I believe that a person’s cooking style has everything to do with their heritage.
Personally, my love for a home-cooked meal and flavor-filled dishes comes from having been born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. You see, fast foods don’t really tempt me, but if you were to offer me one of my grandmother’s homemade arepas… I might just break my diet.
As true Colombians, my family has never really cared too much about calories when it comes to cooking. Most of our food is fried in one way or another, and it’s filled with sauces and delicious toppings. As a fitness and health fanatic, do you see dilemma?
Point is, when I started to care about what I ate, I had to learn how to cook the dishes that I loved in a healthier manner. I believe it’s important for each one of us whenever we decide to make the transition to a healthier life style that to not deprive ourselves of the foods we love, which is why I’ve decided to teach you how to make my version of a Bandeja Paisa!
A Bandeja Paisa is an authentic dish from Colombia. Even though it’s made out of the most basic things you can find in the market, it tastes like heaven.
What you’ll need:
- kidney beans
- lean-ground beef
- brown rice
- sweet plantains
- tomato sauce (home-made or bought)
- olive oil
The first thing you’ll need to do is place the beans in a pot of cold water to soak for at least eight hours prior to cooking. When you’re ready to cook them, put the beans in a pan on the stove and bring them to boil for roughly ten minutes. Afterwards, simmer until cooked (approximately 45-60 minutes). Usually, while my beans simmer, I’ll add some homemade tomato sauce, bacon seasoning and a touch of pink salt and red pepper. Make sure your beans are creamy and have a nice texture throughout before taking them off the stove.
While your beans simmer, focus on making your brown rice.
If you don’t already know how to make rice, let’s go over it really quickly. You’ll need a saucepan with a lid, some water and the rice of your choosing. For most rice, use a 1:2 ratio – one cup of rice to two cups of water. Add the water to your saucepan and bring it to boil. Once it’s boiling, add the rice with some salt, onion, garlic and cilantro. Cover the saucepan and turn the heat down low so that the rice may expand and cook throughout. Your rice should be done once it’s firm but tender.
Meanwhile, place your ground lean-beef on a pan with some white cooking wine. You’re going to put the heat on four (a little less than medium) and wait for it to cook. For seasoning, add salt, pepper, onion and garlic. Once it’s done, stir your meat and squirt two or three lemons throughout.
Once the features of your main dish are complete, start working on the side food.
In Latin America, we love our sweet plantains. You could say that sweet plantains to us are just like fries for you. Make sure that whenever you sweet plantains, you pick out the ones that have the most freckled and dark skin because that indicates that they’re ready to eat. You’re going to slice the plantains as thin as you can and fry them on a pan with olive oil. As soon as you see they have a crunchy texture, take them out and place them on a plate with some salt on top.
Now… all that’s left for you to do is to make some fried eggs to place on top of the meat and slice your avocado as an appetizer.
Let me be very clear about something… this dish is usually prepared with sausage, arepas, potatoes and a number of other delicious carbs I so happen to leave out. This is my version of a Bandeja Paisa, so please don’t think that what I just described is all there’s to it.
If you would like to know how to make arepas, empanadas and other Colombian foods, please let me know. I would love to teach you how to make them in a healthy manner.
I hope you enjoy!