While living abroad one of the most common questions we are asked by locals and people thinking of moving to Ecuador is “do you like the food?” and “what’s your favorite dish?”
Bryan, Drew and I really like the food here in Ecuador.
I especially like that it’s not “hot” (as in spicy hot) and that it is very flavorful. Fresh cilantro is used in many of the traditional dishes, it adds a delicious flavor that I was not used to back in Canada. Most of the food is served with a small portion of hot sauce (known as ají – pronounced: a-he), so if you want to spice it up you can.
Encebollado – A Family Favorite
One of our favorite dishes is encebollado. Encebollado is a fish soup made with tuna fish, yuca, cilantro and pickled onions.
Now, I don’t know about you, but if I was to hear what the soup was made of before trying it, I would not be all that excited about it. But when it all comes together and you add that squeeze of lime, it’s delicious! It’s served with crunchy plantain chips, toasted corn and/or popcorn. The flavors and textures make for an amazing dish.
Falling In Love With Encebollado
A friend of ours makes encebollado for a living and he invited us over one day to try it. I didn’t know what encebollado was so I didn’t have any expectations other than thinking that I would probably like it. I’m not that fussy about food and I like trying new things. Well, when I tried it, I loved it! I mean I really loved it. I had never tasted anything quite like it before. And now I’m hooked.
In Ecuador, encebollado is eaten at any time of the day, breakfast, lunch or supper. It has a unique flavor and it seems I’m always in the mood for it.
English Encebollado Recipe
I found a recipe in English while writing this post and I can’t wait to try making it myself. You can use potatoes in place of the yuca and you can use caned tuna if you can’t get it fresh. Please go to Laylita’s Recipes blog to find the instructions for making encebollado.
Here are the ingredients:
- 2 lbs fresh tuna
- 1 lb yuca, fresh or frozen
- 2 tbs sunflower oil
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- ½ red onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 8 cups of water
- 5 cilantro sprigs
- Salt to taste
If encebollado is on the menu, I usually order it. I choose encenbollado at Los Cebiches de la Rumiñahui over pizza (Pizza Hut) or burgers (Burger King) in the Mall del Rio food-court in Cuenca (that’s where the pictures in this post were taken.) They only serve it on the weekend, so keep that in mind if you are on the hunt for some encebollado at Mall del Rio. Many other traditional restaurants serve it all week long.
It’s good to remember that encebollado is also served as an onion salad. So when ordering it at a restaurant you might want to ask about it if the menu does not indicate whether it is a soup or salad.
Important note: Don’t forget the squeeze of lime, it makes it soooo much better! (It just might have you saying “Qué rico!” which means “how rich,” or “how delicious.”)
Have you tried encebollado? What did you think of it? Please share your thoughts by commenting on this post.