Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR filled with health, love, prosperity and tons of food.

All recipes are on Petitchef

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pancacas de ñame (taro pancakes)

ñame is widely used in the Caribbean coast of Colombia and is essential in the preparation of Sancocho ( typical soup) and other dishes. It is know as cará in Brazil, Malanga in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Cuba. In North America is known as Taro and is a main ingredient in the Hawaiian cuisine.

These pancakes are fluffier and lighter and make a great breakfast or dessert.

Ingredients for 6 pancakes

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup ñame (Taro) flour
2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup milk


½ cup blueberries or any berry in season (leave some fresh to garnish)
½ cup whipping cream
4 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

In a large bowl add the flours, salt, baking powder and mix. Stir in the egg, sugar and milk and mix well until the batter is well incorporated.

Oil lightly a griddle and heat to medium heat. Pour ¼ cup of the batter on the hot griddle and flip over when top begins to bubble slightly. Cook until golden brown on both sides.

In a small pot add the berries, 3 tablespoons sugar and the lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes in medium heat to create a coulis.

Whip the cream with a tablespoon of sugar until hard and fluffy.

Top the pancakes with the berries coulis and the whipping cream and garnish some fresh berries or chopped fruits.

All recipes are on Petitchef

Okonomiyaki "Japanese Pancake"

Okonomiyaki is a savoury japanese dish, made basically of grated cabbage and flour batter. The name comes from the word  OKONOMI that means "what you want" or "what you like"; and YAKI meaning "grilled". I felt in love with these on a trip to Japan a decade ago and since then it is one of my favorite Japanese dishes. This recipe is for the Osaka Style shared by the best ISAKAYA restaurant in town.

1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup DASHI (Japanese broth) you can made your own soaking bonito flakes in hot water, or just substitute for plain water.
2 eggs
4 cups grated cabbage
2 stalks green onions thinly sliced diagonally
6 bacon strips
1/2 cup fresh shrimp cut into 1 cm chunks


 1/4 cup tempura bits (bits of fryed tempura batter) *see shrimp tempura
kewpie mayonnaise (can be substituted by regular mayonnaise)
Okonomi sauce (found at any Asian market)
Bonito flakes"Katsoubushi"
Seaweed flakes "Aonori"
Lettuce to garnish

In a large bowl mix together the flour and the dashi or water until smooth. Add the eggs, shrimp, cabbage and onion mix evenly.

Spray a griddle with oil or a non stick pan and heat to 200 C and pour the mixture in 2 batches one at a time if you don't have a large griddle. Flatten with the help of a spatula forming a pancake about 1 1/2 cm thick.

Top each pancake with strips of bacon. After about 3 minutes flip over each pancake, now the bacon must be side down and cook for 4 minutes. Flip the pancake again until is firm and golden brown on both sides.

Place on a plate, and pour okonomi sauce and spread evenly with the help of a spoon or spatula, drizzle the mayonnaise with the help of a squeeze bottle and spark the tempura bits and seaweed flakes. Serve with lettuce on the side.

O-Konomi-Yaki on FoodistaO-Konomi-Yaki

All recipes are on Petitchef

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Shrimp Tempura with Ponzu Sauce

This delicious Japanese food is the perfect as a snack or a side dish and it's very easy to make.


12 Large Shrimp with tail (peeled and deveined)
1 1/2 cup Tempura batter mix
1 cup ice cold water
Oil to fry

Ponzu sauce:

1/3 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoon white rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
sesame seeds.

In a large bowl place 1 cup ice cold water and sprinkle over the Tempura batter mix evenly. Mix with a wire whisk  or chopsticks quickly only until flour is moistened and large lumps disappear. Batter should be very lumpy.

Heat oil to 350 F. To fry shrimp, hold one at a time by the tail and dip into the batter and slide gently into the oil. Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with Ponzu Sauce.

Ponzu Sauce

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until all ingredients are incorporated.

All recipes are on Petitchef

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Fettuccine with Mascarpone and Chorizo

When you think of mascarpone cheese, you think of Italian desserts, but it is wonderful in your pasta. This recipe is, one of my all time favorites. Italian inspired but with a Spanish twist. So simple but yet so delicious.


1 pound of good quality Fettuccine noddles
1 cup Mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup cooking cream 35% M.G
1/2 pound spicy dried Spanish Chorizo (Spanish dried sausage)
3 leek stalks
1 garlic clove finely chopped
4 tablespoon extra virgin oil
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Steam asparagus stalks to garnish (optional)

Chop the leeks stalks in half and then length wise to 3 inches sticks. Do the same with the Spanish chorizo set aside. In a heavy medium pot bring water to boil with 2 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil, drop the noodles only when the water is boiling and cook for 10-12 minutes or following the package instructions.

