Llapingachos (Ecuadorean Potato Pancakes)

Llapingachos (Ecuadorian Potato Pancakes) with sauce on plate
Marian Blazes
Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
389 Calories
15g Fat
54g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 389
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 20%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 14mg 5%
Sodium 521mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 54g 20%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 20mg 101%
Calcium 154mg 12%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 1163mg 25%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Llapingachos (yah-peen-GAH-chos), a traditional Ecuadorean dish, are potato pancakes made from mashed potatoes, seasoned with onions, and stuffed with cheese. They are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, and may take a little time to make but are definitely worth it.

Llapingachos are typically served with a creamy peanut sauce called salsa de mani, and they are often an accompaniment to fried eggs, chorizo sausage, avocado, and a simple salad for a complete meal. They are also sometimes served as an appetizer with hot pepper sauce and a sliced onion salad, such as salsa criolla.

Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, or russet potatoes

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, or olive oil, divided

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 package Sazon Goya with achiote, or 1 teaspoon cumin and 1/2 teaspoon achiote powder

  • 1 cup shredded white cheese, such as queso fresco, mozzarella, or Monterey Jack

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For Serving:

  • Salsa de mani, peanut sauce

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Put the potatoes in a steamer basket over a large pot filled 2/3 of the way to the top with water (make sure water isn't touching the bottom of the steamer basket).

  3. Heat the water over medium heat until it is boiling, cover with a lid, and steam the potatoes until they are tender when pierced with a fork, 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Check occasionally and refill the water level in the pot as needed.  

  4. Remove from the heat, cut each potato in half, and let them cool until they can be handled.

  5. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until the onions are soft, 3 to 4 minutes.

  6. Add the Goya seasoning and cook, stirring frequently, for several minutes more. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  7. Peel the potatoes and press them into a ricer or mash them until smooth. Add the seasoned onions to the potatoes and mix well. Add the cheese and mix well.  

  8. Season the potato mixture with salt and pepper to taste. The potato mixture should be firm enough to shape pieces of it into balls, like dough. If the mixture is too wet and sticky, mix in some flour until it has the right consistency.

  9. Shape the potato mixture into round patties, about 3 inches in diameter and about 1/2-inch thick.

  10. Heat the remaining oil, or as much as needed, in a heavy skillet.

  11. Cook the potato pancakes in batches over medium-low heat, about 3 minutes per side, until they are golden brown.

  12. Keep the potato pancakes warm in the oven, about 200 F, until ready to serve.

  13. Serve with salsa de mani and enjoy.

Tips

  • If the potato mixture seems wet or too soft to form into patties, place the mixture in the refrigerator for an hour. Form into patties and let them sit for 30 minutes before frying.
  • Yukon Gold potatoes will make for buttery and creamy tasting llapingachos, but if you find that the consistency of the batter is too soft, use a starchier potato like a russet next time.
  • Use only as much oil as needed to create a crispy exterior; too much oil will create greasy pancakes and could cause them to fall apart.

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