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South American Recipes
September 20, 2012 4:35 PM   Subscribe

Peru aside, South American cuisine does not get a lot of attention in the English-speaking world, but there are plenty of recipes out there which allow you to try the specialities from Colombia, Argentina & Chile in the comfort of your own home. Starting with the staple of Colombia and Venezuela and made from cornmeal / hominy, the arepa forms the basis of breakfast, lunch, dinner and anything in between. Basic arepa recipe.

For breakfast, serve your arepas with huevos pericos (scrambled egg with tomato & onion)
If you want a change for breakfast, then why not have a couple of fried balls of deliciousness, otherwise known as buñuelos, or a good old pandebono.
For lunch, it's soup with your arepa, either ajiaco or sancocho.
Something sweet for the afternoon - a cholado or a watermelon ice lolly.
Later in the evening how about a nice tamale or a substantial bandeja paisa?

Argentina:

You might not be eating a big juicy bife de chorizo in a Buenos Aires parrilla but you can at least make your own chimichurri at home.
Feeling peckish? Tuck into some homemade empanadas - chicken, corn, breakfast or blackberry.
Need something to go with your yerba mate? Why not make some traditional choccy-covered alfajores.
Perfect for those winter evenings, some hearty locro.

Chile:

Claimed by both Chile and Peru, why not start your day with a pisco sour.
For lunch, have your friends round and share Chile's version of shepherd pie, pastel de choclo.
You'll need something light in the afternoon, try a refreshing mote con huesillo (peaches with wheat).
For your big night, only two things are on the menu, a pile of carbs known as a chorrillana, accompanied by a earth-shaking terremoto cocktail.

Buen provecho!
posted by jontyjago (55 comments total) 86 users marked this as a favorite

 
CHEESY AREPAS LET ME LOVE YOU

You appear to have neglected to mention pachamanca de cuy, which I feel is a grave injustice.

Also if someone can logically explain the presence of raisins in pastel argentino I would really appreciate it.

SO HONGRAY
posted by elizardbits at 4:46 PM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


my fond memories of South America include a frothy cold and lemony Pisco Sour
posted by seawallrunner at 4:47 PM on September 20, 2012


Also if anyone would like to argue about which is the best kind of chicha I am always ready to espouse all manner of unpopular opinions.
posted by elizardbits at 4:51 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am lucky enough to have access to a food cart that specializes in the arepa. Bought one without having any idea what it was - it turns out it's not the split kind, but a more integrated masa / cheese / bits of corn kind of like this (minus the oats). It is kind of elusive on the internet but now I know where I'm going tomorrow for lunch.
posted by cobaltnine at 4:52 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


No recipes for barbecued guinea pigs?
posted by thewalrus at 4:53 PM on September 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


As there have been 2 requests for guinea pig in 5 comments, it's not in the post because a) not ideal for cooking at home and b) it's from Peru and here I've focussed on Colombia, Argentina & Chile. If I do a Peru post, I'll put guinea pig in there. And papas a la Huancaína.
posted by jontyjago at 5:00 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are several Brazillian buffets scattered about the great Boston area - meat in any form you'd like. Are those not common elsewhere?

(There's an Argentinian place I keep meaning to try too, but only the one that I know of.)
posted by maryr at 5:03 PM on September 20, 2012


FUCKIGN ALFAJORES. They are fiendishly delicious of course but more importantly when you see them on the menu in Andalucia they are totally different and wrong and confusing and then you end up drunkenly arguing with the increasingly agitated waiter about the evils of colonialization.
posted by elizardbits at 5:08 PM on September 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Of all the world's cuisines, I find myself loving the corn-based ones the most.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:08 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


One of my favorite things about coming to New York is the bakery that serves pao de queijo just down the street from my hotel. I have attempted to master the recipe at home and mostly failed, although what I make is in fact delicious.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:08 PM on September 20, 2012


Metafilter: drunkenly arguing with the increasingly agitated waiter about the evils of colonialization.
posted by The Whelk at 5:12 PM on September 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


pro tip: the word genocide is pretty much the same in spanish as it is in english
posted by elizardbits at 5:13 PM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Laylita's Recipes is a personal favorite source of Ecuadorian dishes (and amazing food photography!).
posted by Phatty Lumpkin at 5:13 PM on September 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


You forgot Paraguay.
/bushism
posted by bashos_frog at 5:23 PM on September 20, 2012


There are several Brazillian buffets scattered about the great Boston area - meat in any form you'd like. Are those not common elsewhere?