While the noodles are cooking, in a large saucepan heat the remaining olive oil  over medium heat and add the garlic and cook for 1 minute,add the chorizo and cook for 3 minutes until lightly brown, then add the leeks and cook for 5 minutes or until soft and translucent, add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the mascarpone cheese and decrease the temperature to low, stir until the cheese is completely melted and creamy, stir in the cooking cream and incorporate well all ingredients. Lower the temperature to minimum.

Drain the noodles and pour in the sauce, using thongs incorporate well and add 3 tablespoons of the water that you cook the pasta in, add more is the sauce is too thick. Mix well.

Serve hot and top it with coarse grated Parmesan cheese and garnish with steam asparagus if desired.

All recipes are on Petitchef

Friday, December 24, 2010

Arepas de Choclo "Sweet Corn Arepas"

These Arepas are the perfect treat for cold day. In Colombia due to its geography, is so easy to change from tropical weather to cold, just driving for a few minutes, so is very common to go outside the city to small villages located on a higher altitude to have these Arepas that are usually baked on brick ovens and serve with fresh cheese and hot chocolate. Here, a very simple recipe using ingredients we all can buy in any supermarket.


1 can of 398 mL of Cream-Style Corn
1 1/4 cup yellow precooked cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon soft butter
Butter to spread
Fresh Cheese to serve (Queso fresco can be found in Latin American Markets or can be replaced by Ricotta or even Mozzarella)

In a large bowl mix the corn meal with the cream-style corn, sugar, salt and butter, and knead with you hands until or ingredients are incorporated. Let set for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 parts and make balls with your hands. Flatten to desire thickness and cook them in a non stick pan sprayed with a bit of oil. Cook over medium heat until brown about 4 minutes, flip and cook the other side for another 4 minutes.

Spread butter on one side and top with slices of cheese. Serve warm.

All recipes are on Petitchef

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ceviche de Camarones Colombiano (Colombian Shrimp Ceviche)

This Shrimp cocktail is perfect for a warm sunny day, but it's so good that can be eaten all year round.


1  pound of fresh, raw shrimp peeled and deveined
1/3 cup lime juice (keep 2 tablespoons aside)
1/3 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 cup ketchup
2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Soda crackers to serve

Place the shrimp in a non reactive bowl and add the lime juice. Set aside refrigerated for 1 hour. Drain the shrimp and discard the lime juice.

Bring to boil in a small pot 3 cups of water. Remove from the stove and add the shrimp and cover. Let them sit in the water for 1 minute. Drain the shrimp and put aside.

In a non reactive bowl place the onion, cilantro, oil, salt and pepper. Combine the ketchup and 2 tablespoon of lime juice. Add the shrimp and serve with soda crackers.

All recipes are on Petitchef

Marranitas (pigglets)

Marranitas are typical from the city of Cali, and are eaten as snacks or appetizers to a big meal as Sancocho de Gallina. They are balls of fried green plantain filled with Chicharrones (fried pork belly).


1 pound of meaty pork belly (chicharron)
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
4 green plantains
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of boiling water
Oil for frying

Clean the pork belly and cut into 1/2 inch dices. Rub with salt and the baking soda specially on the skin. Place in a medium , heavy pan with just enough water to cover. Cook over medium heat until the water evaporates.

Drain and set aside.

Cut the ends off the plantains and peel, Cut into 3 inch chunks.

Mix 1 cup of boiling water with bouillon cube, garlic and salt and set aside.

Heat the oil to 350 F and fry the chicharrones until brown and crispy. Place over paper towel and set aside.

Decrease the oil temperature to 300 F and fry the plantain chucks for 10 to 12 minutes, don't let them get golden and crispy, but they need to be soft on the inside. You can check with a forks and if it enters easily they're ready. Remove the plantains from the oil and let them cool for a couple minutes.

Place a plastic sheet on the working surface and place a chuck of the fried plantain. Cover with another plastic sheet and flatten with a meat pounder,  a wooden cut board or a tostonera until they become 1/4 inch thin. Take the flatten plantain with your hands and soak it with the water garlic mix, place it in the palm of your hand and top with some chicharron bits, close you hand and form a ball. Press to make the plantain close tightly on itself. If it is too dry you can sprinkle more of the garlic water mixture.

Repeat with each marranita. And fry again at 350 F until golden brown. Place over paper towel and serve hot with Aji Pique.

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Ají pique (hot sauce)

This hot sauce that is more liquid than saucy and is perfect for soups and meats, But not having it with Empanadas is a sacrilege in Colombia.


