The Best Colombian Food Recipes

Colombian kitchen is quite different from Mexican food, although they do use similar ingredients. Colombians don't like spicy food so much, but it doesn't mean they don't use all kinds of herbs and spices. So, here are some traditional Colombian food recipes you can make at your home. But first you need to find out something about basic ingredients used.

Most Colombian recipes require Masarepa. This is a type of corn flour you will find in numerous stores. Seasoning mixture called Sazon Goya contains garlic powder, saffron and cumin. They also often use coriander, or Chinese parsley. They call it Cilantro. These green leaves have very specific taste. The most popular specialties are Empanadas, Arepas and Tamales.

To prepare dough for your empanadas, you will need one and half cups of Masarepa, 2 cups of water, one tablespoon of vegetable oil, a small spoon of Sazon Goya and the same amount of salt. Mix the ingredients together and knead the dough until smooth. Leave it to rest for maybe twenty minutes.

The filling is made using yellow potatoes, but you can replace them with white ones. You will need two cups diced potatoes, some meat bouillon, half cup of chopped onions, white and green, one garlic clove, half pound of minced or chopped meat, traditionally the mixture of pork and beef, olive oil, fresh cilantro, red bell peppers and black pepper and salt.

Cook diced potatoes in bouillon and mash. Put all other ingredients on hot olive oil, onions first, and cook until dry. Season to your taste and combine with mash potatoes. You will use this mixture to fill your dough, and that's why it needs to be quite dry.

Make around twenty small balls out of your dough and form a thin circle of each. Place one spoon of filling on each circle, for a small half circles and seal them using a fork. Preheat larger amount of vegetable oil in one large pot and fry your empanadas until they become golden. Serve them hot, as a side dish. Empanadas taste great cold as well.

Arepas are also made using precooked cornmeal, but with the addition of crumbled cheese. Simply mix together one cup of Masarepa, one cup of crumbled cheese, one cup of water and one half cup of vegetable oil, and some salt. Knead until smooth and form small circles. Fry Arepas in vegetable oil until crisp and golden and serve as a side dish or as snacks.

Colombians usually buy whole cumin seeds, toast them and ground into powder. Ground seed of Annatto bush, called Achiote is also quite popular. It is bright red and used for food coloring. The taste is quite subtle, peppery. But the most important ingredient is probably garlic. They season their breads, rice, meat and fish with garlic, and it is quite specific for Colombian kitchen.

There are numerous types of Tamales in Colombia, depending on the region. This popular traditional dish is often filled with rice and yellow corn. It is not so easy to prepare it, and it takes some time. If you have the opportunity to try this delicious and specific specialty, prepared on traditional way, make sure not to miss it.

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