADOR

La Tricolor was first adopted in 1835 and the National coat of arms was added in 1900.
COUNTRYECUADOR
DishesLlapingachos *vegan option, tomato + onion curtido, aji criollo
Time 1.30 hours
Effort 6/10
Rough cost £4
COUNTRY ECUADOR
Capital Quito
Population17,084,358 (67th largest)
Land mass 283,561 km2 (73rd largest)
Languages Spanish (official), Kichwa + Shaur (official indigenous)
Religions93% Christian (80% Catholic)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The 1st of the ‘Es’ – Ecuador, or officially The Republic of Ecuador. It is a country in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia, Peru and the Pacific Ocean. It also includes the famous Galapagos Islands. Ecuador has a very ethnically diverse population composed of people of mestizos, European, Native American and African descent. Ecuador is one of the 17 ‘megadiverse’ countries, which means it is home to the majority of Earth’s species and specifically a large number of the endemic species of the world. It has the most biodiversity per square km of any other country in the world – which is incredible!

Its cuisine is very diverse and each region has its own specialities, based on its altitude and farming conditions. For example, in the coastal areas, fresh ceviche is the delicacy to be had. Its national dish is Guaita, which is a thick stew of tripe, potatoes and peanut sauce. However, we went for a classic Ecuadorian side and breakfast dish of Llapingachos! These are grilled, cheesy-stuffed potato cakes that were lovely, served up with a delicious quick-pickle curtido and a bit of heat in the aji criollo sauce. We would definitely recommend making this recipe and checking out some of the other Ecuadorian dishes (lots of street food options!).

Hope everyone is doing ok!

RECIPES

Llapingachos *vegan option

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 large potatoes
  • 1 cup grated cheese (we used vegan grated mozzarella!)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp achiote (substitute: 1 tsp paprika + 1 tsp tumeric)
  • salt to taste
  • veg oil for frying
  • TO SERVE: fried eggs, sliced avocado, spicy sausage

Tomato and Onion Curtido

  • 2 red onions, mandelined or v finely sliced
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 3 tomatoes, mandelined or v finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Aji criollo

  • 4 hot green peppers
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, stems + all
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • 3 tbsp spring onion stems
  • salt to taste

METHOD

  1. Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft. This takes about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat some oil in a frying pan and add in the onions, stirring them on a medium-high heat until they are soft. Add in the spices and stir so that the onions get a nice orange colour.
  3. Mash the onion mixture into the cooked potatoes until the potatoes are properly mashed. Form a ball of ‘dough’ and leave this to cool completely! While the mash dough is cooling, make the Curtido and Aji criollo!
  4. Make the Curtido by rubbing salt into the sliced onions to wilt them and then rinse them well with cold water. Mix the onions with the lime juice and a bit of salt and let them rest for at least 10 minutes, so the onions turn pink! Add the rest of the ingredients in, stir and serve.
  5. Make the Aji criollo by blitzing all the ingredients together into a liquid paste.
  6. Llapingachos – As seen in the photo below, divide the mash into between 12-16 balls. Then make a deep thumb-print in each ball, fill with cheese, seal back up and flatten back down to form patty shapes.
  7. Heat some oil in a large frying pan and fry the llapingachos for about 3-4 minutes on each side until a golden brown colour. Be careful when flipping them, so they do not break apart.
  8. Serve up the Llapingachos with the aji criollo, curtido & your chosen trimmings. Whack on some Ecuadorian folk music and enjoy! YUM!

Muchas Gracias and see you in Egypt! M + B x

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