Today I am introducing arepas with chicken and guacamole filling. Arepas are Colombian corn flatbread with no gluten and serve as the base for a hearty sandwich. I already introduced one filled arepa on this blog. Arepa boyacense is a popular arepa with cheese filling. Today I decided to make a plain version with a hearty filling. If prepared this way, arepas can serve as the main course, in this instance they are filled with crispy chicken pieces and the famouse avocado cream called guacamole. Many people instantly go to Mexico when they hear guacamole. However, I have learned that actually Colombians are the ones eating most avocados per capita. Every time I visited Colombia, I saw avocado being sold on the street, every bbq would have guacamole served with the rest. But rest assured, Colombian guacamole is much milder than the Mexican version, so this is not spicy at all.
Finally I am introducing the basic recipe for arepas on my blog! Arepas are a flatbread made from cornmeal. They are most popular in Colombia and Venezuela. As a German I have to say that these countries offer the same kind of varieties of arepas as breads are offered here. I already introduced arepas boyacenses, however, so far the basic recipe was missing. The reason being simple, I just felt I still didn’t know how to make perfect arepas even though it only consists of three ingredients, cornmeal, water, and salt. But now the waiting is finally over, below I am offering many tips. Hopefully they will make you confident enough so that your first arepas turn out great from the start. If making the very basic recipe, arepas are naturally gluten-free and vegan.
Today I will give you my personal favorite nine recipes from Colombia. You will get main courses, snacks, and desserts. I have been married to a Colombian for ten years now and therefore had the chance to try many Colombian recipes. I was also fortunate enough to visit this beautiful country several times. I am often asked what Colombian cuisine is like. The only simple answer is: this depends. Colombia is a country of vast different climates, you don’t have jungle only, but mountain chains and savannas. Apart from the Caribbean you also have a dessert, therefore it is very hard to pin it down to just a few dishes. Colombia has a wealth of potatoes, you will also see many different types of corn. Typically, a lot of dishes do not contain gluten and are prepared either with potatoes, corn or starches from manioc, etc. Many people are surprised when they learn that Colombian cuisine is not spicy at all, cilantro and cumin are often used as well as annatto, which has a vibrant red color and is simply called “color” in Colombia. I don’t claim at all that these nine dishes are the most typical Colombian dishes, these are simply my favorite recipes. If you would like to see a certain dish or would like to comment, please feel free to do so below. But now let’s get started!
Today you will get Colombian red beans or frijoles, yay! I really enjoy eating these and the recipe below was invented by my husband who tweaked the family recipe to his liking. Red beans are served all throughout Latin America. My friends are often surprised when they realize that Colombian red beans are mild in flavor as many immediately think of spicy red beans from Mexico or Brazil. However, rest assured, these beans are not spicy as they are flavored with cilantro and other equally mild herbs.
I already blogged about the Paraguayan version of cheese bread. But today I want to introduce you to Colombian cheese bread: pandebonos! Pandebonos are, as many Latin American recipes, gluten free as they are prepared with tapioca starch. Pandebonos take very little time to prepare and are easy to make with regular ingredients.
Have you every experienced this? You want to bake something you ate during your holiday, but then you can’t find the right ingredients. This is what happened to me when I tried to make achiras, this is a gluten free cheese snack from Colombia. My first problem was the cheese being used, it is called queso campesino and simply is not sold in Germany. Feta is probably the closest you will ever find, but it is firmer and much saltier. So I thought I couldn’t make achiras.
On top of that, Colombians use a special starch for achiras. It is extracted from the Sago palm. I was very certain that regular grocery stores in Germany wouldn’t offer Sago starch. At least this is what I thought.
I am so excited to finally be sharing this recipe for Colombian buñuelos! Colombian buñuelos are, at least in my opinion, so much better than Mexican buñuelos, they are gluten free as they are prepared with cornstarch and tapioca flour and they do contain cheese, lots of cheese. Do I need to say anything more?
Postre de natas is a Colombian milk pudding, which is prepared with layers of milk skin. It requires time, just to warn you. The pudding consists of three ingredients: milk, egg yolk, and sugar. It is very easy to prepare, yet you will need patience. For that reason I hadn’t dared to make it yet, even though my husband begged for it for years. It is one of his favorite Colombian desserts.
Sometimes there are recipes that are particularly dear to me. These milhojas from Colombia are one of those. Reason for posting this recipe is the fact that we managed to eat milhojas when we were in Spain. Among the many delicious things I am still dreaming about are these milhojas. Milhojas consist of puff pastry, which is filled with vanilla custard, whipping cream and dulce de leche. Below you will see a picture of the milhojas we ate in the bakery Panetteria de Tirso in Madrid, Spain:
I had the opportunity to travel to the home country of my husband: Colombia and I feel in love with arepa boyacense. Let me tell you, this country has so much more to offer than only jungle. The mountain range the Andes come to mind, but it also has savannahs, a dessert, the Caribbean and the famous coffee region. The diversity of species is something to admire. Colombia has more than 100 (!) humming birds only. Even in the capital Bogotá with more than 10 million inhabitants you will encounter humming birds amazing you with their acrobatic movements. The variety of fruits is also astonishing. I ate fruits I had never seen or even heard of. For a penny you will get the juiciest and and sweetest fruits. The pictures I took barely capture the beauty of this country.
Colombia is a very colorful country. Maybe the huge variety of species and a general carefree attitude towards life are reasons why food is extremely important. One of the first questions I was asked during our holiday was how I liked the food. Yes, we had to explain what our travel plans were, but soon after that the conversation turned to food, inevitably. I usually replied with arepa! Arepas are as important to Colombians as bread is to Germans. Arepas are a simple corn bread and usually either fried, grilled or baked in the oven. They are served for breakfast, but you will also encounter them for lunch and dinner. Arepas come in all sizes, they are gluten free as they are made of corn flour and each region has its own variety.