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By Jessie Moosbrugger

Colombia, South America

The official name for Colombia is the Republic of Colombia, and the capital of this country is Bogota (1). There are 32 states/provinces in Colombia and the main language that is spoken is Spanish (1). Colombia is a very tropical region. Their main agricultural products consist of coffee, corn, rice, potatoes, fruits, and sugarcane (1).
Colombian food is very diverse and the food varies depending on the region in Colombia. Many Colombian meals consist of meat, so it is uncommon to see vegetarians in this region. Breakfast and lunch are important meals during the day and dinner is considered more of a snack later in the day (2). A very common sauce used in many Colombian recipes is Hogao, which is one that will be used today to make the Lapingachos.

Lapingachos are a traditional Colombian dish from the Nario department of Colombia (3). They are very similar to potato cakes but with a few unique ingredients. These Colombian potato cakes contain a well-known sauce called Hogao (4). This is used in many Colombian recipes including meats, arepas, and rice (2). Another unique ingredient is the green sauce that tops the finished Lapingachos. This sauce is called Aj de Man and it is a spicy sauce native to the Popayan zone of Colombia (5). It is considered a peanut hot sauce because it contains roasted peanuts and a jabanero pepper, along with many other ingredients.

Ingredients: (About one dozen of Lapingachos) 6 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks 1 cup of hogao 1 teaspoon of ground achiote, saffron or color 1 teaspoon ground cumin 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten Salt and pepper to taste Directions: 1. Cook the potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain and mash them. 2. Add the hogao, achiote, cumin, egg yolks, salt and pepper. Mix well. 3. Cover the potato mixture and let it sit at room temperature for about one hour. 4. Make small thick patties and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place them in the fridge for 30 minutes. 5. Heat a nonstick fry pan or griddle over medium-high heat and brush lightly with oil. 6. Cook the patties for 2 minutes, carefully flip them and cook on the other side until golden, about 1 minute more.

Ingredients: 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 cup chopped scallions 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes 1 clove garlic, minced 1 teaspoon ground cumin teaspoon salt teaspoon ground pepper Directions: 1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the tomatoes, scallions, garlic, ground cumin and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring until softened. 2. Reduce the heat to low, add the salt and, cook for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened. Check and adjust the seasoning.

Aj de Man
Ingredients 2 scallions, finely chopped 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 3/4 cup roasted peanuts 1/4 cup fresh cilantro 1 large garlic clove 1/4 teaspoon sazon goya with azafran, achiote or color 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin Salt and pepper 1 teaspoon jabanero pepper 2 cups of water


Directions 1. Heat the oil in a sauce pan, add the scallions and cilantro. Cook for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a blender and add the rest of the ingredients. 2. Blend until smooth. Transfer the sauce to the sauce pan and cook over medium-low for 12 to 15 minutes. Let it cool and serve.



Shopping for the Ingredients

All of the ingredients in the cart.

I shopped in the ethnic food aisle to find the Achiote, Cumin, and Sazon Goya.

Unique Ingredients


Sazon Goya

Achiote is a spice, commonly found in the tropical areas of the Americas. It comes from the seed of the Bixa orellana shrub and once the seed is dried out, it can be ground into a powder. Achiote powder is used as a spice, food colorant, commercial dye, and for medicinal purposes (6). Finding this spice at the grocery store was a little more difficult than I had thought it would be. I searched the ethnic aisle for a while and asked a couple workers where it might be. I discovered that it is also commonly called Annatto. It took a while, but I finally came across the product in a small clear bag. Sazon is a type of seasoned salt typically found in Spanish and Mexican food stores. The ingredients typically consist of coriander, achiote, garlic and salt. Sazon is commonly used to add flavor to meats, fish, poultry, soups and stews (7). While searching for this ingredient, I found that the brand Goya was a very popular brand for many ethnic ingredients. It was not too hard to find once I discovered the section of Goya foods. A jabanero pepper is said to have originated in South America. It can range from orange, red, and yellow color and is rated 100,000350,000 on the Scoville scale (8). Although this ingredient is not unheard of to me, it was something that I had never purchased before. I do not like hot, spicy foods so Ive never bought a hot pepper before. It was also my first time handling one. Im glad my dad was around to tell me to put gloves on before cutting the pepper. I didnt realize it was that hot!

