Colombian cuisine is always a fun challenge to every home cooker, and today, I will show you my hand-picked Colombian recipes that can shock your palates!
With these ideas, you can even cook a full-course Colombian party all by yourself. I even include several snack recipes so that you can make some to enjoy in your free time.
Why are you still hesitating? Scroll down to see what those dishes are!
27 Recommended Colombian Recipes For Every Non Professional Chefs
As Colombian recipes are pretty strange to various people, you may not know how to combine them together. However, I also mention what dishes should go together in this article so that you can enjoy them to the fullest.
- Papas Rellenas
- Colombian Chicharron
- Arroz Con Coco
- Papas Chorreadas
- Frijoles Colombianos
- Bandeja Paisa
- Cazuela de Mariscos
- Arroz Con Pollo
- Chicken Sancocho
- Colombian Empanadas
- Colombian Arepas
- Pan de Bono
- Arroz con Tres Leches Pudding
- Papa Criollas
- Chocolate con Queso
- Colombian Coffee
Keep on reading for more details in each recipe!
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7 Colombian Appetizers And Side Dishes That Make You Crave For More
Despite not being in the spotlight, appetizers and side dishes still play a crucial role in every meal. Without them, there’s nothing to elevate the main course. So, let’s find out what Colombian use for these dishes!
Patacones, also known as tostones, are a common appetizer or side dish in Colombian meals. They’re also a popular dish that can be found in Venezuela. People would choose green plantains and slice them into small portions. All slices are then fried until brown.
Patacones are commonly found with aji, guacamole, avocado slices, or hogao (a tomato and onion sauce) as toppings.
Let’s see how they made perfect patacones in this video:
Just like Japan has a crispy potato and meat croquette called “korokke”, Colombian people make one on their own named “papas rellenas”. However, these croquettes in Colombia are often eaten as a snack or breakfast.
Whether they are hot or cold, papas rellenas go perfectly with aji sauce. Some local stores have their own variations. For example, a vegetarian version doesn’t include meat. Or special ones even have rice and cooked egg in their filling.
Chicharron means “fried pork belly”, a pretty common dish. However, what’s interesting about Colombian chicharron is they use the pork fat to fry it instead of oil. That helps get rid of the oil-drenching feel.
Chicharron is often found as a component of the Bandeja Paisa. However, Colombian people eat it at any time of the day. They use it with hot chocolate for breakfast or as a side dish for lunch and dinner.
How can Colombians fry pork belly without using oil? The answer’s right here:
Sometimes, you’ll find various places serving seafood with a pot of coconut rice. People believe the creamy, sweet coconut rice will complement seafood’s flavor. And Colombia is no exception with its version called arroz con coco.
However, unlike other countries, the Colombians don’t cook rice right in the coconut milk. They prepare the rice separately and during that time, reduce the coconut milk to a flavorful coconut oil. And they mix that oil to the rice to create arroz con coco.
Papas chorreadas is a specialty in Colombian cuisine. It consists of boiled red potatoes and cheese sauce. It originally is just boiled potatoes in saltwater. Then as time passes, people start adding more to the sauce.
The basic process for this sauce is a base of tomatoes and sauteed onions. Then, add cream and grated cheese curds. Don’t melt them completely. Leave some soft chunks of cheese for the best experience.
Another fantastic side dish is frijoles Colombianos. Just as the name’s meaning (Colombian red beans), this dish consists of red beans and other ingredients like tomatoes, green onions, and bacon.
Although frijoles Colombianos can be considered a main dish, people often serve it like a complement for Bandeja Paisa.
This video shows a visual description on how to make this dish:
Enyucado is a savory cake originating from the Atlantic coast of Colombia. It has various variations but all share the same basic ingredients: yuca, sugar, grated coconut, butter, and anise seeds.
From there, each region makes their own version: Some use coconut milk while others add shredded cheese. No matter how they bake, the result is always a crispy, flavorful pie. Though, enyucado can be eaten as a midday snack, it’s a common choice to accompany meat dishes.
7 Mouthwatering Main Courses From Colombia
Of course, there’s no way I can talk about one cuisine without its main dishes. Colombian main dishes include both meat and fish, stew and fried, making it suitable for any visitor.
Bandeja Paisa is considered the national dish and also one of the most well-known foods of Columbia. And you’ll understand why the second you see it. As bandeja means “platter” in English, this is like a showcase of what Columbian cuisine is about.
On just one plate, you can see various foods, such as beans, white rice, avocado, fried eggs, sausage, chicharron (pork belly), carne en polvo (powdered beef), and many more. That’s why Bandeja Paisa is usually shared among friends or family.
