Ecuadorean Potato Pancakes - Llapingachos

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Llapingachos - Ecuadorian Potato Pancakes. Marian Blazes
  • 90 mins
  • Prep: 60 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Llapingachos (yah-peen-GAH-chos), potato pancakes made from mashed potatoes seasoned with onions and stuffed with cheese, are a traditional Ecuadorean dish.

Llapingachos are typically served with a creamy peanut sauce called salsa de mani, and they are often an accompaniment to fried eggs, chorizo sausage, avocado and a simple salad for a complete meal. They are also often served as an appetizer with hot pepper sauce and a sliced onion salad, such as salsa criolla.

Steam the potatoes with their skins on to retain flavor and to prevent water from soaking the potatoes as they cook; the pancakes are easier to cook if the dough is not overly wet. You might need to add some flour to the dough to achieve the correct texture even though this is not generally mentioned in traditional Ecuadorean recipes.  

What You'll Need

  • 5 to 6 Yukon Gold or russet potatoes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or 
  • olive oil, divided
  • 1 package
  • Sazon Goya with achiote (or 1 teaspoon cumin and 1/2 teaspoon achiote powder)
  • 1 cup shredded white cheese -- queso fresco, mozzarella, Monterey Jack
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, as needed
  • Salsa de Mani 

How to Make It

  1. Put the potatoes into a steamer basket over a large pot filled two-thirds of the way to the top with water.
  2. Heat the water over medium heat until it is boiling, cover the potatoes with a lid and steam the potatoes until they are tender when pierced with a fork. Check occasionally and refill the water level in the pot as needed.  
  3. Remove from heat, cut each potato in half and let them cool until they can be handled.
  1. Add some oil to a medium skillet, just enough to saute the onions.
  2. Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook onion over medium heat until onions are soft,  about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3.  Add the Goya seasoning and cook, stirring frequently, for several minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Peel the potatoes and press them through a ricer or mash them until smooth.  
  5. Add the seasoned onions to the potatoes and mix well.  
  6. Add the cheese and mix well.  
  7. Season the potato mixture with salt and pepper to taste. The potato mixture should be firm enough to shape pieces of it into balls, like dough.  If the potato mixture is too wet and sticky, mix in some flour until it has the right consistency.
  8. Shape the potato mixture into round patties, about 3 inches in diameter and about 1/2-inch thick.
  9. Heat the remaining oil, or as much as needed, in a heavy skillet.  
  10. Cook the potato pancakes in batches over medium-low heat, about 3 minutes per side, until they are golden brown.
  11.  Keep the potato pancakes warm in a warm oven, about 200 F, until ready to serve.
  12. Serve with salsa de mani.