Cooking in Chile

I am so so sorry for my prolonged absence from this blog. Life got away from me. First it was getting ready for Thanksgiving, and then visiting relatives and then getting ready for my trip to South America! Which is where I am now – specifically I’m in the city of Valparaiso in Chile. However, this means some extra fun posts will make up for my absence. Yesterday, for example, I was able to take a Chilean cooking class! There were too many dishes for us all to be involved in all of them – we made pembre (salsa), ceviche (which I didn’t have), pisco sours, avocados stuffed with hearts of palm salad, empanadas, Pastel de choclo, and chilean flan. Unfortunately, the chef hasn’t emailed me the recipes yet, and what we cooked was not overly precise, but I can give you a decent overview of pembre, which is basically salsa, and the stuffed avocado.

4 large tomatoes
2 small onions
2 cloves garlic
1 large but mild pepper (I think Anaheim is the best US equivalent)
Cilantro (1/4 cup finely chopped)
Olive oil
lemon juice

Mince – and I seriously mean mince – the onions, tomatoes, garlic, pepper and cilantro. You are also supposed to peel the tomatoes, but quite frankly that seems like too much work and quite unnecessary. Mix all of them together thoroughly. It should look like pico de gallo, but not chunky. Add 2-3 teaspoons salt, some lemon juice (I want to say 1/4 cup) and like 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix and serve. We had this on bread and as a condiment for the other dishes but I’m sure it would taste great on tortilla chips


Stuffed Avocado
1 cup pembre (before you add the oil and lemon juice)
1 avocado
2 pieces of heart of palm


Dice the heart of palm and mix it with the pembre. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Fill the cavity with the mixture and add a little to the plate and serve.


Like many cuisines, neither of these were difficult to make, so much as rather time-consuming. All of the dishes I had, particularly the pastel de choclo, were delicious, and the class, just called Chilean Cooking Class (thank you Lonely Planet) was extremely fun. Song of the Week: Ridin’ Solo/Dil Se Re by Dhamakapella. Apparently Penn Masala isn’t the only acapella group to mix bollywood and pop songs, and I’ve been loving this mashup as of late – something about it just speaks to my travelling around the world solo and feeling awesome about it.

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