Category Archives: Latin American

Chil-lic Paste

This is a very basic chili-garlic paste that you may use for cooking or as a side on the table to spice up a meal as you like. You can keep it refrigerated for a month. I use it as a topping for pizza most of the time. My favourite combination would be pizza with goat cheese, chilic paste and caramelized onions. A combination I discovered in Haiti.

So let’s make some chil-lic.

Shopping List:

The procedure is as basic as the materials. This time I will leave the pictures to guide you. Enjoy!

  • 8 chilies (red and green)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Extra virgin olive oil

And now what?

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Check-Point Chili

The story with the strange-funny names started when I was thinking about writing a cook manual for people working with humanitarian organizations. Being a humanitarian myself as a few of of my friends the decision was taken to match recipe names with our daily life experiences. First recipe was the check point chili and the credits go to George for coming up with the name! Of course the cookbook never happened but some of the names remained at least amongst my friendlings.

I shall only give a piece of advice before you start cooking this recipe. You better have enough time cause it will take you approximately 3 1/2 hours…


Shopping List

700g beef fillet
5 dried red chilies, deseeded
2 cups beef stock
800gr fresh tomatoes grated (or 3 tbsp tomato paste)
2 large onions finely chopped
3 garlic cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
I tbsp flour
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp oregano
2 tbsp parsley finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Parsley (optional)

And now what?

Preheat the oven at 150 C. Cut the beef fillet in small cubes (approximately 3cm) and discard any fat.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the beef cubes until they get a brown colour. If needed add some more olive oil together with boiled water and scratch the skillets bottom until all beef is cooked.

Heat the beef stock in a saucepan and add the chilies. Cover and simmer for 20 min. Strain the stock and keep the soaked chillies aside.

In a blender or if you want to be more traditional in a big mortar mix the tomatoes (or tomato paste), the onions, garlic and soaked chilies and blend until you ‘have a nice and smooth pomade.

In a skillet, roast the ground cumin for 1 minute. Add 2 tbsp olive oil, the flour and oregano and cook for another minute.

Mix the pomade with beef stock adding the sugar. Salt and pepper to taste, then mix with cumin sauce  and simmer for 10 minutes.

Place the beef cubes into a clay pot or pyrex, add the sauce, cover with lid or foil and cook for 2 and ½ hours.

Garnish with fresh parsley and accompany the dish with yogurt and rice .

Popeye Chimichangas

Shopping list


2 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cups small mushrooms, finely sliced
3 fresh green chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250 gr spinach leaves, torn into pieces if large
1 cup Cheddar cheese (or any other cheese of your choice), grated
8 flour tortillas, warmed
Vegetable oil for deep-frying

And now what?

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until softened and slightly transparent.

Add the mushrooms, chillies and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are lightly browned. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes, or until just wilted. Add the cheese and stir until just melted.

Spoon an equal quantity of the mixture into the centre of each tortilla. Fold in two opposites sides of each tortilla to cover the filling, then roll up to enclose it completely.

Heat the oil for deep-frying (until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds)  in a large deep saucepan. Deep-fry the chimichangas two at a time, turning once, for 5-6 minutes or until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper before serving.

Tips: You can always adjust the spicy-level by adding or reducing chillies according to your own preferences!