Latin American food has become increasingly popular in the rest of the world, including the UK, in recent years. For many people, trying new cuisine is an essential part of travel. Just because you can't go to Latin America right now, it doesn't mean you can't get some inspiration for the future, or recreate fond memories of past trips. Now that many of us have got more time on our hands, it's a great time to get a taste of Latin America by creating some of these classic dishes in your kitchen. You can find recipes for all of them online.
Fresh fish marinated in lime juice
Ceviche is eaten mostly on the Peruvian coastline, especially in the capital city of Lima. Whilst the idea of eating raw fish might seem strange, the process of marinating the fish in lime juice actually starts off the cooking process, packing a flavourful punch. You can find ceviche in Ecuador and Colombia too, often with variations including prawns and other seafood. If served as a main, it often comes with corn, sweet potato and salad.
Find a ceviche recipe here.
Ground maize 'cakes' with various toppings
This classic street food snack is found all over Colombia, including as part of the 'bandeja paisa', a dish made up of chorizo, beans, pork, egg and plantain. As well as being a popular street food snack, arepas are often served for breakfast, with eggs or cheese as a topping. To make them you'll need cornmeal, water, butter, salt and oil.
Fish soup made with cassava, onion and fish in a tomato sauce.
A well-known hangover cure, encebollado is served mostly on Ecuador's coastline, with a side of plantain chips and corn. Patacones are a popular side dish in Ecuador too - mashed up plantains made into patties and fried.
You can find encebollado and other typical Ecuadorian recipes here.
Black bean and pork stew served with rice and sausage.
Brazil's national dish, with its origins in Portugal, the feijoada is traditionally cooked in a clay pot on a low heat over a fire. Traditionally, the recipe is made using every part of the pig, including the ears, nose and tail, although variations are possible.
Find a recipe here.
To find out what other food you can expect on a trip to Brazil, read this blog.
A pastry filled with meat, egg, olives, raisins and potatoes.
South America's answer to the pasty, various versions of the empanada are found throughout the continent. The Bolivian ones are smaller and juicier than their cousins. Other empanada fillings include chicken, cheese, prawns, beef and other meats. Empanadas are a good vegetarian option in South America (a continent where meat reigns supreme!), as you can opt for cheese or vegetable fillings. If you are a vegetarian travelling to Latin America, read our blog for some tips and inspiration.
Find an empanada recipe here.
Crispy corn tortilla topped with black beans, avocado, mushroom, tomato and cheese.
Mexico is the only country in the world whose cuisine is protected under the UNESCO Heritage scheme. Tyaludas are eaten as street food in the city of Oaxaca, which is well known for having some of the most unique and delicious food in the country. Grab some corn tortillas, toast them then get creative with toppings - chunky guacamole, mixed vegetables of your choice, refried beans, tomatoes, lettuce, shredded chicken or pork, spicy salsa and a generous sprinkling of cheese.
Read Jordan's blog on Discovering the Flavours of Oaxaca.
Charred steak with chimichurri sauce
Argentina is synonymous with excellent quality steak, and the gauchos are a strong part of their culture. Chimichurri is an uncooked sauce which originated in Argentina, comprising of parsley, garlic, oil, oregano and red wine vinegar.
Find a recipe here.
If reading this foodie blog has whet your appetite and inspired you to test out your culinary skills, you can find more Latin American cuisine ideas here. And why stop at food? Latin America has produced so many well-known drinks as well - wine from Chile and Argentina's rolling vineyards, Pisco Sour from Peru (or Chile, who has long battled for ownership of the liquor) and freshly ground coffee from the beautiful plantations of Colombia and Costa Rica. Here's a Pisco Sour recipe:
The national cocktail of Peru and Chile
Pisco is a distilled alcoholic beverage made out of wine from grapes of the southern region of the country. There are eight types of Pisco making grapes, each with its own distinct flavour and aroma. Any Pisco can be used to make a cocktail, although generally the Quebranta type is considered to be the best for pisco sour. It is very similar to an Italian Grappa. Here's how you make it:
- 90 millilitres Pisco (3 oz) - You can buy this online from sites including Amazon and The Whisky Exchange. We recommend the Quebranta.
- 60 millilitres lime juice (2 oz)
- 30 millilitres sugar syrup (1 oz) - You can buy a bottle of sugar syrup, but it’s very easy to make your own in a couple of minutes.
- 1 egg white
- A few drops of angostura bitter
1. Put ice in a cocktail shaker (up to half), then add the '3,2,1' ingredients:
- 3 oz (90 millilitres) of Pisco
- 2 oz (60 millilitres) of lime juice
- 1 oz (30 millilitres) of sugar syrup
- 1 egg white
2. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds
3. Strain into a chilled glass and add 3 - 5 drops of angostura bitter. This is traditionally served in an Old Fashioned (lowball) glass, but use whatever is available.
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