Ajiaco, Colombia’s Favorite Traditional Soup

Have you ever tried Ajiaco? As far as we know, this latin dish has been around since the 16th century. We’re just not sure where it exactly originated. Ajiaco is a popular dish throughout Latin America, most notably in the countries of Colombia, Peru and Cuba. However, while they share the same name, the dish and it’s ingredients vary from country to country. For instance, in Peru, it is made with potatoes cooked with garlic, a mix of aji mirasol or aji panca,  huacatay. It’s generally served with rice and stewed chicken or rabbit. In Cuba, ajiaco is prepared as a stew made from beef, pork or chicken. It also contains a variety of vegetables such as carrots, onions, scallions, rice and potatoes.

However, it is most popular in Colombia. Particularly in it’s capital of Bogota. Colombian ajiaco is a traditional hearty dish. Excellent served as a lunch or dinner. It’s main ingredients are chicken, corn on the cob, three types of potatoes and guascas. Guascas are an extremely popular dehydrated herb in Colombia. The three types of potatoes used are Idahos or any similar potato, small red potatoes, and papas criollas. Papas criollas are small Colombian potatoes that are sometimes available in Latin American markets. They have yellow flesh and stay hole through prolonged cooking. Some people also like to add white rice and avocado to their dish. Ajiaco is a classic Colombian comfort food. It will take a few hours to prepare, cook, and serve but it is certainly worth your time. Especially, if sharing with family and friends.

Origins of Ajiaco

As mentioned earlier, it is still debated as far to its origin. Some believe that the dish originated with the indigenous tribe of Taino. They are known inhabitants of parts of the Caribbean, including Cuba. We do know ajiaco was served in Cuba in the 16th century. This recording is longer than the dish’s recorded origin in both Peru and Colombia. The phrase “aji” is said to have originated from the Taino tribe’s language. “Aji” means “hot pepper” in Spanish. Regardless, of it’s origin, those who have eaten ajiaco unanimously agree to how incredibly delicious it is. And for sure one of Colombia’s best foods.

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