As I have gotten to know the Chilean cuisine over the last years, I have also learned to like it a lot and appreciate the mix of different flavors that I was not familiar with. Having a Chilean husband has opened the doors to this colorful world of flavors and I like to cook Chilean food at home for family and friends. I want to share some of my favorites with you!
Favorite #1: the Chilean salad – “Ensalada Chilena”
A very easy dish that you will always find as a starter or a side dish is the “Ensalada Chilena” (tomato and onion salad). The onions in Chile have a softer flavor then in Europe, so what I do if I`m not in Chile; I buy the red onion which have a little softer taste then the normal one. So, just cut the onions and the tomatoes, add cilantro and mix it with olive oil, salt and lemon. A fast and easy salad with lots of taste (the featured image of this post shows a nice Ensalada Chilena including green paprikas).
Favorite #2: Empanada
The Chilean empanada is just delicious! It is a sort of small pizza calzone (not really..hehe) filled with different ingredients. It can be filled with meat, cheese, shrimps, tunafish, or a mix of different things. The most common ones in Chile (in my experience) is the meat or the cheese filling. The empanada can also be sweet, filled with pears, apples or whatever fruit you like. Depending on what you want to fill it with, the dough will change. Below the pictures, I have added the recipe for the “Empanada de queso” (Empanada with cheese – my favorite).
Recipe “Empanadas de queso”:
3 cups of flour (preferably wheat flour) / 1 teaspoon of baking powder / 3 egg yolks / 100 gr. vegetable fat / 1 cup of lukewarm water mixed with some salt and 1 tablespoon of milk. You will need oil to fry them in too.
Mix everything for a long time (easier with a food processor) to make the dough “fluffy”, add more water if necessary. Then,when it`s ready, you just roll the dough into a thin layer and cut out a round shape (discs). Put the cheese on one side, fold them and seal the edges with a fork. You can use some water as glue. To make it easier for you, have a look at this video on youtube (Example by Simple Finesse). (I don`t add sugar at the end, but who knows, it might be good). Try it, it`s very easy and totally worth the time! Enjoy!
Favorite #3: Cazuela
The Cazuela is a very typical dish in Chile. It means “stewpot” and can have different ingredients of vegetables and meat. The ingredients are cooked together for a long time and it just makes the flavor intense and wonderful. My favorite Cazuela is with beef, corncob, potatoes and cilantro. I have actually never made my favorite Cazuela myself, but this should definitely be my next project!
Favorites #4 and #5: “Melon con vino” and “Mote con huesillo”
These two favorites are put together because they are not real dishes, but since I love them both so much and consider them a small meal (for me at least), they have to be mentioned.
The first one is simply a carved melon filled with wine, powder sugar and sometimes ice cream. Then, the pieces of melon are added as well as ice cubes – et voila! It`s a sweet dream!
The second one is a non-alcoholic drink called “Mote con huesillo”. The “huesillo” is a dried peach cooked in sugar, water and cinnamon, the result being a clear nectar also being used in the drink. The “Mote” is cooked husked wheat. This is mixed together and served ice cold. The best thing you can ever image on a hot summer day!
I hope you are hungry after reading this and that you got an insight of the diversity of the Chilean cuisine. To read more about Chile, check out my post “Discovering my Chile lindo” in the travel section (with tips and ideas for discovering this beautiful country).
Dare to make your dreams come true – the journey starts with a single step!
– Charlotte –
(Photo taken in Puerto Varas a few years ago)