1/2 white vinegar
1/4 cup water
juice of 1 lime
1/2 jalapeno chilli seeded (more is you like really hot)
1 ripe medium tomato chopped
1 cup coriander 
1/2 cup scallions
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

In a food processor place the vinegar and the jalapeno chili and process for 1 minute. Add the coriander and scallions and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the tomato and pulse for 1 more minute. Place the mixture in a non reactive bowl or container and mix in the lime juice, water, sugar, salt, pepper and oil. Mix well and let set at least one hour before serving.

All recipes are on Petitchef

Colombian Beef & Potatoes Empanadas (Empanadas Colombianas)

These dough turnovers are the showcase of every celebration, family gathering or afternoon snack. Once to start with one is almost impossible to stop. So be ready to prepare enough to please of your guests.



3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup peeled diced potatoes (1/4 inch)
2 cups diced sirloin steak (1/4 inch)
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
1 cup of diced ripen tomatoes
1 teaspoon cumin
1 garlic clove finely chopped
salt and pepper


2 cups yellow precooked cornmeal (Harina PAN)
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
a pinch of baking powder

Vegetable oil to deep fry.


Place the potatoes  in a medium heavy pot covered with salted water and bring to boil until the potatoes are tender, proximately 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large sauce pan, heat the oil  on medium heat and add the diced sirloin, pan fry until brown and cooked about 5 minutes. Remove the meat and set aside. Add in the scallion, the garlic and cook for 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, cumin, salt and pepper and cook stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the meat and the potatoes and with a potato masher, mash lightly some of them to thicken the sauce but not too much. Leave some potato dices in the mix.

Set aside and let cool.

Dough Preparation

In a large bowl mix the cornmeal, salt and baking powder. Add the water and incorporate with a fork. Add the vegetable oil and work the dough with your hands until soft and elastic. Let set for 15 minutes.

To make the Empanadas

Line a work surface with a sheet of plastic sprayed with oil. Place a small ball of dough and cover with another sheet. Using a roller pin, roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Lift the plastic on top and place a tablespoonful of the filling in the center of the flatten dough and turn over using the top layer of plastic. Cut the empanada with a cookie cutter making the half moon shape, lift the top layer and place the empanada on a tray until ready to fry. Repeat the process for each empanada.

Frying the Empanadas

In a deep heavy pot or a fryer machine, heat the oil to 365 F degrees. Place the empanadas one by one leaving enough room for them not to stick to each other. Fry until crunchy and brown about 6 minutes.

Drain over paper towel and serve hot with Aji.

These can be frozen raw and fry them frozen whenever you need. Or if you have a party you can fry, let cool and freeze them, and just reheat them in a wire rack in the oven before serving.

All recipes are on Petitchef

Natilla "Raw Sugar Pudding" with blackberry coulis

Natilla is the most representative dish for Christmas in Colombia. It's eaten in all the tables regardless of social status or class. The traditional Natilla  made by our grandmothers is  made with dough from cooked dry kernels. An easy version made with cornstarch is nowadays the most popular and even sold in pre made packages in all supermarkets. This is a very easy version for those who can't find the pre made packages. Enjoy and Happy Holidays everyone!!!


- 4 cups whole milk (set aside one cup)
- 1/2 cup grated "panela" (unrefined whole cane sugar) if you can't find panela in your city, you can use organic brown sugar, use 1 cup firmly pressed.
- 2 sticks of cinammon
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cornstarch or Maizena
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup of grated sweetened coconut
- ground cinnamon to garnish

- In a medium, heavy pot over low heat place 3 cups of the milk, the panela or brown sugar, the cinnamon sticks, baking soda and salt. Simmer, stirring once in a while, for 15 minutes until the panela or sugar has completely dissolved. Add the coconut. Do not let the mixture boil.

- Aside in a small bowl mix the remaining cup of milk and the cornstarch until completely dissolved. Stir in the mixture on the stove and raise the temperature to medium and stir continuously for 5 minutes, scrapping the bottom of the pot until the mixture has thickened and you can see the bottom of the pot when you stir.

- Remove for the stove, mix in the butter and remove the cinnamon sticks. Pour into a heat resistant mold or pyrex. If you want to unmold you need to spray with oil the pyrex.

Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Blackberry Coulis Ingredients

1 pound blackberries
1 cup sugar
the juice of 1 lime

In a small sauce pan mix the juice of the lime, the sugar and the blackberries, simmer in low-medium heat for 10 minutes or until the blackberries are soft. Remove for the stove and using a hand blender, blend the berries and pass the sauce through a strainer to remove the seeds.

Put the sauce back to the stove and simmer until desired consistency.

