Friday, July 20, 2012

Cooking Around the World: Ecuador

Tonight, while Jake was at a thank-you barbeque for helping some friends with their new house, the little Manns and I traveled to Ecuador by tabletop in our Cooking Around the World Adventure. Ecuador is located on the western coast of South America, sandwiched between Columbia and Peru.

While Ecuador is a relatively small country, cuisine varies greatly from one region to another due to the vast terrain changes around the Andes. For example, costeños (people from the coast) prefer seafoods, beans, and plantains while serranos (from the mountainous regions) prefer meat, potatoes, rice, and hominy.

So, I picked one dish to honor the costeños and one that the serranos might enjoy.

For the costeños...Ecuadorian Ceviche

1 pound shrimp
1/2 C fresh lime juice
1/2 C  fresh lemon juice
1 T mustard
¼ C ketchup
1 T olive oil
1 C cilantro

Clean and shell the shrimp. Place the shimp shells into 2 cups of water along with a tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until the shrimp shells turn pink. Remove from heat. Strain the water away from the shells, discarding the shells and reserving the water to cook the ceviche.

Place the cleaned shrimp into the warm, shrimp-flavored water and bring to a boil. Cook the shrimp until they are a bright pink color. Do not overcook the shrimp!

Place the shrimp and the water into a bowl to cool. Toss in the fresh juices, ketchup, oil and mustard. Mix together, tossing lightly with the cilantro and serve.

For the serranos...Llapingachos

While potato pancakes are not a family favorite, we do eat them and I thought it would be a nice comparison to other kinds that we have cooked: Czech Bramboracky or carrot-potato latkes for Hanukkah.

These Ecuadorian potato cakes are called llapingachos (pronounced "yah-peen-GAH-chos") and use mashed instead shredded or grated potatoes. These are typically served with a fried egg and a simple salad. And don't forget the peanut sauce. Though that might sound unusual - potatoes with peanuts - it was the perfect accompaniment to these savory pancakes. Yum!

3 C mashed potatoes (most recipes I found skinned their potatoes, I left the skins on)
1/2 C white cheese (I used a queso fresco)
1 egg, beaten
1 t paprika (most recipes I found used achiote oil but suggested that paprika could be substituted)

Shape the mashed potato mixture into balls slightly larger than a golf ball. Make a large hole with your finger in the middle and press about a tablespoon of the cheese mixture into the hole. Close the mashed potato mixture over the cheese center, and then gently pat the ball into a thick pancake.

Heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil in a large flat-bottom pan. Fry the pancakes in batches, about 3 minutes on each side.
Peanut sauce
1/2 C all natural peanut butter
1/2 C organic milk
1/2 onion, sliced and sauteed

Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a saucepan and heat while whisking smooth.

This Global Table Ambassador is signing off for now. We're off to Egypt next, although I might take a pass on that since I cooked an Egyptian feast during the Tut-mania class I taught a couple of years back. We'll see. Stay tuned...

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