|Pollo Sudado, one of the 6 components of a typical big Colombian lunch|
Most Colombian dishes are home grown version of Spanish legacy (not surprising right?) x some mountain practices x Caribbean influence. Meat is usually grilled, fried, or stewed (mountain style) with simple seasoning. Nothing in particular imaginative..
Take Sweaty Chicken as an example. It is a an easy chicken dish that is a solid stable in the Colombian menu. It’s made from tomatoes, onion, potatoes and of course, chicken. It’s always eaten with rice. It is eaten every week in every family, and is cooked by all the mothers, aunts and grandmas alike. The origin of the name is obscured. It may be explained by the way the chicken is cooked – you literally leave the chicken in an aromatic sauna environment for an hour to sweat all the components..
It’s delicious because it’s simple and uncontroversial. It’d be hard to find someone who doesn’t like it (perhaps with vegetarians being the exceptions). This is what Colombian cuisine is about. It’s basic. It’s unpretentious. It will never top the Michelin or fine dining chart but it’s soul-warming and reliable because of the fresh ingredients, a little like the people here. Even though it’s easy to make, as simple as tomato and onion sauce, the same flavours and satisfaction cannot be recreated anywhere else because the flavours really come out of the ingredients, and the ingredients really bring to you the flavours of the land and the country. You don’t just taste the tomatoes and onions but the heart of the country, the men who harvested the food, the sweat that goes in, and the people who cook them.