Green papaya sweet – Dulce de papaya verde


Green papaya sweet As in previous years, I take this time to commemorate the national holidays celebrated during the month of November in Panama. Today’s recipe is perfect for this, since it is one of the most typical sweets of … Continue reading

Mondongo, Panamanian tripe stew


Cow tripe… it sounds kind of weird, I know, but trust me, it is such a delicious dish… I grew up eating this food; my grandma, aunt and mother (the women at my childhood home) were never shy to introduce … Continue reading

Shrimp patties


My mom, knowing how I love to cook, always sends me cooking magazines or recipes from news papers that she thinks I may like. The recipe for these empanadas was taken from one of those magazines; one called “Recetas de familia” … Continue reading

Guacho de pollo — Chicken wet rice


Guacho de pollo
Chicken wet rice

Last Saturday we celebrated the 496 anniversary of the foundation of Panama “La vieja” (the old). It was founded on August 15, 1519 by Pedro Arias Dávila and other 100 inhabitants. At the time, it was the first permanent European settlement on the Pacific Ocean, replacing the two cities of Santa María La Antigüa del Darién and Acla. Two years later, in 1521, the settlement was promoted to the status of city by a royal decree and was given a coat of arms by Charles V of Spain, forming a new cabildo.
To commemorate this big day in my country, I’m sharing a Panamanian recipe. It’s been a while, I know!

It is call guacho in Spanish and it is one of those words without a translation in English. It is made with rice, chicken (it used to be hen, but nowadays hens are rare to find…so chicken it is! ) and lots of veggies.

Here is the recipe.


  • 1 chicken (or hen) cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup oil (olive or sunflower are fine)
  • 1/4 cup Annatto oil*
  • 3 scallion sprigs chopped
  • 4 tablespoons fresh coriander chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cups rice**


We will start by seasoning the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Then heat the oil in a big pan and sauté the chicken until golden brown. Take out the chicken and set aside.

Now we are going to make the sofrito. Pour the annatto oil into the pan , add all the vegetables and sauté until tender. Take out about 3 tablespoons of this sofrito and set aside. Add the chicken and 2 1/2 liters of water, bring to a boil and cook at low heat for 30 to 45 minutes.

Check the seasoning and add salt if needed.

Pour in the rice and cook, stirring from time to time until it is tender and very wet. If it is too dry, you may add hot water (and recheck the seasoning).

Serve immediately with a bit of sofrito*** on top, and make sure everyone has a piece of chicken.

*Annato oil probably can be found at some specialized stores, but you can make your own by adding the seeds to a bottle of oil and letting it rest for a while before using it. Annatto will add color and flavor to this dish, a good substitute will be saffron, it taste different, but it’ll do.

**The ideal rice for this dish a Carnaroli, Arborio or Valencia rice, one short-grain rice that will absorbs moisture without completely breaking down (I didn’t, so it took more water and time for cooking)

***For the sofrito, you may add a few tablespoons of tomato sauce, to make it more fluid and add color.

Vegan Chocolate chips Cookies


   What’s the difference between these two pictures? Well, one batch is vegan and the other non-vegan, but tasting them you couldn’t tell the difference. My daughter Isabel has become a vegan since last December and it’s been a pain … Continue reading

Chorizos in cider revisited

Back in 2012 I published a post with two recipes with cider. Today’s post brings to you one of those, but in a more traditional way. I hope you don’t mind the reiteration. This is a delicious and rather quick fix … Continue reading

Pumpkin Bars

I am way behind on my posts… this one have been pending since November! (yes, since Thanksgiving…) But I didn’t want 2014 to end without publishing this fantastic recipe, courtesy of a coworker.

The original version is for a delicious pumpkin pie. But it needs a slightly smaller baking pan that the ones I had on hand, so to prevent it to be too thin I added a biscuit crust and the cake became a tray of pumpkin bars.

They are spectacular, super creamy, moist and full of flavor. But I invite you to try it without the base too, because either way this is an incredibly simple and delicious recipe.


  • 300 gr pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 50 g grated coconut
  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g flour
  • 150 gr sugar
  • 1 sachet of baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 ½ cup crushed digestive biscuits
  • ½ cup melted butter


Preheat oven to 180 ºC and cover a medium size baking tray with waxed paper.

Cook the pumpkin for about 15 minutes or until tender, drain well and crushed with butter.

If we decide to use biscuit base, then mix the biscuits with melted butter and extend it on the baking sheet spreading it well with the back of a spoon.

The rest is a breeze; mix flour, baking powder, coconut and sugar, incorporate the remaining ingredients and beat everything in a blender.

Pour batter into the baking sheet, over the biscuit base (if using) and bake for about 30 minutes (depending on the thickness of the cake).

Remove from the oven and let it cool a bit before cutting the squares.


Raspberry-Maple pudding cake

This wonderful recipe is from one of my findings in my trip to the US, a copy of Epicurious magazine with “America’s best recipes”. It is supposed to be a Yankee classic, but I decided to give it a southern … Continue reading

250 g tamarind


Tamarind. Its taste brings back so many childhood memories … especially going to the “tienda” to buy tamarind balls and pay for them one “real” (5 cents) or asking our neighbor if she has tamarind “duritos”. This fruit is delicious, … Continue reading