Costilla con papa is another delicious Canarian recipe that will get your tastebuds tingle in anticipation. Why not indulge in the exotic flavours of Canarian cuisine and try this at home? If you are expecting special guests or company, then this recipe will definitely do the trick. Along with taste, it is a beautiful plate of food. Just one look at this Canarian dish, and your guests will think you hired a professional chef for the evening. Moreover, you can easily locate most of these budget-friendly ingredients in specialised stores or online. Recreate this dish to evoke fond memories of the Canary Islands. We all secretly wish were there, especially on days when UK serves us bad weather!
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canarian cuisine history
Canarian cuisine has evolved immensely in the last century. This costilla con papa recipe is a witness to this. It has South American, Spanish, African, Creole and Chinese influences due to migration in the 19th century. When you think of the Canary Islands and its food, freshness, exotic and richness are keywords that comes to mind. Indeed, these words do describe traditional Canarian cuisine, as it is known for widely using local ingredients grown on the islands. Nonetheless, until now, Canarian cuisine has been very limited due to isolation. There are only a few ingredients that actually do grow on the islands, and local chefs were limited in creating their dishes. Therefore, the traditional Canarian dishes are very basic, involving only a few ingredients, especially papas or potatoes. For this reason, local chefs are starting to experiment with other cuisines, creating exciting fusions and blending of flavours. More and more, modern chefs are getting more inspiration further afield with more ingredients to work with. This also includes chef Marcos Tavio, the head chef at Aborigen restaurant. The latter celebrates the fusion of Peruvian, Chinese and Japanese cuisines. Check out my posts on lomo saltado and Peruvian ceviche with tiger’s milk for more information on Marcos Tavio and his restaurant.
history of papas
Historians believe that the potato was brought to the Canary Islands in the 16th century by Spanish conquistadors returning from South America. Legend states that the potatoes first made their way to Europe via the Canary port. Only then they journeyed on to the European continent. Therefore, dishes Spanish dishes like patatas bravas have the Canaries to thank for introducing the potato to Europe. As a result of this historical trade of goods, you’ll find many influences with papas on the Canary Islands. The traditional method of preparing the papas is to cook them in sea water. Nowadays, chefs just put lots of sea salt into the boiling water and wait until the papas float on top. So don’t be surprised if some of dishes carry more hints of sea salt than usual – it’s the traditional way! Other classical dishes include the papas arrugadas which are always served with a mojo sauce. If you’d like to learn how to make mojo rojo or mojo verde, they are pack a punch and easy to prepare. Plus, it’s a great way to make use of spare potatoes. Admittedly, sometimes this happens to me. So I take a few leftovers and enjoy them as a starter in my next meal.
costilla con papa
‘Costilla‘ translates to ‘rib’ and ‘con papa‘ translates to ‘with potatoes’. The rib generally refers to pork. Although it’s not uncommon to see beef or chicken used as alternatives to this costilla con papa recipe. Altogether, this is a pork rib and potato dish with aji peppers. Also, it includes the mojo verde sauce in combination with typical Asian sauces such as soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar and lime juice. Sounds like a dreamy combination, doesn’t it?
Yes, this recipe does involve brining the pork ribs beforehand. Brining is a very specific cooking method that aims to preserve and season meat, while ensuring its tenderness. It involves a salty rub or curing in a salty liquid and has been done for many centuries. Although you might think this step is difficult – it is not. You need to soak the ribs for 24 hours. During these 24 hours, remove the salt by changing the water occasionally. If you would like to learn more how to brine meat, then check out my post on how to brine chicken. You’ll read about different types of brines and all there is to know about the brining process.
The costilla con papa is an easy dish to replicate. However, the only problematic part to source might be fresh aji peppers. You can purchase the aji pepper paste in delicacy stores though. However, the aji Amarillo pepper, or yellow papper is a typical Peruvian pepper. You might also know it as the aji escabeche. It is mainly cultivated in Peru and is popular for its distinct yellow/orange colour. To give you an idea just how hot it is, it scores 40,000- 50,000 on the Scoville heat scale. So beware, it is a hot chilli pepper.
