THIS IS THE LAST COUNTRY IN SOUTH AMERICA #99 OVERALL MEAL!!
Ecuador is located in the continent of South America. It has Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east, Peru to the east and southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and Panama and Costa Rica to the far northwest.
The capital is Quito.
The official language is Spanish.
The climate is generally warm and averages between 68- and 91-degrees F. Higher elevations vary a little and has the possibility of frost.
The staple foods are potatoes, yuca, rice, beans, shellfish, plantains, chicken, beef, pork, chili pepper hot sauce, shrimp ceviche and so much more (https://www.thespruceeats.com/ecuadorian-food-recipes-3029259#:~:text=Staples%20of%20the%20Ecuadorian%20diet,as%20are%20soups%20and%20stews.).
ECUADORIAN CHURRASCO (https://www.laylita.com/recipes/ecuadorian-churrasco/):
- 2 lb beef steaks, skirt steak, flank or hanger type steaks are a good choice, for a higher end version of this dish you can also use sirloin, ny style, ribeye or tenderloin steaks.
- 8-12 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 TBSP ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
Variation with peppers & onions:
- 1-2 TBSP oil
- ½ tsp ground achiote or annatto
- 1 TBSP oregano
- 1 red onion, cut in thick slices
- 1-2 bell peppers, red/green or any color you want, cut into slices
- 2 tomatoes, cut into thick slices
Must have side dishes:
- Ecuadorian style rice
- Fried eggs
- Homemade potato fries
- Fried ripe plantains
- Tomato and onion curtido salad, or your choice of salad
- Avocado slices
- Aji criollo hot sauce
- Mix the crushed garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper together to make a marinade for the meat.
- Rub the garlic cumin marinade on the thin steaks and let marinate for a couple of hours.
- Grill or fry the steaks over high heat to desired doneness; since they are relatively thin, they won’t take too long to cook.
- If frying them and making the variation with peppers & onions, then remove the thin steaks from the pan and let them rest. In the same pan, add the oil.
- Add the red onion slices and bell pepper slices, oregano, achiote, and sprinkle of salt/pepper. You can also add additional garlic and cumin if you would like. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the onions and peppers are soft.
- Add the tomato slices and cook for a few more minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- You can either add the steaks back to the pan and mix everything together, or just serve them with onion and pepper mix on top.
- Serve the steaks with a crispy fried egg or two on top with the additional side dishes of rice, homemade fries, fried ripe plantains, tomato, and onion curtido or your choice of salad, plus avocado slices and aji criollo. You can mix and match the sides according to your preference.
ECUADORIAN STYLE RICE (https://www.laylita.com/recipes/how-to-cook-rice/):
- 2 C of uncooked white rice (I like to use long grain rice (sorted and rinsed if needed), or Calrose short grain rice.
- 2 TBSP oil or butter – plus extra butter for finishing (optional)
- 2 TBSP white onions, minced or finely chopped
- 2-1/2 C water, adjust based on the type of rice and altitude
- Salt to taste, add the salt when you add the water and water should taste like a lightly salted broth, for a lightly salted rice I add about ¼ tsp of salt.
- 1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
For arroz Amarillo or yellow achiote rice:
- ½ tsp of ground achiote or annatto powder
- Heat the oil or butter on medium temperature in medium sized saucepan or pot.
- Add the minced onions and garlic (and achiote if making arroz Amarillo or yellow rice), cook until the onions are translucent or soft, about 2 minutes.
- Add the rice and stir it in so that it is well coated by the oil, add the water and salt – increase the heat and bring it to a boil.
- Let the water boil and reduce until it barely covers the rice. Cover with a tight lid, reduce the temperature to simmer and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Taste and make sure it’s fully cooked. If the rice is on the older side, it might take an extra 5-10 minutes to cook. Remove from the heat, gently fluff it, and cover again for 5 minutes before serving.
- For an extra bit of flavor, you can add 1-2 TBSP of butter (in small slices) to the rice during the last 5 minutes.
