Today is Ecuador's Independence Day and I am wishing a BIG Happy Birthday to all of my Ecuadorean friends.

Like any good Latino, of course, I know that the celebration today starts in the kitchen. That's why I'm so excited about some of my favorite traditional Ecuadorean dishes. These recipes are delicious and perfect all year round, of course, but I'm sharing them today because you simply MUST try them. Go for the Llapingachos (stuffed potato patties) for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack, have some Locro (potato cheese soup) for lunch and then end the day with the delicious stew called Cazuela de Camarón (shrimp in plantain and peanut sauce) and you'll be eating delicious food ALL day, whether you're from Ecuador or not.

Read more ¿Qué más? Happy Birthday Bolivia! 3 Traditional dishes to celebrate (RECIPES)

Llapingachos, a.k.a. stuffed potato patties (recipe courtesy of Laylita's Recipes)

Ingredients:
5 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
2 tbs sunflower oil
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
2 tsp ground achiote
1 cup grated Mozzarella or Fontina cheese
Salt to taste

Directions:
1. Boil the potatoes until soft.

2. Heat the oil over medium high heat to make a refrito, add the onions and achiote, cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

3. Mash the potatoes, mix in the onion refrito and salt to taste.

4. Cover the potato dough and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour.

5. Make small golf size balls with the potato dough.

6. Make a hole in the middle of each ball and fill with the grated or crumbled cheese.

7. Shape the dough into thick patties and let rest in the refrigerator for about ½ to 1 hour.

8. Cook the patties on a hot griddle until browned on each side, be careful when turning them as they will be very delicate.

9. Serve with a fried egg, peanut sauce, tomato and onion curtido, avocado slices and hot sauce.

Locro, a.k.a. potato cheese soup (recipe courtesy of Whats4Eats.com)

Ingredients:
Oil or butter -- 1/4 cup
Onion, minced -- 1/2
Garlic, minced -- 3 to 4 cloves
Potatoes, peeled and diced -- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
Water or stock -- 4 cups
Milk -- 1 cup
Salt and pepper -- to taste
Muenster, queso fresco or mozzarella cheese, shredded -- 1 cup

Directions:
1. Heat the oil or butter over medium flame in a large pot. Add the onion and garlic and simmer until the onion is translucent.

2. Stir in the potatoes, water or stock, milk, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are falling apart, 30-45 minutes. Mash the potatoes up a bit with the back of a spoon to thicken the soup, leaving it a little chunky.

3. Remove the soup from heat and stir in the cheese. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately.

Cazuela de Camarón, a.k.a. shrimp in plantain and peanut sauce (recipe courtesy of About.com)

Ingredients:
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
1 package sazón Goya, with cilantro and achiote
1 small tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 green plantains
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 cups fish or chicken stock
1 pound peeled shrimp
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons finely minced cilantro

Directions:
1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and sauté the chopped onion, tomato, green pepper, garlic, oregano and seasoning until soft and fragrant, about 5-8 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and let cook slightly. Pell the plantains, and place them in a food processor with the stock. Add the sautéed vegetable mixture and process until well blended and mostly smooth.

3. Using the same skillet, season the shrimp with salt and pepper and sauté them in the butter with the cilantro until just cooked, 2-3 minutes (depending on size). Set shrimp aside on a plate.

4. Add the plantain and vegetable mixture to the skillet and stir in the peanut butter. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, or until mixture is thickened.

5. Add cooked shrimp to sauce and stir briefly until shrimp is heated through.

6. Serve warm over white rice.

Want to find other moms como tú? "Like" MamásLatinas on Facebook!

What is your favorite Ecuadorean recipe? Will you be trying any of these? Share with us in the comments below!

Images via Layita.com, Layita.com, About.com

About the author

Irina Gonzalez is a Staff Writer for MamásLatinas. She loves pop culture, social media, photography and, above all, discovering new places. She's also a foodie eating healthy and learning to enjoy exercise.

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