We have one in San Diego, and there's one I've been to in Irvine, so they're around in SoCal too. We have a pretty decent Brazilian population as well, so that might help. I have no idea if that type of place is an authentic Brazilian thing or just some trendy thing somebody thought up.
posted by LionIndex at 5:33 PM on September 20, 2012


Thank you for this tasty, tasty post!
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:34 PM on September 20, 2012


I was just in Colombia a few weeks ago, and I ate so many tasty, tasty arepas.

Also, the cheese soup. Mote de queso. The moat of cheese is the direct translation. Also so, so tasty. I attempted to find a recipe and found this hilariously unhelpful recipe.
posted by gingerbeer at 5:43 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


That really does come out to "boil cheese in water", doesn't it?
posted by restless_nomad at 5:52 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does Queens, New York count as part of the English-speaking world? Because yo, we do so got a lot of attention for South American food here.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:56 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


What kind of human are you to make this post reminding me of the delicious beefiness that was Bs. As. without showing up at my house with a three inch thick grass fed steak to grill?

A terrible human that is what kind.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:07 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm just here to say how much I want some ceviche.
posted by kiltedtaco at 6:11 PM on September 20, 2012


Here in Salt Lake we have the amazing Rodizio Grill, which can turn dinner into a three-hour marathon of succulent roasted meats of all kinds (although for us the most-anticipated portion of the meal is always the roasted pineapple). Holy mother of god, that is amazing stuff.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:20 PM on September 20, 2012


A couple of jobs ago work took us all to a Brazilian steakhouse to impress the visiting Japanese team. It went super well (and was fantastic) but the best part was trying to explain lamb with mint jelly to the Japanese guys. I find it a really odd combination myself - not something I grew up eating - but their faces... Well, they were very polite about it, at least.

(It was also... not particularly Brazilian. I mean, tasty, certainly, the salad/apps bar in particular was splendid, and no one likes large hunks of meat better than I do, but I too am curious what the actual ethnic connection is there.)
posted by restless_nomad at 6:24 PM on September 20, 2012


restless_nomad, you can make a totally acceptable pao de queijo using Chebe which we discovered after my wife was diagnosed with Celiac disease ten years ago. When I first went to Brazil on a business trip a few years later I was surprised to see the Brazilians were way ahead of us. :)
posted by Grumpy old geek at 6:34 PM on September 20, 2012


Yeah, that's... basically what I use except I just use tapioca flour and add the salt myself. The problem is that I refuse to pay 2.5x as much for the Bob's Red Mill flour and I use the Thai grocery store stuff instead and it just doesn't have the same consistency so I get much denser, chewier things. They are delicious so fuck it.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:37 PM on September 20, 2012


What the hell is that breakfast "empanada" abomination? :P
Just for posterity, the canonical argentinian empanada is the meat one (carne), which has ground beef, onions, oil, olives, spices, and sometimes hard-boiled eggs. The other very popular default options are cheese and onion, ham and cheese, creamy corn (humita) and maybe the chicken one or the mystery "veggies" one (verdura). You can always put whatever you want in them, but anything other than those listed there are remnants from the 90s fast food fad.
Also, the sweet ones are not technically empanadas, they're pastelitos, which are cooked in fat, i believe.

I'd recommend milanesas, preferably a la napolitana.

Proper pizza is hard to do at home, and i don't think i could pinpoint exactly what makes a pizza argentinian-style (except perhaps for its slightly rancid mozzarella, lack of toppings, and multiple-decades old dirty stone ovens), but fainá is surprisingly easy to make. You can have it on top of your slice of pizza, or by itself with some cheese and onions on top.

Also, i heard from a friend a few weeks ago that she tried something a neighbor baked that tasted exactly like the medialunas that foreigners hate so much (i.e. super sweet croissants). Add dulce de leche for maximum effect. So i guess you can do it at home somehow...

Sorry i don't have any recipes to recommend here, i'm not very creative in the kitchen, i prefer to make friends with people that like to cook instead ;-)
Perhaps someone else will have pointers to good ones, they're incredibly simple and traditional (albeit imported) dishes, pretty hard to get wrong.

And remember kids, chimichurri goes on your choripán, or on the side, don't ruin your good meat by putting it on top of your beef!
posted by palbo at 6:38 PM on September 20, 2012


When you say "the English-speaking world" you're excluding the US? Because South American food is the new hotness right now in the US restaurant industry.

