Chilean food takes a lot of influences from Spanish cuisine and Indigenous Mapuche ingredients to create a cuisine that has a select number of real dyed in the wool, old, and traditional dishes. These dishes have endured, becoming staples of the Chilean diet. Here are 7 Chilean cuisine dishes that you’ll love.
Pastel De Choclo
This is essentially a chicken and corn casserole (there’s usually beef as well), though some people refer to it as a pie as it can come off that way. The corn is pureed, making for a creamy paste which is infused with basil. It covers the contents within, the base, consisting of pino – a seasoned mixture of ground beef, onions, hard-boiled eggs, black olives, and raisins.
It’s then baked in the oven. The entire pastel can be placed in a tray and served later, but it often spread across several earthenware bowls, which it’s eaten after. The result is this lovely looking golden brown top of corn, with that slight aroma and taste of basil. Dig your fork/spoon inside and the delights continue. The pino inside is moist and flavoursome. The slight sweetness and creaminess of the corn compliments the savoury meats inside.
Otherwise known as Galacian Chicken, the aforementioned meat and peas are the main ingredients of this Chilean cuisine dish. The dish was inherited from Galicia, an autonomous community in Spain. It can verge on being soup-like, depending on how much broth is left in by the person making it, but it’s traditionally a stew. It’s a comfort dish that works all year-round, though it goes down especially well in winter.
Accompanying the chicken and peas is rice or potatoes. Add onion and carrot if you like (and seasoning), and the dish is done. It’s terribly simple, but it goes a long way. It makes for a hearty meal.
Probably the most famous dish to come out of Chilean cuisine, though versions of them exist in other parts of Latin America, most notably in the neighbouring country of Argentina. They are like pies or pastries that have a variety of fillings. The most common is the pino mentioned earlier. They can also be filled with cheese or abalone. The basic formula is a soft pocket of dough (though the type varies depending on the contents) with a savoury filling.
These hand-held pies can either be baked or fried. Pino empanadas tend to be baked and cheese ones tend to be fried.
I would be remiss to not have a seafood dish on here, as it plays such a big part in Chilean cuisine and their overall diet. Ceviche works as an entree, salad, or as a main course. It’s Peru’s national dish, but it’s eaten and highly regarded in just about all of Latin America. It is made from chunks of raw fish that is cooked by being marinated in citrus juice (usually lemon). Onion, chilli, avocados and/or tomatoes are then added. It’s a good dish that serves many.
Pebre is a Chilean salsa mainly consisting of green capsicum (or red), green chillies, tomatoes, coriander, a lot of chopped onion, and olive oil. It’s both refreshing and zesty. It can be enjoyed with bread, potatoes, empanadas, marinated onto pork, put into a soup, or enjoyed by itself. It pops up all over the Chilean cuisine. It’s easy to make and versatile in its applications.
A completo(as in complete) is the Chilean cuisine version of a hot dog. But hot dogs look practically naked in comparison. In addition to the sausage, it comes with mayonnaise, sliced tomatoes, avocado, sauerkraut, chilli, green sauce and cheese. You can switch out the mayonnaise with ketchup or mustard if you so choose. They’re a treat and easily cross the threshold from snack to meal.
Mote Con Huesillo
The name roughly translates to peaches with wheat. It’s a drink made from husked wheat (mote) and dried peaches (huesillo). The dried peaches are rehydrated and from them comes the juice that the wheat is then added to. It’s quite filling so it can be treated as a meal. It’s served chilled as it’s a traditional summertime drink in Chile. It can be found being sold on the streets as well as being homemade.