Jabanero Pepper


Preparation (Cont.)

Mincing the garlic.

I combined the ingredients for the Hogao sauce in a saucepan and cooked it for about 20 min.

I began cutting up the potatoes while the Hogao sauce was cooking.

Cooking (Cont.)
Testing the Hogao sauce. It was delicious!

I added the potato chunks to the boiling water and checked to see if they were done by stabbing a fork into one. When it fell off easily, I knew they were done.

Cooking (Cont.)

I added the Hogao sauce (along with the other ingredients) to the mashed potatoes. This is the final mixture for the Lapingachos.

Cooking (Cont.)

The Lapingachos had to sit at room temperature for one hour. During this time, I made the Aj de Man sauce. Measuring out the Sazon Goya. This ingredient, along with Achiote, was very new to me.

Chopping the cilantro for the Aj de Man sauce.

First time handling a jabanero pepper!

Cooking (Cont.)

I added all the ingredients for the Aj de Man sauce into the blender and blended until it was smooth.

Cooking (Cont.)

I poured the mixture into the saucepan and cooked it for about 15 minutes. Once this was done I set it aside and let it cool.

Once the Lapingacho mixture had set for an hour at room temperature, I formed them into 10 patties and set them into the refrigerator for another half of an hour (see video). (9) Ohqs&

Cooking (Cont.)

The patties were formed, cooled, and ready to be cooked!

I cooked each patty for a few minutes on each side until they were golden brown.

All Done!

The final product! I tried to make it look like the recipes picture, I think it turned out great!


It was finally time to taste the Lapingachos! I had a feeling they would taste good because they smelled delightful. I thought it tasted a lot like hash browns, which makes sense because the main ingredient is potatoes. It was very tasty! The Aj de Man sauce was different. I was not sure what to expect with a combination of peanuts, cilantro, and jabanero pepper. Surprisingly, it was pretty good and it complimented the Lapingachos very well. I could taste a slight spice from the pepper, but it was not too hot to where I couldnt enjoy it. I probably would not make the sauce again, but I will definitely make the Lapingachos another time! Maybe for a delicious breakfast one morning.

My Reflection
Overall, this was a great experience for me. Although it took a few hours to make and involved a lot of preparation and waiting, it was well worth it in the end. The website that I got my recipe from was a blog from a women who is from Colombia. She had a lot of great recipes on her blog but this one stood out to me the most. Ill have to go back to her blog one day and make some of the other recipes she posted.

Im so happy the Lapingachos turned out great! My family and boyfriend also tried them and they loved it. We ate them for breakfast for the next couple of days as well. Ive had regular potato cakes and there is a slight difference with these Colombian-style ones. I found them to be very soft on the inside with a nice crunch outer layer, and the cumin added a different tasty flavor.
I learned a lot about the country of Colombia as well as how to cook one of their traditional meals. It was a fun experience and I would love to make these, or another Colombian recipe, again one day!

1. "Colombia Facts about Colombia General Information." Colombia Facts about Colombia General Information., n.d. Web. 18 July 2013. 2. "Typical Colombian Food." Colombia Food, Typical Colombian Meals and Desserts. Woodward Ltda., 17 June 2013. Web. 18 July 2013. 3. Dinho, Erica. "Lapingachos (Colombian-Style Potato Cakes)." My Colombian Recipes RSS. My Colombian Recipes, 4 Sept. 2012. Web. 18 July 2013. 4. Dinho, Erica. "COLOMBIAN TOMATO AND ONION SAUCE (HOGAO)." My Colombian Recipes RSS. My Colombian Recipes, 21 Apr. 2009. Web. 18 July 2013. 5. Dinho, Erica. "Aj De Man (Peanut Hot Sauce)." My Colombian Recipes RSS. My Colombian Recipes, 3 May 2010. Web. 18 July 2013. 6. Rodriguez, Hector. "What Is Achiote or Annatto?" Latin Caribbean Food., 2013. Web. 18 July 2013. 7. "Kitchen Dictionary: Sazon." Sazon. Scripps Networks, 2013. Web. 18 July 2013. 8. "Habanero History." HABANERO PRODUCE. Habanero Produce, 2013. Web. 18 July 2013.

9. "IMG 3991." YouTube. YouTube, 20 July 2013. Web. 21 July 2013.