Thanks to its geography, Ecuador is blessed with a diverse range of native ingredients. Because of its large coastal region, seafood is abundant. There's a mountainous strip in the middle of the country, where traditional Andean crops such as quinoa, corn, and different native varieties of potatoes are cultivated. The tropical region produces many kinds of fruit, such as pitaya and naranjilla.
Potatoes, yuca, rice, beans, plantains, seafood, chicken, beef, and pork are all staples of the... Ecuadorian diet. Aji, a spicy chile pepper hot sauce, seasons everything. Ceviche is very traditional (shrimp is especially popular), as are soups and stews.
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Ecuadorian appetizers make good use of yuca in fritters, chips and as stuffing for empanadas, which are traditionally filled with meat, cheese, eggs, vegetables, or greens. Pumpkin is turned into fritters called pristinos and avocado is stuffed to become aguacates rellenos. Here are recipes for traditional offerings:
- Ceviche de Langostinos - Shrimp Ceviche with Tomato SauceRecipe
- Patacones - Fried Green Plantains Recipe
- Empanadas de Queso - Cheese-Filled Empanadas Recipe
- Aji Criollo - Green Aji Salsa Recipe
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Ecuadorian Soups and Stews
Ecuadorian soups and stews contain vegetables and fruits that range in texture from thick to thin and liquidy. They are eaten at any meal of the day as a first course. A traditional Ecuadorian soup is the sope de tomates con plantanos, meaning tomato soup with bananas. Locro de papa, or potato soup, is very popular throughout South America as are fish soups like the chupe de pescado. Enjoy these traditional recipes:
- Locro de Papa Ecuatoriano - Potato Soup Recipe
- Cazuela de Camaron - Shrimp in Plantain and Peanut Sauce Recipe
- Chupe de Maní - Potato and Peanut Soup Recipe
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Ecuadorian Main Courses
Seafood, fish, beef, and pork are common in Ecuadorian cuisine. Pork is used extensively in stews, and seafood often is featured in cold dishes with assorted sauces and rice. Here are some examples of typical main course dishes:
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Ecuadorian desserts range from pastries to pies, fruit mixes, and butter-based doughs. Pumpkin, coconut, mango, bananas, and citrus are often found in sweets. You can't go wrong with ending any Ecuadorian meal with one of the following desserts:Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Ecuadorian Street Food and Snacks
Humitas, the local word for tamales, are probably the favorite Ecuadorian snack and street food because they are so portable. Dumplings and empanadas with different fillings–cheese, eggs, meat, or vegetables–tie for second place in popularity.
Ecuadorian sandwiches are best represented by sanduche de chancho, which includes broiled pork leg, crunchy bread, pork juice, and red onion sauce. A lighter snack is a fresh broad bean salad, locally known as ensalada de habas.
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All types of bread exist in Ecuadorian cuisine, including some made with corn flour and naturally gluten-free yuca bread. But there are enough white flour breads, like the following recipes, for a wide range of options.