The formation of traditional Chilean cuisine was influenced by the cuisine of Spain, Italy, Croatia, as well as recipes of the indigenous peoples living in the area. In addition to seafood, Chilean chefs often use wine, since Chile is considered one of the largest producers of this intoxicating drink.
Features of national Chilean cuisine
It comes as a surprise to many that the traditional cuisine of Chile is mostly not spicy, although the name of the state is associated with the famous hot pepper. In fact, Chile is called so because of its geographical outline, which resembles a pepper pod.
All residents of the country have a great love for fish, shellfish and other seafood. Mainly used are salmon, hake, sea bass, eel, yellowfin tuna, mussels, sea urchins, saltwater, sea cucumber, oysters and crabs. Chileans also love meat, especially lamb, which is slow-roasted over fires in Patagonia and the Lake District. Beef is used to prepare a dish called asado. Chicken is considered a second-class product, although it is an ingredient in many dishes.
The best dishes of Chilean cuisine
Umita. This is the favorite food of South American Indians. The dish has a long history, and recipes for its preparation vary from region to region. As a rule, in every Latin American country, corn umita is prepared taking into account certain features. In particular, in Chile, it is added with corn dough, basil, oil, onions and green chilies.
The filling is wrapped in a leaf of corncob and secured with thread or rope, after which the dish is boiled or baked. The taste of umita is spicy-sweet or sweet-sour; sugar, tomatoes, olives, red pepper and much more are added to it. By the way, classic Chilean umita is not particularly spicy.
Caldiyo de congrio. The process of preparing it involves boiling the fish head, onion, garlic, carrots, pepper and coriander. Then you take more garlic, potatoes, onions and tomatoes, which are fried in a frying pan and then dropped into the broth along with the eel.
Empanada. An empanada is a fried or baked pancake whose name comes from the Spanish word empanar, meaning “to wrap in dough.” The pancake filling is made from meat, cheese, fruits or vegetables and then wrapped in dough.
In Chile, three types of empanadas are most popular: 1) a pancake stuffed with onions, raisins, beef, olives and eggs and baked in the oven; 2) a pancake stuffed with seafood is fried in a frying pan; 3) the cheese filling of the pancake is fried or baked. As a rule, empanadas are eaten with hands and washed down with dry red wine.
Commonly used products include mussels, clams, ascidians, eel, and salmon. The ingredients of a classic Curanto are meat, shellfish, potatoes, milcaos (potato cake), vegetables and fish.
The amount of each ingredient is measured by eye, since there is no exact recipe. Next, all this is covered with a wet cloth, covered with earth and cooked for one hour. You can also cook curanto in a large pan heated on a grill or fire. In the central regions of Chile, the dish is called pulmai.
Ceviche. It is prepared on the basis of raw fresh fish, marinated in lemon or lime juice, seasoned with chili pepper. Among other things, onion, coriander and black pepper are also added. Ceviche is served with corn, avocado or sweet potatoes. Particular attention is paid to the freshness of the fish to avoid food poisoning, since the fish is not cooked.
Cazuela. Translated from Spanish, the name of the dish translates as “stew.” The traditional ingredients of cazuela are meat and vegetables. In some regions, they prefer to add beef or chicken, sometimes even turkey and pork. A typical cazuela in Chile consists of meat, potatoes, pumpkin, celery, carrots, cabbage, beans and other vegetables. Cazuela is often served after broth as a second course.
Asado. Asado is fried meat. In Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Chile, asado is synonymous with barbecue (kebabs). Pebre, a mixture of herbs, hot peppers and garlic, is served as an addition to the asado. In southern Chile, asado is served hot with salads.
Pastel de choclo. This is a corn pie that is an everyday homemade dish for Chileans. The meat filling is coated with a layer of cornmeal and corn and then served in clay plates. Typically, to prepare pastel de choclo, housewives choose ground beef or chicken, and also add raisins, onions, olives and hard-boiled eggs.
Churasko. The term is used in Portugal and Spain and refers to grilled beef. Churrasco is a popular dish in many Latin American countries, where there are restaurants called churrascarias everywhere that serve meat dishes. In churrascarias, similar to our steakhouses, waiters walk around with skewers and offer meat to customers. Directly in Chile, churrasco is a thin piece of meat in a sandwich, served with French fries, onions and fried eggs.
Chilean salad. Its ingredients are tomato, coriander, onion, olive oil and chili pepper. The onion should be fresh or slightly soaked in salted boiling water. Despite its apparent simplicity, the salad is very tasty and unusual.
Marraketa bread. This is a crusty bread baked in South America, consisting of flour, salt, water and baking powder. It is very popular in Chile and is commonly used in sandwiches and toast. The peculiarity of Marraketa bread is its unusual shape, which allows you to easily divide the product into several parts.