With two oceans next to its side, Colombia has a substantial source for fresh seafood. And that reflects in the Cazuela de Mariscos, a Colombian seafood stew. It’s cooked with numerous white fishes, shrimps, and mussels in coconut milk.
Some recipes even add white wine to balance the flavors. You can use any seafood in this dish. My recommendation for white fish is the halibut as its flavor isn’t overwhelming and it can stay intact even after cooking.
If you are in need of a main dish that can satisfy many people, arroz con pollo is an appropriate answer. Actually, this dish is not exclusive only to Colombia. It’s a popular dish in Honduran cuisine and many other Latin American countries, each with its different variations as well.
In this version, the broth is commonly favored with beer. However, despite all the differences, most of the recipes use saffron for the rice’s yellow color and a combination of sauteed vegetables with seasonings.
Click right in to see how delicious this dish is!:
When it gets rainy and chilling, all I want is a hearty soup. And this chicken sancocho is right on point. By having chicken, sancocho soup doesn’t become too heavy but can still warm you up immediately.
Of course, you can swap chicken with other meats like beef or pork for a more satisfying feeling. Colombian people often use this soup during el almuero (afternoon meal) with rice and avocado.
You can’t find any Colombian person not knowing about ajiaco. Basically, it is a stew containing chicken and three kinds of potato. As time passes, people start adding more ingredients to this dish, such as corn and guacas.
For the toppings, sour cream, avocados, capers are common choices. Nothing feels better than enjoying a bowl of ajiaco on a cold winter night.
Tamales are a plain-looking dish. They contain just meat and vegetables in cornmeal dough, which is probably enough to inform you if tamales can be considered gluten-free. But what makes them special is the banana leaves or corn husks wrapping outside.
And while tamales are indeed a simple dish, they go well with several others. In fact, there are so many things you can pair with tamales that you might encounter slight difficulties deciding what to settle on.
Before, workers used to carry tamales as their lunch for its convenience. Today, tamales are often found in celebrations, such as Christmas. You can even make a European version of this dish by adding raisins, olives, nuts, and other European ingredients.
When in Bogota, Colombia’s capital, if you are looking for breakfast, Changua is a must-try. Changua is a pretty simple soup that you can make at home. Just prepare milk, water, eggs, and some herbs, then you are good to go.
Although Changua is usually served as breakfast with a slice of bread, you can use it to cure hangovers as well.
Check it and make one for your next breakfast!
Do You Know About These 8 Colombian-Exclusive Pastries And Snacks?
There’s a saying that, if you want to know about a cuisine’s culture, you need to try its street food. That obviously applies to Colombia, too. Colombian snacks appear in both savory and sweet style. Here are some of my recommendations.
Empanadas are a common snack in Latin countries, and of course, Colombia has its own version. It’s so famous that you can find this dish in multiple Colombian restaurants in America.
Typical empanadas are filled with stewed beef, potatoes, and Latin spices. Then chefs will fry them to get a crunchy outside exterior. Traditionally, you should eat empanadas with lime and aji sauce.
Empanadas are also popular in other Latin American countries as well. So if you ever ask people to name a famous dish from Venezuela, Mexico, or Ecuador, chances are they will give “empanadas” as their answer.
When it comes to Colombian street food, you have to try arepas. Though arepas appear in various South American countries, Colombian one is a bit different as people often eat it as breakfast.
Also, even made from corn like other arepas, it is thinner and sweeter as Colombian people don’t use salt and oil in their recipe. The common choice for arepas filling in Colombia is cheese but you can choose anything you like: beans, scrambled eggs, maple syrup, etc.
No cuisine can live without sweet dishes, no matter if they are desserts or snacks. And Pan de Bono is one of the Colombian favorite sweet treats. Basically, they are large cheese balls with cassava starch, also named tapioca starch.
Besides these two ingredients, traditional Pan de Bono only contains sugar and egg. Today, several stores sell Pan de Bono with fruit filling. To enjoy this sweet fully, you just need a cup of hot chocolate or coffee to accompany.
You’ll get a batch of delicious Pan de Bono after following this video:
While Patacones use green plantains, those ripe ones get to become aborrajados. In aborrajados, ripe plantains are stuffed with cheese, coated in batter and deep-fried. The result is a both sweet and savory dish that could be seen as either appetizer or dessert.
However, as a sweet, aborrajados usually have some guava paste added in between for more sweetness.
Nothing can compare a leisure walk with a sweet treat. And in Bogota, Colombia, you will get to experience it with obelas. They contain two round, thin wafers made of plain wheat flour and a filling.