There are Brazilian churrascaria/steakhouse chains and competing local rodizios in all the cities I frequent (which, admittedly, are Boston, New York, DC, Chicago, and SF). Here in the greater Boston area, there are five or six Venezuelan restaurants, at least two Argentinian restaurants, three or four Peruvian restaurants, at least two Colombian restaurants, and a hugely popular Chilean sandwich shop.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:53 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can also get two different brands of arepa in my local supermarket.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:54 PM on September 20, 2012


This list is incorrect. It is missing provoleta. Grilled cheese. No, you're thinking of a grilled cheese sandwich. Not that. Provoleta is Argentine grilled cheese. A variation of provolone cheese, brushed lightly with oil and caressed with herbs, then grilled over wood until crispy and smoky and cheesy and greasy and cheesy and the greatest thing in the world.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:56 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is crazy...synchronicity explosion! HAALP

I was learning more about AFOAF's apparently awesome Arepas Food truck in Denver 5 minutes ago and moseyed my way over to MetaFilter to see if anyone had ever done an FPP on Arepas. !?!?!?#*#*#*
posted by lordaych at 6:56 PM on September 20, 2012


*head assplodes*
posted by lordaych at 6:57 PM on September 20, 2012


Sorry I led with that and didn't start by saying "Thanks for the recipes!" Beautifully curated post, even if I take issue with your lead. Much appreciated!
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:58 PM on September 20, 2012


restless_nomad and LionIndex, according to Brazilian friends, the rodizio is a totally Brazilian thing. The ones in the US have salad bars with vegetables, though, unlike in Brazil where it's all farofa and cooked vegetables.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:01 PM on September 20, 2012


Sidhedevil, I just think of us as the far northern reaches of South America.

For the Boston area people, I've got Viva Mi Arepa on my places to check out. I looked at their menu and it looks fantastic. Can anyone confirm the Yelp reviews?
posted by benito.strauss at 7:10 PM on September 20, 2012


I will beat to unconsciousness with a big raw loop of morcillas anyone that calls that egg sandwich abomination a breakfast "empanada". Sheesh.

Also, the blackberry ones: no. Seriously, no. Perhaps in a parallel Earth Argentina, but not this one. If you are serious about empanadas dulces, you use batata (sweet potato) or membrillo (quince? is that right?) jellies, with some sugar and perhaps canela (cinnamon).
posted by Iosephus at 7:11 PM on September 20, 2012


gingerbeer, I'll translate a representative mote de queso recipe for you if you like. Do you want the kind with tomatoes or the kind without tomatoes?
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:13 PM on September 20, 2012


When you say "the English-speaking world" you're excluding the US? Because South American food is the new hotness right now in the US restaurant industry

My take was that when you think of food from Spanish-speakng countries that aren't Spain most coverage goes to either Mexico or Peru, and I wanted to share recipes for some of the food that I have come across in my time in South America (I currently live in Buenos Aires). It's by no means an exhaustive list and it's great that some of these dishes are getting a wider exposure in the US.

THe Brazilian buffet thing is interesting as they love the all-you-can-eat style restaurant there, either with a fixed fee, or you help yourself and pay by weight. I'm not a big fan as I would always show a total lack of self-restraint and end up with salad, chips, sushi, steak, fish, pizza and spring rolls on my plate. And broccoli that doesn't taste of anything. Always the broccoli.
posted by jontyjago at 7:14 PM on September 20, 2012


benito.strauss, que viva Viva Mi Arepa. It really is that good.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:14 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Both empanadas dulces and pastelitos exist as their own thing here. Pastelitos can be oil fried too, no problem. Usually the kind of hojaldre for both types of food differ a bit, though I'm not sure how, this post has pretty much exhausted my food preparation knowledge, sorry.
posted by Iosephus at 7:16 PM on September 20, 2012


Sorry, jontyjago, I was being a bit inside baseball, for which I apologize. It's a big fad in the restaurant industry here right now, but that doesn't mean it's everywhere in the US yet by any means, let alone in Canada or the UK or Australia or New Zealand or the Caribbean...

I have yet to have a Bolivian meal. Does anyone have any good Bolivian recipes? I would offer to trade from my Patagonian cookbook, but all the recipes are for mutton or sea snails or other equally hard to find ingredients.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:22 PM on September 20, 2012


I'm mostly just here to add my approval to buñuelos in theory and in practice--they are indeed awesome--and because no one else has posted Argentina on Two Steaks a Day yet.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:32 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


share Chile's version of shepherd['s] pie, pastel de choclo.

