IMG_4661Traveling around Bolivia in a bus can be very exciting when you are a kid,  especially when the bus stops at a checkpoint and tons of ladies start offering different street food to the bus passengers. I used to have a favorite food in every city because every city has different dishes. In Santa Cruz my favorite snack that the ladies would sell outside the buses was Cuñapés, sometimes they would even be hot out of the oven. The nice Crispy outside with the melted soft cheese inside makes this little roll a good source of energy for the long travel ahead. Enjoy!





Makes 10 small portions

Cooking and preparation  time 30 min


1 cup tapioca flour (Bob’s Red Mill)

2 cups  shredded monterrey jack (or preferably Queso Fresco)

1 tsp baking powder

1 egg

1-2 tbs milk

Assemble the ingredients and preheat the oven to 450F.


Mix the tapioca flour and the baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add the cheese and mix well until cheese is covered in the flour.

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Add the egg to the mix of cheese and flour, and mix. If the dough starts sticking together, you don’t need to add milk if it keeps separating add 1 tbs of milk at that time.


In this case I added one tbs of milk and made a nice ball of dough. Divide the dough in 10 pieces of the same size and shape them into balls. Put a thumbprint in the bottom of each ball (to help with even puffing in the oven).

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Place finger print side down on a cooking sheet. You can use a parchment paper. Bake for 15 min at 450F, you want them to be nicely golden and dry.



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This is why I love cooking, you get rewarded at the end with delicious food and some recipes don’t take that long to Cook. Best served warm.


Fricase Paceño Boliviano

Fricase Paceño


What I remember about this dish growing up was that every place that was organizing a New Year’s eve party offered Fricase paceno para recibir el alba on the menu. Of course, I didn’t understand why this was a special on the menu at 5 am in the morning on New Year’s eve! But when I was old enough that my parents let me go to a party with friends, I realized how important it is to have a nice spicy soup to keep you awake to receive the New Year with good energy. So I now understand why fricase is so important. I love this dish for the flavor and how simple it is. You don’t have to eat it at 5 or 6 am in the morning to enjoy!

Serves 4


2 lb pork (ribs or porkchop)

1/2 cup aji amarillo yellow sauce

12 black or white Chuño (usually you use the black ones) 3 per person (chuño is freeze-dried potato, if unavailable, rather than substituting for potatoes I’d just leave them out)

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1 can hominy (Mote blanco)

5 garlic

1 tsp cumin

1 tbs dry oregano


4 cups of water or broth

Get the ingredients ready. Chuño is soaked in water a night ahead, clean the extra skin if necessary.


Cut the pork into 8 large pieces, two per person. Rub the aji amarillo into the pork.


Meanwhile in a large pot heat the water or broth. Once is hot (but not boiling) add the pork, garlic, salt, cumin and let it simmer for an hour an a half.

While the meat is cooking, cook the Chuño in a separate pot. It’s cooked after 20 min or tender with a knife. Set aside.

Once the pork is tender after one hour and a half, add the oregano and bread crumbs. Let it simmer for 10 min. Add the Chuño and hominy or mote blanco (I like doing it this way).

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Usually in Bolivia they put the chuño and the mote blanco in the soup bowl first and they add the meat and the fricase soup on top. I love cooking the mote blanco and chuño in the soup a little bit so they absorb the flavor.

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The best way to enjoy this is early in the morning usually Saturday after a long night partying! There’s nothing better to go with this than a crispy  marraqueta (Bolivian version of a baguette) to soak the juices in your bread and a good llajwa (spicy salsa).


Pan de Arroz (Baked in banana leaves)

Pan de Arroz horneado en hojas de platano

IMG_3300One of my favorite treats from time to time that my mom would buy for was Pan de Arroz. She bought these in a special Santa Cruz-style pastry shop called “La Pascana.”  She never baked these because she thought she would offend the people from Santa Cruz for just trying. I love this delicious bread and I was always curios about how to prepare them, so when I was in college, one of my best friends was from Santa cruz and she taught me the “secrets” for this recipe. I taught my mom how to make them but she is still afraid of trying and she loves having an excuse to go to La Pascana and enjoy a real  pan de arroz from Santa Cruz.

Makes 12 large pastries or 24 small pastries

Total time 3 hours

Preparation time 1 hour


3 pounds yuca root, about 4 large roots

1 lb. rice flour (Bob’s Redmill)

2 tsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

1 cup milk (more or less)

1 cup hot melted Crisco (you can substitute for butter)

1 lb. queso fresco or Monterrey Jack

1-2 banana leaves

Mix the following dry ingredients: Rice, flour, salt, and sugar. Set aside.

Shred the cheese and reserve 1/2 cup. Set aside the rest


Preparing the Yuca

Cut the yuca roots into 3 segments. Wedge a pairing knife between the skin and the flesh, and pry the bark-like skin away from the flesh (as opposed to peeling it). It pops off in chunks easily.


