Cartagena de Indias is one of those destinations desired by visitors, not just because of its great historical and natural attractions, but also because of the ways and culture of its inhabitants, full of stories and traditions that convey the best Colombians have to offer the world. In this particular case, its gastronomy is introduced as the main star, presenting different delicacies made from the freshest local ingredients, and with the endless creativity and talent from the different kitchens of the city.
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In the cozy corners of La Heroica you can find several food-stands, ones better settled than others, in which the fried foods are the delight for locals and tourists from Colombia and the whole world. These products are a part of the daily menu in the Colombian Caribbean region, and its elaboration is an art.
On this occasion, with the help of Mrs. Marta Inés Delgado, a local cook with more than 27 years of experience delighting the neighbors of “Parque Román” in “Manga”, we will show you some of the preparations for the most delicious fried foods you can enjoy at breakfast, lunch or dinner.
For all of those who want to prepare these delicacies from Cartagena in their homes, in here we share a few secrets of Mrs. Marta to elaborate, in a practical manner and with the most tasteful ingredients and textures, some of the local “classics” that cannot be missed in any table of “La Heroica”.
The “Fried Festival” of Cartagena is already here (Video)
“Arepa de Huevo” (Recipe from Cartagena)
First you cook the corn properly until it is well dried, but careful, you do not want it to be very hard. Then we grind it to prepare the dough (we will work with approximately 1 kilo of dough, from which we will obtain from 30 to 40 “arepas”). While we knead, we add 2 handfuls of salt and scatter them evenly with our hands.
While we allow the dough to rest and settle, we prepare 1 kg of pulp meat (this recipe is exclusive from Cartagena). We pass it through hot water for about 5 minutes to remove the excess of fatness. Then we take it out of the water and put it in a pan where we stir it for about 15 minutes with a little oil and a mix of chopped purple and white onion, red pepper, creole chili pepper, salt, and garlic.
When we have our eggs and our meat ready, we can start to give shape to the “arepas”. First, we make a ball with the dough that we will flatten with the help of something firm, and we give it the thickness we want. We must use a good amount of hot oil in a wide pan so the “arepas” can float. As soon as they begin to inflate, we take them out and lower the oil temperature to medium term; this so that when adding them again in the oil with the egg, this last one gets properly cooked and the “arepa” does not get burn.
“Carimañolas” (meat and cheese)
First we cooked the yucca really well with a little bit of salt. Then we grind it to start preparing our dough. Remember that this should not be either too watery or too hard. When the dough is ready and rested, we begin to make the shape of an “arepa” to pour on top the meat or the cheese. Then we fold the little “arepa” and we give it an elongated shape, making sure that everything is well sealed with dough. The oil, in a good amount, should be at medium temperature so they won’t burn.
The meat is prepared in the same way as we did with the “arepa de huevo” stuffing. For its part, the cheese that we should use is a local one, with a dry texture to prevent excess of water from causing them to break.
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There are many incredible preparations that we can enjoy in Cartagena, especially in these kitchens where, during the holidays and festivals, the work is doubled and we all want to delight with the traditional recipes that make this city taste much more delicious. Take advantage of the recommendations and secrets of our beloved cook, so you can prepare some of the most popular and desired delicacies of “La Heroica”.