Surely, cottage pie rather than shepherd's pie, I say to myself for the hundredth time
posted by Bwithh at 7:45 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cuy. *shudder
posted by nickyskye at 8:04 PM on September 20, 2012


Arepa City in downtown Harrisburg, PA might have a website from the 1990s, but the food is amazing. Calling the arepas "sliders" is a nice touch.
posted by dhens at 8:24 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sidhedevil: "gingerbeer, I'll translate a representative mote de queso recipe for you if you like. Do you want the kind with tomatoes or the kind without tomatoes?"

I had the kind without tomatoes, but I would take both if it's not too much trouble. Thank you!

I had such good food in Colombia. Amongst the many reasons I want to go back, and for longer, is the food. The ceviche! The cheese! The rum wasn't bad, and I didn't get a chance to try most of it.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:22 PM on September 20, 2012


If you live in Los Angeles or the Bay Area and want to gorge yourself on arepas, get thee to Coupa Cafe. Just went to the one in Beverly Hills last weekend because I was craving chocolate milk done right and ended up with an arepa stuffed full of huevos pericos for good measure. Sooo good.
posted by town of cats at 11:17 PM on September 20, 2012


Hominy is hard to get in Australia. Is there any way I could use polenta for this?
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:33 PM on September 20, 2012


One of the only lasting legacies of a relationship with an old ex is my addiction to the arepas de queso as served by an Ecuadorian diner on the Upper West Side. Lo and behold, you can get masa flour in the city where I live now (at the Chinese supermarket for some bizarre reason), and shredded jonge gouda, while not precisely correct, does a good enough impersonation that no one's complained yet.
posted by 1adam12 at 3:15 AM on September 21, 2012


Something I love to drink when I go to Colombia is avena. 'Avena' literally means oats in spanish so it is tough going looking up a recipe for it online. It is a drink made from milk, oats and sugar and is usually served with cinnamon. You can find it sold all over Colombia but I have never seen it sold where I am (Australia). I couldn't find a recipe in english but if you speak spanish or want to try out google translate on it I found the recipe in spanish here.
posted by kiskar at 4:55 AM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of my best friends is from Venezuela and introduced me to the arepa. She makes hers using one of these arepa makers which makes them much rounder and thicker than what I understand is the traditional Columbian way but perfect to slice in half and use to make a little sandwich. My favorite is butter, ham and cheese and the hot arepa melts the butter and cheese into a delicious mess, mmmm.

Another dish that reminds me of arepas and is also totally delicious is pupusas. I believe that they are El Salvadoran (yes, I know that is Central and not South America) and are cooked with the filling inside. I haven’t found a restaurant around here that makes arepas, but we are blessed with 2 pupuserías.
posted by Sabby at 6:29 AM on September 21, 2012


If what you love is thick corn pancakes filled with stuff, I'd like to recommend you try pupusas, specifically those from the Pupuseria & Cafeteria Centroamericana on W MLK at Armenia in Tampa. Yum.
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:31 AM on September 21, 2012


Pisco sours are delicious. Having tried many a pisco sour in both Peru and Chile I have to say Peruvian ones are better....but I do my best to avoid admitting that to most Chileans, because arguing with a waiter about the evils of colonialization pales in comparison to what happens when you argue about which country has the better pisco sour (or worse, where it originated).
posted by luciernaga at 8:15 AM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


kiskar: 'Avena' literally means oats in spanish so it is tough going looking up a recipe for it online. It is a drink made from milk, oats and sugar and is usually served with cinnamon.

Sounds like an horchata. Rachel Laudan has some interesting history and recipes for horchatas, made from anything from rice and almonds to melon seeds or chufa(tigernuts).
posted by Prince_of_Cups at 9:54 AM on September 21, 2012


The ones in the US have salad bars with vegetables, though, unlike in Brazil where it's all farofa and cooked vegetables.

The two that I've been to had both a salad bar and a cooked vegetable bar, but I was just there for the meat and didn't waste stomach space on that stuff. If the restaurant type is generally an accurate thing, I would expect that the hot food bar is also mostly accurate, but for the life of me I can't remember anything from them but the collard greens.
posted by LionIndex at 12:44 PM on September 21, 2012


My town has an arepa truck too! OMG so good.
posted by clavicle at 2:41 PM on September 21, 2012


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