Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Oct 31, 2007 05:59 PM

Columbian Dish for Class Project - Need Suggestions!

My daughter came home from high school today and informed me that her next geography quiz grade would be based on her submission of a Latin American dish. The class would get to eat it. The class was told to stay away from Burritos (we live in Texas, so this is the Mexican dish is ubiquitous) Any suggestions? Oh, and I forgot to mention that this class is at 9:00 AM, so we need to keep that in mind when choosing!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Was your daughter specifically assigned food from Columbia? You only mention submitting a Latin American dish.

    I discovered two web sites that might help you out:

    Skimming through the first web site, I noticed a dish from Bolivia, Humintas, that has several virtures. It can be made from available, inexpensive ingredients. It seems easy to make. Best of all, it seems like a Latin American dish. (For example, I'd be hard pressed to distinguish the Guatamalan recipe for Cucumber Soup from my own Cucumber Soup recipe which I've never thought of as anything remotely Latin American.


    To serve the class, you'd probably have to double the recipe and bake it in a 9" X 13" pan. The dish is supposed to be served warm which means you could cook the dish the morning of the event and let it cool on the trip to school or cook it in advance, refrigerate it and let it warm up on the trip to school. (Can you tell I've been through the equivalent assigment many times?)

    The second web site contains a huge number of recipes, but none of the recipes is specifically from Columbia. The recipes are organized by category.

    Good luck.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Indy 67

      It turns out that any food from Latin America is okay. Now I am most concerned about the time of day -- you really can't bring dinner food. My daughter asked me about churros? Would those qualify?

      1. re: RGC1982

        In my earlier post, I said that I'd been through this type of assignment many times. What I didn't say is that I did them from the other side of the desk; I was the teacher. So let me re-assure you that you don't have to restrict yourself to a breakfast-type food. It was my experience that students will consume anything that tastes good no matter the time of day and no matter the actual meal the when dish is usually eaten.

        You specifically asked about Churros. Technically churros are Spanish rather than Latin American, although they've become wildly popular in Mexico. That's probably not a serious enough reason to stay away from Churros. I think the big drawback to Churros is that they are deep fried, and I don't think deep fried foods do well when there's a long time between frying and serving.

      2. re: Indy 67

        Thank you for the links! I think you are right about the Humintas. It looks Latin American, while the others are indistiguishable from an ethnic perspective.

        1. re: RGC1982

          Humintas are definitely authentic South American fare. The recipe that Indy67 shared isn't exactly how they'd be made in Bolivia (they're typically wrapped in corn husks and steamed) but it's a good approximation of the flavors. Maybe a bit sweeter, though, since they're made with a starchy, not sweet type of corn in Bolivia. None of the ones I ate had raisins, but they would probably be a nice addition. The humintas would would probably hold up much better than something deep fried and would be appetizing at 9 am.

          1. re: RGC1982

            While humitas are found in many parts of South America, they are also quite variable. I'm not familiar with a Bolivian version that's baked in a pan. The Ecuadorian version is rather like Mexican tamal, except it usually doesn't have a filling, and is made with a fresher corn (though not American sweet corn).

            See if your local library has a book called 'The South American Table', Maria Baez Kijac. That's one of the more recent and complete cookbooks on the subject.

            Do any of your local Mexican groceries carry items from other parts of Latin America? Peruvian imports are quite common, Colombian less so.

            For arepas, you need a precooked corn flour from Colombia or Venezuela (e.g. Goya brand). It is not the same as tortilla masa harina. I'm not sure how good they are cold.

            The same sections might carry yuca flour, which you would use to make yuca bread (pan de yuca in Columbia and Ecuador). From Peru you might consider toasted corn (corn nuts, tostadas, maiz cancha). Banana chips (chifles) are another popular snack food from the area (Trader Joes carries Inca chips from Peru). Toasted fava beans (habas) are another snack (though they are also popular in Mexico).

        2. My sister-in-law is from Colombia and the most common things she makes are empanadas with a dough made from yucca, a pork roast, or these little pastry things called bunuelos. The pastries might make a good breakfast food.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Avalondaughter

            Could you please give me the recipe for yaca dough for empanada. Thanks. elawrence

          2. Well I guess that means no ceviche. Arepas (corn meal pancakes with cheese) are terribly popular around Columbia and Venezuela. I'm a fan, myself.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JungMann

              I,m peruvian so how about Papas a la Huancaina, Aji de Gallina, Empanadas (Peruvian, Chilean or Argentinian they're the best and not fried). From Chile you could try Pastel de Choclo. To find Peruvian recipes go to Almost forgot about Alfajores, in Miami you can find them in Peruvian or Argentinian stores.

            2. Will you have the ability to warm things? You could make rice and beans - that's pretty easy to do - though I don't have a recipe, as my husband always wings it. Also, last month's Gourmet focused on Latin America, so you might want to check out for recipes.

              1. I have made these cookies for my class during a unit on Peru. Our principal was originally from Peru and said they were very authentic.