Mi Tierra Querida

There are no words for how I feel about my native land, Colombia, without first seeing the beauty that resides within it.

A land known better for its exports of Sofia Vergara (Gloria from Modern Family), Shakira, bananas, coffee, emeralds, and of course Pablo Escobar. Colombia truly is one of the most diverse and welcoming places in the world. There is so much more to Colombia than what is in the headlines.

El mar del caribe
Parque Tayrona
En la selva Tayrona
going through the jungle

A country that has been plagued by civil war for over 50 years yet is known for having some of the happiest people in the world.How is this so? You have to see to believe. From the mountains of the Sierra Nevada to the tallest peaks of the Andes, to the coasts that borders the Pacific, Caribbean & Atlantic, to the dense heartland that is the Amazon, Colombia truly has it all.

Chivas en Taganga
Chivas

This is reflected in its cuisine, which is steeped in regional diversity. The insane choice of produce means you can travel throughout the country and never have the same meal twice! Although it can be quite meat centric, Colombia has so much to offer in terms of fruits and vegetables, I never went hungry!

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mi bandera
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Cartagena
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sunset over Cartagena

Alas I am not able to enjoy the bounty of Colombia as I currently live in England. But that is no reason not to be able to eat like I am still there. So here is the first of many meals from Colombia. This is inspired by my time on the north coast…..Señorita en Cartagena con frutas

Peppered Steak topped with Colombian Creole sauce

served with coconut rice, plantain chips, and a beetroot & carrot salad

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Serves: 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

Peppered Steak

  • 2 packages of Quorn peppered steaks
  • 1 tbs coconut oil

Colombian Creole Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons oil (I used coconut for this)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 tomatoes, diced
  • 3 scallions, diced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground achiote*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper

*Achiote is also known as annatto seed & is used to give a yellowish color to food. Can be used instead of saffron as a food colouring. Achiote can be found in Latin supermarkets and in some American grocery stores.Turmeric works in a bind.

Beetroot & Carrot Salad

  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 beets
  • 1/2 small white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Plantain Chips

Coconut Rice

  • 2 Cups long grain rice
  • 4 Cups coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

I am using coconut oil as this is by far the best oil to cook with 🙂

Embrace the coconutty love!

Method

  1. Get your creole sauce going first: In a saucepan, place the oil & onions in. Let them cook down to almost caramelisation, about 25 minutes or so. Then add tomatoes, red bell pepper, spring onions/scallions, garlic, achiote, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. While your sauce is sorting itself out on the hob, get your rice going. Place the rice in a small pot, add the coconut milk, sugar and salt. Bring it to a boil over medium high-heat. Stir once, cover and reduce heat to low, cook for about 20 minutes. Remember not remove the cover. Remove the pot from the heat & let it sit for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice using a fork & serve immediately.
  3. Now while all this is happening, get your steaks going. I find Quorn to produce a good steak option, but any protein here will work, mushrooms would be tasty as well. I rubbed some coconut oil on mine before I put them into a preheated oven to cook for 20 minutes.
  4. For the salad, there are two ways of preparing this. You can cook them beforehand and eat them in thicker rounds or grate & eat them raw. Both are tasty! This time I grated them, as its by far the quickest & healthiest way.Then arrange your vegetables in a serving bowl and add the chopped coriander. In a small bowl mix olive oil, vinegar, lime, cumin, salt and pepper. Add this dressing to your vegetables. Remember to serve cold or at room temperature.
  5. Peel your plantains & using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice the plantains (the thinner the better!). Fill a large skillet with enough vegetable oil to completely cover the plantain chips. Heat the oil. It will be ready when you pop in a tiny piece of bread and it immediately fries. Fry the plantains in the hot oil, turning occasionally until brown on both sides. Drain on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle with salt to taste and transfer to a serving plate.

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source:my colombian recipes

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