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Chilean Food

Chilean Recipe Book

Tasting Chile: A Celebration of Authentic Chilean Foods
Tasting Chile bookThis cookbook contains 140 traditional recipes from home chefs and restaurants from across Chile, spanning a variety of dishes that ranges from spicy salsas and hearty soups to the ubiquitous empanada and desserts such as sweet cream crepes. It includes fairly standard and simple recipes such as Chilean roast chicken and rice, as well as more complex and exotic ones. It also provides readers with substitutes for Chilean foods so that you they can easily make all of the book's recipes in your home.
Buy Tasting Chile from Amazon.com


The first meal of the day is small and usually consists of bread with assorted toppings and coffee or tea. Bread is bought fresh daily usually from a corner bakery, shop, or even a bread salesman that travels around the neighborhood. Chileans will top their bread with jelly or a delicious caramel-like topping called manjar.


The largest meal of the day is usually lunch. This will consist of traditional Chilean dishes like cazuela (a stew), pastel de choclo (similar to shepard pie), or a wide variety of bean dishes. In rural areas, the lunch hour usually means businesses will close. Although this is traditionally for taking a siesta, I don't think the majority of people actually sleep during this time.

Once (pronounced own-say)

"Once" is a light meal that is eaten between 4 and 7 in the afternoon. Often times this is a repeat of breakfast; with bread and sandwich toppings with some tea or coffee.

Tradition has it that long ago men that wanted to drink their liquor, or "aguardiente" in Spanish, during the time of day that is now "Once" invented a code to hide the fact that they were drinking at 5:00 in the afternoon. This code was the number of letters in "aguardiente" which is eleven or "once" in Spanish. With the passage of time, tea time became known as "Once."


Dinner comes in the late evening and will be the size of lunch with traditional Chilean food. If most in the household work all day, dinner for them will be the largest meal.

Food is an important piece of daily life in Chile. Learn more in the Gringo's Culture Guide to Chile.

My Favorite Chilean Dishes

Empanadas de Pino
Turnover stuffed with diced beef, onions, raisins, olive, and hard boiled egg. Baked in an oven.
Empanadas de Queso
Turnover filled with cheese and usually fried.
Bistec a lo Pobre
Steak topped with french fries and/or fried onions and fried eggs
Porotos Granados
Hot bean dish made with corn and pumpkin
Pan Amasado
Homemade bread
Hot dogs on an oversized bun, served with mustard, mayo, ketchup, tomatoes, sauerkraut and avocado

My Favorite Chilean Desserts

Round doughnut filled with caramel (manjar) or jelly and topped with powdered sugar.
Mote con Huesillo
Dehydrated peaches with stewed barley often in water or peach juice
Round flat cookie-like pastry filled with caramel (manjar) and covered in chocolate. My favorite alfajors were in the shape of a heart and made near the plaza of Puente Alto.

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