Over new years, my friends and I headed to Colombia (yes, the country!) to visit. It was trip of kismet brought together by my desire to go out of the country somewhere for my 30th birthday, my roommate’s plans to spend 2 months travelling in South America, and another friend’s booked ticket to Cali, Colombia to visit a friend’s family and check out the huge salsa festival there.
So there we were, a bunch of Americans speaking rudimentary Spanish supplemented with hand signals, on the quest for a delicious meal after treking around the city. We’d done the “easy” meals going to nicer restaurants where we were brought cleaned up versions of Colombian fare – porceline plates full of grilled meats served with rice and bean pilafs. Wash it down with a nice bottle of red.
But now, we were ready to try some REAL food. My roommate & I decided we wanted to find a hole in the wall place where we had to point to get a meal b/c there were no menus and we couldn’t speak any Spanish. We wanted the meals Colombians ate every day, and that was going to take some exploring.
After passing by stands with giant carcasses roasting on side the of the street,
and carts with big, fat grilled corn and fried intestines (we think….),
we settled on a little open store front where a lot of people were sitting. I asked the man who came to greet us – “Cerveza y comida aqui?” “Si, si, [something something] cucina”. Hmm…he has a kitchen. That’s good! “OK, cervezas para todos y una menu” Now I’m REALLY making this stuff up…and he doens’t seem to understand me. Luckily, our new American friend spoke a little more Spanish and was able to find out that they basically have one meal they serve each day. PERFECT! No pointing even necessary!
By the time I am halfway through my first beer (I’m a slow drinker), the man comes out with a plate of meat, salad, plantains, and rice with a bowl of what looks like a chicken and potato soup to show me what he was talking about. Awesome!!! Para todos por favor!
We all dig in and enjoy what was probably one of my favorite meals of the trip. The food was so flavorful and fresh. After a few days of eating lots and lots of heavy meat, the soup was a welcome treat. Everything was delicious, and the beer kept coming cold & quickly. When we went to pay, it ended up being something like $3.50 per person for all that food & beer! Amazing!
(All of us at the great little restaurant!)
When I posted my pics, a friend told me the soup was called sancocho and is a pretty famous Colombian dish, kind of the way I imagine pho to be a famous Vietnamese dish. So I did my research and gave the soup a try this week. Also topped it with some “aji” colombian hot sauce that has a nice burn, but is also very fresh tasting.
- 1 large stock pot filled 3/4 full of water
- 1 whole chicken
- 3 ears fresh corn
- 3 tsp salt
- 3 tsp sugar
- 3 medium white potatoes
- 1 medium yucca
- 1/4 cup alinos
- 1 TB ground cumin
- 1 TB tumeric
- Ground pepper
- 1 avocado
- Aji sauce
- Heat up the water to boiling
- Prepare the alinos seasoning paste according to the link
- Cut each corn cob into 3rds
- Peel the plantain – you may choose to cut it up into chunks, but I ended up not liking the taste so won’t add the chunks again
- Once the water is boiling, add the whole chicken, corn, alinos, 1 tsp salt
- Heat to boiling again, and then cover and reduce hit to medium and cook 30-35 min
- Peel and dice the potatoes & yucca. Chop the cilantro
- Add the potatls & yucca, rest of the salt & sugar, cumin, tumeric and cook another 30 min
- Taste the soup and add more salt/sugar/cumin as desired and keep warm
- Perpare the aji, dice some avocado
- Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro, avocado, and aji sauce