Regional Cuisines - Ethnic Foods and Dishes from Locales Around the World

Today! Fabulous Food of Columbia - Columbian Cuisine
Below: Authentic Coveted Arepas Recipe

Note: One of this weekend's ironies was in comparing Lithuanian dishes with Columbian dishes. How interesting! Now assuredly, the twain shall not ever meet. Nevertheless, it was quite a stretching to absorb both together in one sitting. What variety! This all just to say that we will have some interesting Lithuanian reporting coming soon! : )

Meanwhile, back to Columbia...

Blessed with a temperate clime a coveted equatorial locale, Columbia is blessed with a diverse mix of ethnic cultures and a vast and versatile selection of raw food ingredients. Included: many tropical fruits, Andes and Columbia coffee and cacao from the Andes Mountains, grass fed beef from the huge ranches of the plains and abundant seafood from the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

Grass fed beef is quite delicious from Central and South America - often more veal like, delicate and distinctive.

Delicious seasonal fruit native fruits include mangoes, guavas, papayas, pineapples, bananas, oranges, lemons, limes, cactus fruit, prickly pears, nances, tamarinds, melons, tangerines, mimayas, rambutins, mameys.

Popular and delicious: beans sauteed with pork fat, onions, sweet peppers, garlic and seasonings, served with plantains is satisfyingly nutritious. Add buttery bread or tortillas to complete.

Most popular? Hard to say... but some favorites include their delicious soups, including a wonderful slow-cooked (sancocho) soup made with beef, chicken, pork spine, rum, corn, vegetables, seasonings and other exotic ingredients. Of course the best burgers, fries, and shakes with a delicious Latin twist. Always, tortillas and fresh made breads.

Another wonderful traditional stew consists of avocado, potatoes, herbs, chicken, pork.

Favorite breakfast food and drink often starts with cinnamon, mint and chocolate coffee along with delicious deep fried and baked sweet breads and donuts, grilled meat, barbecued sausages.

A delicious bread is the pan del bono, baked bread balls made of corn, cream, cassava, cheese and eggs. Served with hot cocoa, a delight.

Tasty favorite: fresh corn arepas - thick, buttery griddled corn cakes made with fresh corn, butter, perhaps a bit or milk and sugar, mashed with fresh cheese, guacamole, tripas or eggs - fabulous.

Deep fried arepas made with fresh corn flour or dough, hot water and salt and stuffed with your favorite filling such as a fried egg are absolutely delicious.

Sopa de Mondango and Empanadas are very much loved. Empanadas are basically a stuffed dough pastry with savory fillings including bone marrow, beef, seafood, mincemeat, cheese, peas, carrots, corn, tripe, mondongo (a mix of vegetables including peppers, onions, carrots, potatoes, cabbages, corn.) Empanadas can be baked or deep fried.

Also extremely popular are seafoods, beef dishes, of course ubiquitous pork and chicken, plantains, tamarinds, seafoods, pork and chicken dishes, rice (arroyos) dishes seasoned with with sweet and hot peppers, salsas, wondrous sauces.

Churrasco Barbecue is salt and garlic marinaded meat seared over embers, the crisped meat served as the skewers continue to be cooked. This is wonderful served with barbecued beans seasoned richly with sinewy, gelatinous pork cuts.

Fresh Corn Arepas Recipe:

Cut the kernels from 4 medium fresh ears of corn and coarsely grind, process or blend and mix with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon natural sugar, several tablespoons of milk, 2 tablespoons of butter and thickened with a few small handfuls of masa flour or fine, fresh corn meal to a malleable dough, similar to piecrust.

You can add several handfuls of grated fresh white farmers cheese.

Form into 1/2 inch cakes and cook to deep golden brown on both sides on hot griddle with hot butter or freshly rendered natural pure lard. You can serve with a wonderful criollo sauce made with fried onions, tomatoes, cumin, peppers, oregano.

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