A milder substitute for the aji chilli pepper would be the pimientos de padron chilli pepper, which you can easily source in Europe. You can also substitute with the Serrano pepper, which scores between 10,000 – 30,000 heat units, being relatively hot. However, beware of the Habanero chilli pepper. It scores from 100,000- 350,000 heat units and is extremely spicy! Make sure you don’t get confused between the chillies.
tricks to heat
By the way, you needn’t worry about the heat coming from the aji peppers. If you follow the recipe, you should add the mayonnaise after you create the aji pepper paste. The mayonnaise is a cooling agent and it will bring down the overall heat. It’s a very common trick to bring down spice levels. Another trick is to add a sweet agent like sugar or a sugary sauce. Otherwise, I highly recommend serving a side of bread and a glass of water on the side. Especially, if you have troubles handling chillies with high spice levels.
The dish is fairly easy to replicate. You’ll need to do a bit of layering, but it’s nothing too complex. All it requires is a bit of precision and patience from your side. Also, you’ll need an aluminum foil or tian – the type for layering starters or desserts. So, once you start, you need to make sure that you stack the potato mash delicately into the form. Next comes the aji pepper mayonnaise and then the pork ribs. At this point, make a gentle downward push with the tips of your fingers. Remember, there are more ingredients coming…
To finish, add one more layer of mash. Cover with Mojo-Ponzu sauce and decorate with a bit of crumbled rib and the corn cobs. Finally, sprinkle with sweetcorn kernels and cilantro. And voila – a stunning dish that looks professionally made!
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Costilla con Papa Encausada
Author: Michelle Minnaar
- 2 racks brined pork ribs
- 2 corn cobs, halved
- 60ml (4 tbsp) vegetable broth
- 450g (1lb) potatoes, peeled and sliced
- 2 limes
- 5ml (1 tsp) yellow ají pepper paste
- 15ml (1 tbsp) olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- 15ml (1 tbsp) mayonnaise
- 15ml (1 tbsp) yellow ají pepper paste
- 120ml (½ cup) mojo verde sauce
- 10ml (2 tsp) lime juice
- 10ml (2 tsp) lemon juice
- 5ml (1 tsp) of rice vinegar
- 25ml (5 tsp)of Japanese soy sauce
- 10ml (2 tsp) mirin
- 250ml (1 cup) cooked sweetcorn kernels
- Cilantro, for garnishing
- Soak the ribs 24 hours to remove the salt by changing the water occasionally.
- Put them in a vacuum bag with a small piece of corn cob and 15ml (1 tbsp) of vegetable stock.
- Seal the bag and cook for 16 hours at 75º C. Store in the fridge afterwards.
- Boil the potatoes until just tender then mash until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- When the potatoes are cold, add the lemon juice and yellow ají pepper paste.
- Add the olive oil, season to taste, cover and put it in the fridge.
- For the ponzu vinaigrette mix the lime and lemon juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce and mirin. Stir the the mojo and ponzu sauce together.
- Mix the mayonnaise with the yellow pepper paste with a whisk.
- Heat up the ribs to 65ºC and crumble the meat.
- To serve use an aluminum kitchen mould/tian.
- First place a layer of the mash and smear with yellow aji mayonnaise.
- Now put a generous layer of rib filling on top.
- To finish, add one more layer of mash.
- Cover with Mojo-Ponzu sauce and decorate with a bit of crumbled rib and the corn cobs that were in the vacuum bag. Sprinkle with sweetcorn kernels and cilantro.
Serving Size 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 20.2 g
Saturated Fat 2.9 g
Cholesterol 6 mg
Sodium 762 mg
Total Carbohydrates 42.7 g
Dietary Fiber 6.5 g
Sugars 5.8 g
Protein 9.3 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
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