ULTRA CRISPY BAKED POTATO WEDGES (https://cookieandkate.com/crispy-baked-potato-wedges-recipe/):
- 2 lbs. Russet potatoes (6 smallish or 4 medium), scrubbed clean (I didn’t peel mine)
- 3 TBSP olive oil
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 TBSP finely chopped fresh parsley, optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
- Cut each potato in half lengthways, then in half lengthways again to make quarters, and then cut each half in half lengthways on the diagonal to make two wedges (you’ll end up with 8 wedges per potato; make sure they are about the same thickness and size).
- Place the sliced potatoes into a large bowl and cover them with hot water (I used hot water from the tap, but others have suggested that pipes can leach impurities into hot water, so it may be best to use cool tap water that has been heated on the stove). Let them soak for 10 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and lightly pat them dry with a lint-free tea towel. Place the potato wedges on the prepared pan and drizzle them with the olive oil. Sprinkle the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and a generous amount of pepper on top.
- Toss until the potatoes are evenly coated in oil and spices, then arrange them in even columns across the pan so each wedge has a cut side against the pan (If you don’t all fit in an even layer across your pan, you’ll need to use two pans for this recipe – divide them evenly across both pans and rotate the pans when you flip the potatoes halfway through baking. They may be done baking earlier than specified below so keep an eye on them toward the end).
- Bake for 30 minutes, then flip the wedges over (use a spatula and you should be able to flip several at a time). Arrange them in an even layer and return the pan to the oven.
- Bake until the wedges are deeply golden, crisp, and easily pierces through by a fork, about 25 to 30 more minutes (the fries near the outside of my pan were done at 25, so I removed them and put the pan back in the oven for 5 more minutes to finish off the rest).
- Sprinkle with parsley, if desire, and serve while hot.
FRIED RIPE PLANTAINS (https://www.laylita.com/recipes/fried-ripe-plantains-or-platanos-fritos/):
- 2 ripe plantains
- Oil for frying, can use avocado, sunflower, peanut oil
- Cheese for sprinkling or melting on top: You can use quesillo, queso freso or feta if you want to experience the saltiness contrast with the sweetness of the plantain. Other options include grated mozzarella, Monterey jack, or fontina if you prefer the yummy gooiness of melted cheese.
- Wash and peel the plantains.
- Slice the plantains, the best way to slice them is either diagonally or cut the plantain in half and slice lengthwise. The plantain can also be sliced lengthwise full size, but the small diagonal or half slices are easier to manage.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large frying pan and add the plantains.
- The plantains will cook very quickly, make sure to turn them before they burn and cook until golden on each side. You can use a spatula or a fork to turn them. If the plantain flesh is still pink or white inside, it means that it is not yet fully cooked.
- Thicker slices and less ripe plantains will need longer to cook, and maybe more oil.
- Place the cooked plantains on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
- Serve warm.
ONION AND TOMATO CURTIDO SALAD (https://www.laylita.com/recipes/curtido-de-cebolla-y-tomate-pickled-red-onion-and-tomato-salad/):
- 2 small red onions
- Juice of 3 limes
- 1 TBSP oil, light olive oil or avocado oil.
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 TBSP finely chopped cilantro
- 1 TBSP salt + more to adjust taste
- Slice the red onions very thinly using a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer.
- Sprinkle the sliced onions with 1 TBSP salt and rub the salt into the onions.
- Cover the onions with cold water and rinse well until the salt is removed. If the onions are very strong, then you can let them rest in the water for 5-10 minutes.
- Drain the onions and place them in a bowl.
- Add the lime juice and a sprinkle of salt, let rest until the onions start to turn pinkish, about 5-10 minutes.
- The tomatoes can be sliced thinly or diced. Add the tomatoes to the onion curtido mix.
- Add the oil and the chopped cilantro. Mix well, taste and add additional salt to taste if needed.
COME Y BEBE (Ecuadorian Fruit Salad) (https://sweetsimplevegan.com/come-y-bebe/):
- 6 C fresh orange juice
- 1 large papaya (or two small), peeled and diced (about 3 C)
- 1 pineapple, diced
- 3 bananas, diced
- 1 mango, diced
- If you are making fresh orange juice, I suggest juicing your oranges first.
- Add all of the diced fruit into a large bowl and pour over the orange juice. Set aside.
- Mix and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Serve and enjoy!!