Normally. obelas are filled with arequipa, a sweet Colombian caramel sauce. However, you can make your own mixture with various options: chocolate, nuts, shredded coconuts, cheese, blackberry jam, etc. Some street carts even add fruits into the filling.
Colombian people take the classic rice pudding and mix it with the three milks. It results in a creative dish named Arroz con Tres Leches pudding. The creamy flavor of condensed milk, whole milk, and evaporated milk really elevates the dish.
Rice pudding is particularly popular in Puerto Rico, a Colombian municipality. I’d suggest that anyone who wants to try Puerto Rican sweet treats check the rice pudding first. It’s a staple dish there, and is so beloved that it has long become a traditional dish for the holiday seasons.
You can top it with whipped cream, candy sprinkles, and cherries for a playful dessert. Vanilla and cinnamon are other decent options too.
Papa criolla, a potato kind, is considered the king of all potatoes for its creamy texture. And according to Colombian people, the best way to enjoy them is by frying whole, even with skin.
Make sure you fry until all the potatoes’ skin are bursting open. And this dish doesn’t need any dressing to cover its flavor, regardless of a sprinkle of salt. You can grab a bag of papa criollas at numerous street vendors in Colombia.
If you want some dishes screaming “sweet”, then merengon should be your first choice. A classic dessert originating from Colombia, merengon is made from baking meringue. It’s then filled and topped with whipped cream and fruits. This dessert is about irresistible sweetness.
Another special thing about merengon in Colombia is that it usually includes tropical fruits, such as soursop, strawberries, bananas, and kiwis.
Top 5 Most Well-Known Drinks In Colombia
You can’t just eat continuously without drinking anything. In this part, I will present 5 common Colombian beverages that you can find anywhere.
You may not believe it but this drink combines hot chocolate with cheese. And yes, it tastes wonderful! In the Andes region, you can find many people drinking this with buttered bread or a yeasty corn roll at breakfast or on a tea break.
The barista will drop cheese cubes into your chocolate drink when it’s still hot. Then, the cheese will melt and blend with the sweet beverage. Once you drink it all, you may find some chocolate-infused, melted cheese at the bottom. Think of it as a present from Colombia cuisine.
Let’s see how you enjoy this like a Colombian in this video:
“Agua” means “water”, and “panela” means “sugar cane”. Combine them together, and you have the most simple and traditional drink in Colombia. Hot or cold, Aguapanela mixed with lime juice makes a perfect beverage for sick people because of its high sugar ratio.
Besides that, in various cafe shops, baristas will add milk and cheese to this drink. Sometimes, aguapanela is also used as a base for coffee and hot chocolate.
Coffee appears everywhere, how is it different in Colombia? I may say, the gap is huge! It’s because Colombian weather and soil are so suitable for producing coffee beans that there are more than half a million coffee farms there.
Colombian coffee tends to taste sweet and light with the help of aguapanela as its base. However, be careful with the mass-produced tinto as it’s usually brewed from frozen dried coffee beans, which are the lowest in quality.
While avena sounds unfamiliar, you may know it better with the name “oatmeal shake”. Yes, this drink is made of oats simmered in milk and water. And then, it’s flavored with cinnamon, cloves, and sugar.
Avena needs to be chilled in the fridge for at least three hours before serving. Colombian usually enjoy this drink with cinnamon sprinkled on top at breakfast.
When you need a drink to accompany a barbecue party, refajo is an excellent option. It is a cocktail mixed between beer and Colombiana (a soda made with tamarindo). Some other recipes use aguardiente (a strong Colombian alcohol) or rum.
Orange or lime wedges are two common garnishes for this cocktail. Many people fall in love with refajo for its bittersweet and fresh flavor.
Do You Have A Colombian Ideal Meal In Your Head?
Now you don’t have to be worried about what to order when going to a Colombian restaurant. While some of these dishes above can be easily found in American, there are various foods you should go to Colombia for an authentic taste.
If you want to share more about your Colombian experiences, especially in the cuisine field, feel free to write them down in the comment section. And don’t forget to share this article with your mates so that you guys can plan a Colombian trip together!
Table of Contents
- 27 Recommended Colombian Recipes For Every Non Professional Chefs
- 7 Colombian Appetizers And Side Dishes That Make You Crave For More
- 7 Mouthwatering Main Courses From Colombia
- Do You Know About These 8 Colombian-Exclusive Pastries And Snacks?
- Top 5 Most Well-Known Drinks In Colombia
- Do You Have A Colombian Ideal Meal In Your Head?
- 25+ Unique Colombian Recipes