pastry

24. Bolivia: Pukacapas

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Bolivia a country at the heart of South America, once part of the ancient Inca Empire. The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire began in 1524, and was mostly completed by 1533. The place we now call Bolivia was known as “Upper Peru”, and was under the authority of the Viceroy of Lima. The locals were enslaved by the Spanish and worked in the silver, tin and salt mines. So yes the Bolivians have been through a lot, and they haven’t recovered. Bolivia is still one of the poorest countries in South America, so that’s why a lot of Bolivians immigrate to neighbouring countries like Argentina.

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So here we go some fun facts about Bolivia:

  • Bolivia got its name from Simon Bolivar, a leader in the Spanish American wars of Independence.
  • La Paz, the capital city of Bolivia is the world’s highest city, located at an elevation of 3,630 meters.
  • What do Bolivians do for fun? Fighting cholitas is the Bolivan’s version of Mexican lucha libre, a form of free fighting somewhere between passion-play, a wrestling match and bedlam. Bolivians crowd around the wrestling ring to watch female cholitas dressed in traditional clothing slam each other down and swing each other by their pig tails. (Okaaayy well this is slightly odd to say the least)
  • The ‘so-so’ gesture (rocking your hand from side to side with palm down) means ‘no’ in Bolivia.
  • It is impolite to show up on time to a social occasion. Guests are expected to be 15 to 30 minutes late for dinner or parties.

Here is a video of the cholitas fighting:

So here is the recipe, this week i made pukacapas, a bolivian pastry.

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Ingredients: 3 cups of flour, 2 tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp salt, 1/3 c butter, cold and cut into small cubes, 2 eggs, 1/3 cups milk, 1 egg, beaten (for brushing on top) For the filling: 1 large onion, chopped, 1 red jalapeño minced, 1 green jalapeño minced, 1 tomato, chopped, 1 green onion chopped, 2 tbsp parsley chopped, 2 garlic cloves minced, ½ c green olives chopped, ¼ c vegetable oil, 3 c queso fresco crumbled

Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Stir all filling ingredients except queso fresco into the hot oil. Sauté about 10 minutes, or until veggies are soft. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the cheese. Set aside. To make the dough, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Work cold cubes of butter into the dry mixture fully incorporated (you should see only pea-sized or smaller butter chunks). Stir in milk and eggs, mixing just until dough is smooth. It should be tacky enough for two separate pieces to stick to each other, but not so sticky that it can’t be rolled. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Turn dough onto a floured surface and roll it as thin as possible, then cut into circular shapes (I used a jar lid for this). To assemble pukacapas, drop filling by the teaspoon into the middle of a dough round, leaving some space around the edge. Cover with a second dough round and pinch the edges of both rounds together, moistening with a few drops of water if necessary. Poke a few holes in the top of each pastry to vent (a fork or toothpick will get the job done), then beat the remaining egg and use it to brush the tops of all the pukacapas. Bake at 200 for 20 minutes, or until just golden.

9. Argentina: Empanadas

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Argentina, the country of Maradona, Che Guevara, Evita, cowboys (gauchos) and tango.  Argentina is one of the reasons I learned spanish, I’ve been dreaming to go there ever since I was about 15 years old and saw the movie Motorcycle Diaries. A really good movie about the young years of Che Guevara, still one of my favorite movies ever with the incredibly talented Gael Garcia Bernal (yes I know he is Mexican and not Argentinian, but still he is unbelievably hot)! Another famous Argentinian and probably one of the most well known soccer players ever Maradona, he is a really funny guy. During the soccer World Cup in South Africa in 2010 he was Argentina’s coach and instead of just yelling at the soccer players he used his entire body to make clarify what he ment. I love these kind of people who get so enthusiastic,  passionate and emotional about what they are doing. It put a smile on my face every time I saw Argentina play!  But these are all things you probably know about Argentina, let’s skip to the things you don’t know about Argentina.

  • in Argentina beauty is really important 1 in 30 Argentinians  undergoes plastic surgery.
  • On the 15th of May Argentinians celebrate Friend’s Day, a day entirely dedicated to the celebration of friendship. It’s not an official holiday, but making reservations for restaurants of even a pub is advised.
  • Argentina is considered one of largest and best quality producers of wine.
  • I always wondered what the sun was doing on the Argentinian flag but apparently it’s the Sun of May (Sol de Mayo) it’s an old Inca symbol which refers to the month May. Now it’s the symbol for independency struggle during the revolution 18th – 25th May 1810.
Argentinian Empanadas
Argentinian Empanadas

Now let’s start this recipe! This week I made empanadas, and hell yeah they were delicious! And really not that difficult the hardest thing was folding the meat mixture in the dough but I had a little help with that because apparently my mom has a empanada maker which forms the dough into perfect little empanadas! very very very convenient if your as clumsy as I am! So let’s get started! Here’s what you need to make this recipe.

Ingredients: 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 2 white onions chopped, 500 gr of lean ground beef,  2 tablespoons of sweet paprika, 3/4 teaspoon of hot paprika, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 table spoon of white wine vinegar, 1/2 cup of raisins, 1/2 cup of green olives chopped, 2 hardboiled eggs chopped, salt to taste, puff pastry 2 big round sheets.

Fry off the onion with the coconut oil in a pan. Remove from the heat and and the sweet paprika, hot paprika, crushed red pepper flakes and salt.  Spread the meat on a sieve and pour boiling water over it for partial cooking. (I know this sounds strange, but it really works)! Place the meat in a dish and add salt, cumin, vinegar and the onion mixture.  Add the olives raisins, and eggs ,mix well and place on a flat dish to cool. Cut puff pastry into nice round shells. and place a spoon of the meat mixture in the middle of each round. Slightly wet the edge of the pastry, fold in two and stick edges together. The shape should resemble that of a half-moon.  Seal by twisting edge, step by step, between thumb and index finger, making sure to add pressure before releasing the pinch and moving on to the next curl. Other sealing procedures like pinching without curling or using a fork to seal will not prevent juice leaks during baking, and empanadas must be juicy. (If you have an empanada maker , just put in the dough close is gently and carefully open is and your empanada will be perfect)

I found this really funny video about Argentina: 

Next up is Armenia!