While its name may be hard to pronounce for some-llapingacho (ya-peen-ga-cho), once you take your first bite of it, all thoughts on its tongue twister of a name will dissipate. Llapingacho is a potato patty that has been stuffed with cheese and then cooked on a hot griddle until crispy brown. It’s a popular dish throughout Ecuador but is one of the most representative icons of the country’s Highland cuisine.
I first learned about llapingachos in grade school when my church was hosting a “dinner of the world” event. My mom had brought home a cookbook for children that featured recipes from around the world and I had decided upon llapingachos. I don’t remember that much about the church dinner except I don’t believe the llapingachos I had made at the age of nine came out nearly as well as the ones I made a few weeks ago almost 20 years later. Practice makes perfect indeed.
I’ve discovered through my cooking and travel adventures that every country’s cuisine has its own form of comfort food. So for me, what is essentially a mashed potato cake that has been stuffed with cheese and onions and then cooked until golden definitely fits the moniker of comfort food.
When I visited South America, my travels took me to Argentina and Uruguay, two countries that are more European in many ways due to the influx of Europeans that immigrated there. So, a dream of mine is to visit the South American nations that are not so European in look and feel, those that have large indigenous populations and not to mention would offer a drastically different experience than say Buenos Aires which is often dubbed the Paris of South America. While altitude sickness will always frighten me (black clouds or nubes negros seem to follow me wherever I go), the Andean Highlands is something I would love to see!
Here is a link to the recipe that I used to make my llapingachos. They were very easy to make.