Chilean cuisine can be described as a unique combination of Spanish cuisine with the local ingredients of Chile. Chilean food also bears the influence of other cuisines from Europe namely Germany, Italy, Croatia and France. Some Middle Eastern influence can also be observed in the said cuisine. Chilean food has gained world wide popularity on account of its flavor as well as its colorful presentation. The particularly long coastline of Chile has also influenced the Chilean cuisine to a great extent. The use of the locally available Chilean sea bass, loco and picoroco are prominent features of the Chilean cuisine.
A wide range of other crops and fruits are also used in the recipes of the region. Chile is the greatest producer of wine in the world which makes the accompaniment of wine with each and every Chilean dish mandatory.
Historical And Cultural Influences On Chilean Food
The Native American Indians prepared most of their dishes from corn before the Spanish conquestors landed on the shores of South America. The Spanish brought along their own cuisine in 1541 which included the use of olive, chestnuts, grapes, garlic and a variety of meats. The German influence on the Chilean cuisine came later on in 1848 and can be seen in the recipes of cakes and pastries of the region. The Italians flavored the ices with locally available Chilean fruits whereas the Arab immigrants added the use of herbs and spices to the Chilean cuisine. The British introduced the Chileans to tea and serving té con leche(tea with milk) to the guests remains a standard practice in modern day Chile.
Ingredients Commonly Used In Chilean Cuisine
• Olives- The use of olives and olive oil is popular in North Chile where the fruit grows in abundance.
• Chirimoya – This local fruit is a standard ingredient of many varieties of Chilean Food.
• Corn- Maize is known as choclo in the local dialect and used extensively as a staple by the Mapuche tribe of Chile.
• Lucuma- a fruit grown in the Andes region is used for making desserts and serves as a gelatin in Chilean cuisine.
• Major Crops- Potatoes and Quinoas are the major crops utilized in the local cuisine along with the rich harvest from the ocean which is used to prepare a wide range of seafood.
Cooking Methods Adopted by The Chileans
The fishes from the ocean are almost always grilled in Chilean cuisine. Use of fresh fruits and other ingredients are advisable to prepare Chilean food as well with most of them being cooked by using pressure pans and steamers.
Chilean Recipes Popular in Foreign Culture
Ensalada Chilena- A popular salad dish consisting of fresh vegetables sprinkled with lemon juice and cilantro leaves.
Pastel de Choclo- a pie prepared with corn and meat.
Tomaticán- A corn and tomato stew.
Festive And Special Chilean Food
Cola de Mono- A special Eggnog belonging to the Chilean cuisine.
Torta de Cumpleaños- The Chilean birthday cake.
Major Everyday Chilean Recipes
Lunch is considered to be the main meal in Chilean cuisine with at least two main dishes served everyday. The first course usually includes a salad with seafood with the next dish being cazuela de ave, a thick stew of chicken, potatoes, greens and rice.
Chilean Cuisine: Trivia
Marea Roja is an illness caused by eating raw shellfish found in Southern Chile.