Whilst it hasn’t been too long since I cooked something from the Americas, it has been 5-6 months since I last cooked something from a South American country (specifically, I cooked two dishes from Guyana). As Bolivia is one of three countries in South America that are near the top of my to-visit list, I thought it might be nice to make something from here.
Bolivia, or more officially The Plurinational State of Bolivia, is pretty much dead in the centre of South America and contains the most amazing salt flats that you ever will see. In terms of cuisine, the food of Bolivia is what happens when you mix that of the Spanish interlopers and the native peoples – pretty much like most cuisines of South America, with the variation between nations coming from the differences between indigenous peoples and the nationalities of the traders that followed.
Since I have not been able to find either yuca or chuño in the UK, my choice of dishes to cook for Bolivia were sadly limited. Otherwise, the ingredients that you see in many of the recipes represent both sides of the Columbian exchange. There were also some dishes which had variations in other neighbouring countries (for example, Bolivia have their own form of empanadas), so I ended up picking something that, by all accounts, is very much from Bolivia.
So, the dish that I ended up making was silpancho (using this recipe from The Hungry Buddha). The version that I made had fried potatoes, a very thin rolled out spiced hamburger steak, a fried egg and a homemade pico de gallo. Usually I dislike things containing raw onion, but I made sure to use a sweet onion and gave it plenty of time to macerate in the vinegar, tomatoes and lime juice.
The dish itself plays like a spicy version of steak and eggs. The beef steak itself was absolutely delicious and a lot warmer than I had expected (then again it did contain a lot of chilli powder, so I should have gotten the message). All the elements worked incredibly well together, although the potatoes did cause me a lot more worry than they really should have.
I can see why, in some instances, silpancho can be combined with a roll to make a massive sandwich called a trancapecho. Now that I know how easy it is to make the beef and pico de gallo elements, I really want to give the trancapecho sandwich a go. I’m guessing that a ciabatta roll (like the sandwich from Uruguay) or a Portuguese-style roll might be the best for this, but am very open to suggestions.
So this is the last country that I will be doing for a very long time. It gives me time to do some research on dishes to make to cover the next African, Asian and European nations and I hopefully will come back with something that’ll be delicious and for one of the larger remaining nations on the list. I look forward to seeing what I end up making.