Saturday, 4 October 2008

My Kitchen, My World - Ecuador.

This week in My Kitchen, My World our kitchens have travelled to Ecuador.

So far one of the biggest lessons that I have learned since joining this globe-trotting cooking group is that I know less than I thought about the world. I have almost gotten over my desire to stick a Q in Ecuador and have managed to figure out exactly where in South America it is located. (Snuggled up beside Peru)

The next order of business was to google the national dishes of Ecuador. Ok, looks like I have a choice between Crispy Guinea Pig and Bull Penis Soup. Hmmm. Well, as tempting as they sound, I really don't want to get a reputation at the butcher shop. This is a small town and I have already been seen carrying on conversations with my puppies in public - best not to give them too much more ammunition.

I decided to go somewhat vegetarian. I found a number of recipes for Ecuadorian Potato Cakes - LLapingachos. They are often served with peanut sauce or topped with a fried egg. I decided to do both. They are very tasty and I am planning on serving the leftovers for brunch tomorrow.

These recipes are from, Marion Blazes.

Ecuadorian Potato Cakes - LLapingachos

4 pounds white potatoes
1 onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons achiote oil
1 egg yolk
1 cup shredded white cheese (queso fresco, farmer's cheese, or mozzarella
4 green onions, minced
salt and pepper to taste
peanut sauce (see recipe link below)

Peel the potatoes and add them to a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook until tender when pierced with a fork.
While the potatoes are cooking, sauté the onion in the achiote oil until soft. Set aside to cool.
Whip the boiled potatoes in a standing mixer to mashed them, or run them through a ricer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (If using paprika instead of achiote oil, mix the paprika in with the mashed potatoes).
Mix the onions and the egg yolk in with potatoes.
Mix the grated cheese with the minced green onions.
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 pancake about a half inch thick. Chill the pancakes for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet. Fry the pancakes in batches, about 3 minutes on each side. Keep pancakes warm in a 200- degree oven until ready to serve. Serve with peanut sauce.

Ecuadorian Peanut Sauce - Salsa de Maní para Llapingachos

1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon paprika

Place the sliced onion and the milk in a pot. Bring milk to a simmer, and simmer gently, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, to infuse the milk with the flavor of the onion.
Remove from heat and strain to remove onion. Return milk to pot and stir in the peanut butter. Bring to boil and cook, stirring, until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Season with hot pepper oil if desired.
Check out My Kitchen, My World to see how the other brave globe trotters fared and to see how you can play along.
Last Week's Country - India, Next Week? Stay Tuned!