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Latin American Recipes

Colombian Tamales

Kolumbianische tamales

Today I am introducing Colombian tamales. This means an assortment of meat and corn mash, which is steamed in wrapped banana leaves for about an hour. I don’t think you can imagine how nervous I was when I found out that the local produce owner here in Munich actually could get me fresh banana leaves. So far I had only eaten tamales on vacation in Colombia. Usually they are served for breakfast and devoured with Colombian hot chocolate. However, since this is a savory dish, it will also taste great as the main course for dinner. I had often wondered whether it was possible to make them in Germany. But since I had not seen banana leaves being sold anywhere, I had not attempted Colombian tamales. This was over now! Finally I got hold of banana leaves! And I quickly learned why tamales are usually prepared by the entire family and not one person only. Preparing the tamales definitely was a full-family business. I had listened to stories of Colombians who had nothing else to do than to put their index finger on the yarn so that the designated mom/grandma/aunt could be sure that the tamales were sealed all proper. That was their entire job for the small children, nothing else. Since making tamales does require quite a bit of work and contains many components, usually they are made in large batches, anything below 15 tamales is not worth the effort. And if you keep in mind that Colombian families are large and include many more people than only the nucleus family, it does make sense to prepare 30 or more. Making Colombian tamales felt to me like an accolade of the highest nature and thus I was nervous of whether I could achieve this as a German who happened to be married to a Colombian.

Kolumbianische tamales tolimenses Continue Reading…

Colombian Christmas Traditions and Recipes

Buñuelos aus Kolumbien

Today I have the honor of introducing to you Colombian Christmas, rituals, and customs. Of course I am going to introduce to you typical Colombian recipes for Christmas as well. I by no means consider this extensive and is more based on my personal experience. As a German I can say though that Colombian Christmas is happier, louder, and more carefree than German Christmas. Maybe it has to do with the fact that Germans usually meet with their nucleus family; during these short winter days you need to be at home behind closed doors. Colombians, on the other hand, are found travelling in large groups to relatives, Christmas celebrations can start at 30 people or more, you may encounter a birthday cake for Jesus and see Colombians dancing Salsa happily. Of course the food plays an important role as well. Usually you will find a large amount of people being involved in some food preparation as it requires many hours of labor. By the way, New Year’s Eve is not that different from Christmas, usually Colombians will visit one side of the family on Christmas, and the other on New Year’s. Prepare yourself for eating large amounts of food. But let’s first get started with Christmas in Colombia!

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Natilla from Colombia

Natillas aus Kolumbien

Do you want to make a Colombian happy during the holidays? I have a very simple solution for you, just make him or her natilla, this is an easy milk custard, which doesn’t require you to turn on the oven. Natilla is, and this was confirmed by many Colombians, beside the deep-fried cheese balls buñuelos THE most Colombian Christmas snack. Yes, you read right, Colombians don’t necessarily have a main dish they associate with Christmas, instead it is the snacks, which are served beforehand which are dear to them. The most common ones being said milk custard named natilla or the buñuelos, which are deep-fried cheese balls. These are served throughout the season and on the 24th the very latest.

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Pastafrola or Quince Tart from Uruguay

Pastafrola oder pasta frola aus Uruguay

Pastafrola or pasta frola is a tart from Uruguay, it is similar to Linzer Torte. It is based on a pie crust, which is then filled with quince paste. A simple tart on the one hand, yet also unusual as it uses quinces for the filling. I often wonder why there are so few recipes out there with quince? At least here in Germany it is really hard to find. Quince is a very common fruit in Uruguay. Dulce de membrillo or quince paste is basically dense jam, which comes in squares and can be cut in pieces. However, in Germany you may find quince jam, but even that is super hard to find. So for that reason you will either need to buy quince paste on Amazon or you will need to make quince paste yourself. Funnily enough, quinces are sold in grocery stores in Germany, so you may have a chance.

Pastafrola oder pasta frola aus Uruguay

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Peanut Butter Truffles from Brazil

Erdnuss-Trüffel mit Schokolade wie von Garotto

OK, this post is all about childhood memories. So I was born in Uruguay, in Latin America, right? Meaning that I also experienced Uruguayan Christmas. And one thing we always had for Christmas in Uruguay were these peanut butter truffles. There is a Brazilian brand named Garoto that sells these truffles. All old-fashioned, wrapped in yellow paper with a large red logo saying “Serenata de Amor”, I mean if this is not a poetic name for a truffle, I don’t know. Usually I hoped that my sister would be kind enough to give me some of her truffles since she is into savory stuff (yeah, I don’t get it either). Sometimes this plan worked out, sometimes it didn’t and so on December 26th I was often out of truffles. Rationing sweets has never been my thing, especially as a child.

