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A visit to grandma’s house is a sight back in time, an invitation to learn about our culinary history and understand the legacy of that old days meals, cooked on clay pots over the wooden stove of an Andean hut, its scent still remains on every traditional dish.
Going back in time we must talk about the main event that changed the traditional Inca’s and other native societies food. Along with the Spaniard conquerors arrived dozens of products and processes that Central and South American cuisine didn’t knew. So the exchange burst the culinary creation and allowed the diversity of dishes each region offers. And when it comes to Ecuador, the country of the four worlds where you find all in one place, so close, then it means the variety is as rich as it’s megadiverse land.
When you savor Ecuadorian food you relive that old tastes, those old secrets often passed-on through generations and as many as we are, as diverse as we are, we’ve made it to the World’s Top on variety of soups as the leading country on the region when it comes to broths, creams and soups.
A good plate of barley rice soup on Monday may be the starting point on an Ecuadorian flavors tour. Made out of a cereal with great nutritional value such as high levels of iron, which is known as an antioxidant good for bones and joints strength, among many others. Its consumption especially on Mondays may refer to that grandma’s purpose to made us step into a new week full of strength.
The Ecuadorian Andes are graced with hectares of fertile land where you’ll find vast plantations of these grain which it’s often prepared along with pork or cheese, potatoes and any other special touch that each chef and kitchen may add.
Eating in Ecuador is a Pure flavor experience. We grew up loving the local goods such as potato, a product that appears in many presentations: cooked, fried, mashed and of course, on the soups! One of my favorites, the Locro with cheese, is a traditional potato soup usually served with a slice of cheese, avocado and a touch of chili.
You may find this creamy soup in restaurants and on every Ecuadorian table, all with different variations and final touches but always with the Ecuadorian seasoning. To prepare it the chef may choose medium or large sizes but that’s not the only consideration because we produce 13 varieties of tater. According to the Chef Edgar León, there are 43 ways to Ecuadorian locro in the central and northern Andes.
Many Ecuadorians choose to serve it with toasted corn “tostado” and “chochos”. Totado is a type of corn fried in pork fat or oil. Chochos are considered legumes and there are 200 varieties worldwide, but let me tell you that the Ecuadorian branch has a medicinal plus because it is said it can help people with diabetes. And here is another quick fact, this grain grows more than 2,400 meters above sea level, in the Ecuadorian Andes.
But while the Andean region is rich in agricultural production, the Ecuadorian coast is not far behind, one of the most delicious products from the coastlands is the green plantain. It is found in dough, “tortillas”, “patacones”, “bolones”, “empanadas”, and many other variations. However, the broth of green balls is one of my favorites. This is one of the most delicious soups enjoyed by locals, made out of a product shipped from Ecuador to dozens of countries in Europe, Asia and America.
The “Bolas de verde” broth is often prepared with boiled eggs, carrot, peas and parsley. In addition, it may host a bone of beef and corn to give its unique taste.
Talking about each and every one of the soups would take long and many pages, but we want to leave you with the desire not only to read, but to savor the variety of gastronomy when visiting Ecuador, because we are the leaders of the soups with flavors that you will never forget.
The iconic Ecuadorian soups in one cooking book
In 2014 the Ecuadorian Chef, Edgar León, published the book ‘Soups, the identity of Ecuador’, a complete experience full of soup’s recipes from the “Country of the Four Worlds”. On the release year, the book made it to the 16 best culinary publications of Gourmand Best in the World among 16,800 participants.
780 Ecuadorian soups are shown in this book as a result of a 15-year investigation. Edgar Leon says “I’ve visited each of the (Ecuadorian) towns. The campers, the markets, the parental kitchens and the ‘agachaditos’ have been my space where I’ve tried all the dishes on the menu; if I felt a special seduction from one of them, then I spent more than a week for research”.