Rinse the white pieces in water, put in a pot of water to boil like potatoes.


When you can insert a fork or knife easily through a few, they’re done, it takes about fifteen minutes. Also, you’ll notice the edges starting to crack. Drain and set aside until cool to the touch.


Going through the center of the each whole root is a fibrous string. Pull this out of your chunks with your fingers or a pairing knife. Mash the remaining yuca, piece by piece, in a bowl with a potato masher. For this dough, you only want to use the fresh, soft white parts. Discard  any hard, waxy or yellow pieces.

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Preparing the Dough

Into the bowl of mashed yuca, add the rice, flour, salt, and sugar. Knead until you mix the ingredients all together. Add milk a little bit at a time.


Add milk until the dough starts to hold together. Press down with your hands since it’s very thick. You’ll use about a cup of milk. The dough shouldn’t get outright sticky, but it should barely stick to your hands. Add the melted Crisco and mix really well. It’ll sound squishy. Add the cheese (except a half cup) and knead some more. The final dough should be thick, slightly sticking on hands. Add more milk if needed to get this consistency. Let the dough sit covered in the fridge for 2 hours so that the yuca can  suck in the fat.

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Making the pastries one at the time!

While the dough is resting:

Preheat the oven to 375F

Cut  out 12 or 24 rectangles of the banana leaf. You want them to be about the size of your hand.


Then you take enough dough to make a small ball in your hand. Flatten the ball into a little cake and place in the middle of a banana leaf. Fold two corners into the center and press into the middle of the cake. Repeat until you run out of dough.


Don’t worry if the banana leaves don’t stick perfectly.

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Put them on a cookie sheet in the oven for about 25 minutes – until the cakes just start to turn a little golden and the banana leaves start turning yellow.

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If you don’t have banana leaves: Roll a piece of dough the size of your hand and put it directly on top of a baking sheet and flatten them, add a litle bit of the cheese that you reserved. Cook at 375 for 20 min or until golden.


Pan de Arroz is best enjoyed with a nice cup of coffee or tea at breakfast or afternoon tea time!

Arroz Con Leche

Arroz Con Leche

Happy Easter! Felices Pascuas!

My favorite part of this holiday has always been the dessert. I grew up in a large family surrounded by  a lot of my cousins. On this holiday, all our moms would get together to cook 12 dishes including Arroz con Leche and Biscocho (sweet bread) and cook all morning to part of the afternoon. My cousin and I used eat the other dishes so fast just to get to dessert. They would give us a pieces of a good Biscocho and a cup of Arroz con Leche. We sat together in a circle looking at each other with big smiles to finally have the most delicious dish of the day. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Disfrutenlo!

Serves 8


1 ½ cup of rice

5 cups of water

½ cup of sugar

4 cups of milk

4 0z evaporated milk

½ tsp cloves

¼ stick cinnamon

Powdered cinammon

Get the ingredients ready.

Put the water in a large pot and add the cloves and cinnamon. Let it boil for 5 min and add the rice. Stir to make sure that it doesn’t stick in the bottom. It needs to be cooked in water first for about 10 min.

You will see that the rice has absorbed most of the water. Add the milk and sugar and let it cook for another 15 min.

Add the evaporated milk and let it boil for 5 min and it’s ready.

Serve in cups and sprinkle ground cinnamon on each of them. If you like. you can add ground coconut on top. This dish goes really well with a piece of biscocho. Enjoy it!

Chan’ka de Pollo

Chan’ka de Pollo



This is one of my favorites soups, my mom will make it when I was  feeling  a little bit sick, usually has Chuño and Fava beans instead of peas, but it works great with green peas. Enjoy ! Disfrutenlo!




Serves 4

4 Free range chicken legs
4 Large potato peeled
½ Cup fresh or frozen peas
1 Large Green onion  we will use the white and green part.
4 Cups of water or Chicken broth.

Cooking Instructions:

Get ready the ingredientes:

Put the 4 cups of water to boiled add the chicken salt some pepper and the white part of the green onion chopped. Let it cooked for about 15 min and add the peeled potatos and cook until they are soft.

Meanwhile Chopped the green part of the green onion:

Add the chopped green onions and the frozen peas to the soup and turn off the stove. Let it cool for about 10 min serve warm with one chicken leg one potato and some green onions and peas on the top. This delicious soups goes really well with a spicy Lllajua.


Falso Conejo “Fake Rabbit”

Falso Conejo (Is it really a Fake Rabbit?)

Why is this dish called Falso Conejo or Fake Rabbit? I do not have the answer but I can tell you that is very delicious! The dish really doesn’t look or taste like rabbit meat. You can use any type of ground meat but my favorite is ground meat from a local farmer that is low in fat or even bison meat which is very lean and healthy.

See the ingredients, recipe and photos here! Continue reading