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Espumillas from Ecuador

Espumillas aus Ecuador

I am so excited to be finally introducing a special treat from Ecuador. Espumillas are something like a love child between a marshmallow and meringue, flavored with fruit. Normally you simply beat egg whites into meringue at the same time you add the fruit puree, however, I decided to go for a more complicated version. Reason for this being that I try to reduce the amount of sugar you need. My recipe still is fairly sweet, but it is definitely not as overboard as just beating egg whites with the fruit puree. If you are into creamy marshmallow, eaten from an ice cream cone, this treat may be for you.

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Authentic Mexican Tacos and Tacos al Pastor

Rezept für mexikanische Tacos al Pastor

Guys, can you believe it, I do have a full category with all Latin American recipes on this blog, but so far not a single Mexican recipe. That’s a shame, because the Mexican cuisine has so much to offer. My favorite Mexican food is tacos and for that reason we are going to make tacos from scratch, the whole thing. Because tacos are super basic, you need three ingredients: cornmeal, salt, and water. So for that reason tacos are gluten-free and also vegan. As always you will find a lot of tips below for your tacos to be successful from the start.

Tacos are as important in Mexico as are arepas in Colombia and Venezuela. However, true Mexican tacos are never “hard shell” as often suggested by the chain Taco Bell, tacos are eaten with your hands and are soft and flexible, they are a small tortilla after all. For that reason you will see them all flat on my pictures, this is how I learned to eat tacos from Mexicans. You only bend them in your hands. Tacos are usually made with cornmeal and not flour. As far as I know flour tacos are only known in the north of Mexico, but the rest of the country uses corn. Tacos are super popular in Mexico and are usually served with some spicy §slasa” or sauce. But now let’s get started.

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Choripán, Argentinian Hot Dog

Choripán argentinischer Hot Dog mit selbstgemachten Brötchen

Did you watch the Latin American Streetfood Show on Netflix? If you did, you most likely remember choripán, the Argentinian or Uruguayan version of a hot dog. When I watched the show, I remembered eating this hot dog in Buenos Aires lastly in 2016 and I was determined to make a version that also works in Germany. So I first had to find the chorizo sausage. I thought that was going to difficult, but then, surprisingly I found a small version in our regular grocery store. These were the Spanish ones, but I have to say, they taste very similar to the ones I remember from Buenos Aires. So yay to that. Next I wanted to make my own hot dog buns. I knew that they would be so much better. So I set out and tried different recipes. I was surprised when I realized that hot dog buns are much easier to prepare than I originally thought. You basically throw all ingredients together and then have to wait until you form the buns. Really not that hard. So here you go, you got homemade hot dog buns filled with a chorizo sausage (or in my case two as they were so small), the herb sauce called chimichurri (also homemade), and if you want, some red onion slices. Voilá, you have your Latin American version of a hot dog: choripán!

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Colombian Torta María Louísa

Torta Maria Louisa aus Kolumbien

Today I am introducing a Colombian cake to you, which is similar to the Victoria Sponge Cake, it is called Torta María Louisa! The main difference is that you will soak it in orange juice and instead of jam fill it with caramel cream made from sweetened consdensed milk. Torta María Louísa is not only common in Colombia, but also in Venezuela and El Salvador. Whereas I have seen recipes with two different fillings and a meringue outside, I decided to stick to the classic and keep this cake simple. Two layers of orange cake sandwiched together with caramel.

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Sweet Plantains with Quince Paste and Cheese

Bananen mit Quittenpaste und Käse oder platanos con queso y bocadillo

It is about high time that I finally introduce a recipe with plantain on my blog. Plantains are soooo versatile, they are often used as a side if green and are treated like potatoes. Once they are ripe and yellow, they are often used in desserts or as a sweeter component. Today I am going to show them as a sweet dessert with quince paste and melted cheese or in Spanish “platanos con queso y bocadillo.” It is a super simple dessert, which is etremely popular in Colombia. Normally you would use guava paste, however, as this is close to impossible to get in Germany, we will use quince paste instead. My Colombian friends revealed to me that it is close enough to revoke the sweetest memories.

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