Satiate Your Traditional Cuisine Cravings In Chile
Being such a long stretched out country covering a variety of landscapes, Chile has a vast range of dishes to offer. While the highlights of Chile dishes are fish and seafood, we put a spotlight on the authentic and everyday Chilean foods you will find across the country. We discovered and wrote about seafood found along the long Pacific Ocean coastline. In Santiago, at the famous Mercado Central, we experienced locos (abalone) and pastel de jaiba (crab pie). Further north in the city of Valparaiso, we fell in love with a colorful city and incredible Reinata fish, a local white fish specialty. The high-quality Chilean wines are not to be missed. Maipo Valley, considered the ``Bordeaux of South America’ has exceptional wines. And Maule Valley, the largest and oldest wine region in the country, has several family-owned vineyards, offering small intimate tours. The below list of food will satiate your traditional cuisine cravings in Chile, this summer:
A meal originated in the Santiago garrison. On the trip by train from the Capital city to the South of Chile, before getting to the train station in Valdivia and after a long night, this thick soup was served that contained egg, onion, meat and mixed vegetables. When getting off the train in Valdivia, the body had already recovered and acclimatized to the change of temperature there.
Pollo al barro
Take a young, tender chicken, hopefully one not much ran around in the vegetable garden. Wash it, smear it with garlic salt and wrap it in plastic. Then, make a paste with mud and cover the chicken. Take the preparation to an earth oven and wait with infinite patience, as the chicken will cook in its own juices.
This is a typically Chilean type of flat circular deep-fried bread or scone, made from flour, cooked pumpkin, a pinch of salt and lard. In the beginnings, it was called sopaipa and it originated back during the Arabic invasion of Spain, where it was a kind of dough dunked in oil. The Spanish conquistadors brought it with them and it took root in our land where it accompanies the cold, rainy days in the South or a well-spiced Chancho en Piedra (see description) in the Central zone. Nowadays, the sopaipilla is available from north to south in those street vendor kiosks that are usually located at bus stations, busy corners in any city and even at sport events in our land. Always ready for the winter, the sopaipilla pasá is a sopaipilla dunked in a viscous mixture of dark-brown sugar called chancaca (see description) with orange peel, clove and chuño (dried potato flour). Delicious on a rainy winter evening.
Although in some cases we share meals and preparations with other Latin-American nations, in the case of Porotos Granados the invention is absolutely Chilean. With fresh coscorrones variety beans, corn, pumpkin, onion, garlic and basil this is a summertime dish. It can be made with mashed fresh corn, called mazamorra, where you can stand the spoon on the dish, or with whole fresh corn, called pilco, a more liquid version, if you are expecting more guests.
The prieta from the South is served with steamed potatoes and under the homely heat of a brazier. It is a wintry dish found in traditional butcher’s shops. It is possible to find it in some very typical restaurant or in some eatery, because, as with other national meals, it doesn’t succeed into penetrating the more exclusive gastronomical circles.
This low profile, unpretentious dish does not belong to the gastronomical circles and is kept at bay in the more traditional eateries. It is made of diced meat, olives, pickles, cheese, tomatoes and avocados. The idea is to nibble this appetizer while you wait for the main course; as such, it is an opportunity to share with friends.
The altiplanic people from the North of Chile make this spicy stew from charqui (salted/dried meat), mote (boiled maize) and potatoes. It is part of the tradition of Chiu-Chiu, a village in the Atacama, where it is prepared for typical festivities in honor of the Pachamama, for the harvests and cattle.
This is not strictly speaking a Chilean dish; for instance, it is also found in Bogotá, Colombia. However, the Chilean version is generally done with the meat leftovers of a big barbecue, and it is good when you have a somewhat mild hangover. Into the broth with the barbecued meat cut into dice, add potatoes, chopped onions, green hot chili peppers, parsley, salt, pepper, cumin and oregano. This tasty soup helps to mend the body or the hangover and to get one’s strength back, whether it is to go to work or to continue celebrating whatever it is that has to be celebrated.
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