All recipes are on Petitchef

Arepas con carne desmechada (Arepas filled with shredded beef)

Ingredients for the Arepas:

2 cups precooked cornmeal (Areparina, PAN, colombia harina)
2cups warm water
2 tablespoons soft butter

Mix the cornmeal and salt, add the warm water and mix with a fork. Stir in the butter and work the dough with your hands. Make balls and flatten then to desire thickness.

Grill the Arepas over the stove on a grill , barbecue or on a non stick pan in medium heat until golden brown and crunchy.

Shredded beef Ingredients

1 pound fo flank steak
2 ripen tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 big spanish onion finely chopped
1 scallion chopped
1 red or purple bell pepper diced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 turmeric or food color
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil

Clean and cut the flank steak into big chunks and cook in pressure cooker with one of the garlic cloves, enough water to cover and salt. Cook for 30 minutes on medium heat or until the meat is tender and cab be shredded easily. If you are not using a pressure cooker, add more water and boil for a longer time.

Set the meat aside to cool, and with the help of 2 forks shred it. Set aside.

- heat the oil with the turmeric in a large sauce pan. Stir in the remaining onion finely chopped and the scallion and cook until soft and translucent. Add the tomato, the bell pepper, salt and pepper, cumin and chili flakes if you like a bit of spice. Stir fry for 5 minutes in medium heat. Add the shredded meat and simmer for another 5 minutes until a saucy consistency.

Open the Arepas with a knife and fill with the meat sauce

All recipes are on Petitchef

Tres Leches Cake

 The 3 leches (3 milks) cake is the ultimate  cake in Latin America. It is a very rich, moist and sweet dessert. If you love sweets this cake will be your new addiction.



2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
4 whole eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
the zest of a lime

 - Preheat the oven to 350 F, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

- In a small saucepan melt the butter in the milk and set aside.

- Beat the eggs in a mixer on high speed for 10 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for 2 more minutes. Decrease the speed to minimum,  mix in the sifted mixture and when it is incorporated add the butter, the milk, the vanilla and the lemon zest and blend well.

- butter or oil spray a 4 by 10 inch rectangular cake pan, pour the mix and bake for 45 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean when you insert it in the center.  Set aside to cool. leave the cake in the pan.

3 Leches Sauce

1 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk
2 cups heavy cream divided
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
strawberries or any fruit of your choice to garnish

whisk the 3 milks with the vanilla, remember to set aside 1 cup heavy cream for garnishing.Make  holes in the cake with a toothpick and pour the milk mixture all around to be absorbed. Whisk the remaining cup heavy cream and pour at the top of each portion to decorate along with strawberries or any fruit of your preference.


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Buñuelos (cheese beignets)

Buñuelos are sold in all Colombian bakeries and they are delicious with hot chocolate for breakfast, mid afternoon snack or just as anytime treat and they can't be missed during the Christmas celebrations paired with "Natilla". As pandebonos, they are very difficult to replicate or find in latino bakeries. Here is the recipe that has given me the perfect Buñuelos.


2 cups fine grated cheese (canadian feta works perfectly)
1/3 cup cassava starch 
1/4 cup corn starch or maizena
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 large egg
enough vegetable oil to deep fry

- Place the cheese in a bowl and mix in all the dry ingredients. 

- Add the egg and with you hands incorporate without making too much pressure. Add milk is you need to soften the dough.

- Form tablespoonful balls with you hands and set aside on a plate.

- Heat the oil to 325 F. Once the oil reach the temperature pour the balls into the oil leaving enough space for them to rise. They will float within 30 seconds once they float decrease temperature to 300 F and fry until brown.

- Buñuelos do not need to be turned while frying, they will turn on their own.

- Drain over paper towel and serve hot.

All recipes are on Petitchef

Rum and Raisins Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche)

Rice pudding is the all time comfort dessert in many countries, and each one has it's own twist. This version is the one that I like the most, is rich, creamy and delicious cold or warm.


4 cups evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup white basmati rice
3/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons of dark rum
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2  teaspoon salt
1 large egg , beaten
roasted almost to garnish

- In a small bowl combine raisin and rum and set aside until the raisin absorb the liquid.

-Combine rice and salt with 1 1/2 cups water in a medium heavy pot and bring it to a boil, stir and let simmer covered on low temperature until almost all the water is absorbed.

-Stir in 4 cups evaporated milk and brown sugar and simmer for 25 minutes until the rice is very soft. Stir constantly. Add the milk and the raisins with the rum and let simmer for another 5 minutes.

- Put some of the hot rice pudding in a bowl and add the beaten egg slowly to incorporate. Once it is incorporated stir in to the pot and stir well, add the vanilla and pour to a serving bowl.

-Garnish with the roasted almonds.

All recipes are on Petitchef