Llapingachos-Ecuadorian Filled Potato Cakes

Llapingachos are a classic Ecuadorian potato cake with a captivating combination of salty Cotija cheese and creamy peanut sauce.

Everyone I know loves potatoes. Who couldn’t love what is considered to be one of the world’s most versatile foods, not to mention one of the largest crops grown in the world.

We grew our own white potatoes on the farm in Iowa, not really knowing about the many other varieties being sold throughout the United States at the time. We thought we knew most ways to cook these tubers as they were a staple in our house.

But recently, my mind was opened as I had the opportunity to learn how potatoes are prepared around the world, thanks to James Beard Award-winner, Raghavan Iyer, at a media luncheon at Melissa’s Produce.

It was seriously exciting, especially considering it was all about potatoes.

Raghavan Iyer - Smashed Cookbook

Raghavan’s latest cookbook is Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, And Baked—And Fried, Too! A Celebration of Potatoes in 75 Irresistible Recipes (2016, Workman Publishing, $16.95). This “spud-tacular” internatational potato adventure covers techniques, tips and 75 recipes from cities and countries on six continents.

The recipes are paired with stories and anecdotes that weave in the cultural, historical and social influence of the potato over its 10,000 year history.

Here are a few recipes we sampled.
Mojito Potato Pomegranate Salad | Raghaven Iyer

Mojito Potato Pomegranate Salad page 87

Crispy Potato Skins | Raghaven Iyer

Crispy Potato Skins with Creme Fraiche page 25

Potato Lasagna | Raghaven Iyer

Potato Lasagna page 145

Cheesy Tarragon Tots | Raghaven Iyer

Cheesy Tarragon Tots page 19 A perfect balance of crispy exterior and creamy interior!

Potato Crisps with Dark Chocolate | Raghaven Iyer

Thick Cut Potato Crisps with Dark Chocolate page 225

Sweet Potato Rolls with Creamy Cointreau Glaze| Raghaven Iyer

Sweet Potato Rolls with a Creamy Cointreau Glaze page 228

All of these recipes tasted as good as they look.

Today’s Recipe:

This recipe is nothing short of a showstopper. Even though the name is difficult to pronounce, these potato cakes are easy in their execution. They house salty Cotija cheese and smoky paprika-definitely a lively filling. And a mellow peanut sauce, dairyrich and pungent with onion, is perfect to cloak each bite of this well balanced starter to any meal.

Here is a look at how they came together.

Llapingachos, Ecuadorian filled potato cakes | She Paused 4 Thought

Cooked potatoes are divided into 12 balls and flatten into 3 inch rounds.

Llapingachos-Ecuadorian filled potato cakes | She Paused 4 Thought

Add the filling in the middle and fold over the dough to cover it.

Llapingachos-Ecuadorian filled potato cakes | She Paused 4 Thought

Reshape each half-moon into a cake roughly 2½ inches in diameter and ½ inch thick.

Llapingachos-Ecuadorian filled potato cakes | She Paused 4 Thought

Fry them until reddish brown and crispy on the underside, 3 to 5 minutes.

Llapingachos-Ecuadorian filled potato cakes | She Paused 4 Thought

Flip them over and fry on the other side, 3 to 5 minutes more.

Peanut Sauce | She Paused 4 Thought

Make the sauce.

Llapingachos, Ecuadorian filled potato cakes | She Paused 4 Thought

Serve the ckaes warm with the peanut sauce and avocado.

Perfection.

Llapingachos-Ecuadorian Filled Potato Cakes
Author: 
Recipe type: appetizer
Cuisine: Ecuadorian
 
These potato cakes are easy in their execution. They house salty Cotija cheese and smoky paprika-definitely a lively filling. And a mellow peanut sauce, dairyrich and pungent with onion, is perfect to cloak each bite of this wellbalanced starter to any meal. Makes 12 Cakes
Ingredients
FOR THE SHELLS
  • ½ pounds russet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea or kosher salt
FOR THE FILLING
  • 2 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled (or feta)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions (green tops and white bulbs)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
FOR THE SAUCE
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup chunky or smooth natural peanut butter
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse sea or kosher salt
  • Canola oil, for pan-frying ( I used avocado oil)
FOR THE TOPPING
  • 1 large ripe Hass avocado, cut into ¼-inch cubes
Instructions
  1. To make the shells, peel the potatoes and give them a good rinse under cold running water. Cut them into large chunks. Place them in a medium-size saucepan
  2. and cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Partially cover the pan, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer briskly until the chunks are tender when pierced with a fork or knife, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Lay out a large sheet of wax paper or parchment paper on the counter. Drain the potatoes in a colander and return them to the pan. Set it over medium-low heat and stir the potatoes once or twice to dry them out, about 1 minute. Working in batches if necessary, transfer the chunks to a ricer and press them directly into a medium-size bowl. Sprinkle on the potato starch and salt and stir them in while the potatoes are still warm, until the dough is satin smooth. Once the dough is cool
  4. enough to handle, divide it into 12 equal portions and set them on the wax paper.
  5. To make the filling, lay out a smaller sheet of wax paper or parchment paper on the counter. Combine the cheese, cilantro, scallions, and paprika in a small bowl. Divide this into 12 equal portions as well and set them on the small sheet of wax paper.
  6. One at a time, shape each portion of dough into a disk about 3 inches in diameter. Place a portion of the filling in the center and fold over the dough to cover it. Reshape each half-moon into a cake roughly 2½ inches in diameter and ½ inch thick. Return each to the wax paper while you finish flattening, filling, and shaping the remaining cakes.
  7. To make the sauce, bring the milk and onion to a boil, uncovered, in a small saucepan over medium heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer the milk, uncovered, stirring occasionally, to allow it to absorb some of the onion flavor, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard the onion pieces (a slotted spoon works well). Whisk in the peanut butter and salt and continue to simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until it thickens, about 2 minutes. Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and keep the sauce warm while you pan-fry the cakes.
  8. Set a wire rack over a cookie sheet and place it in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 200°F.
  9. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-size nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once the oil appears to shimmer, place 6 of the cakes in the pan. Fry them until reddish brown and crispy on the underside, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip them over and fry on the other side, 3 to 5 minutes
  10. more. Transfer the cakes to the rack in the oven to keep warm as you finish pan-frying the remaining cakes. Add more oil to the pan as necessary.
  11. Serve the cakes warm, drizzled with the peanut sauce and topped with avocado. Pass around any extra peanut sauce for those wanting a bit more of that nutty goodness.

This cookbook offers lots of information and delicious recipes on one of world’s favorite comfort food. I enjoyed recipe I have tried so far. Raghavan has captured international style recipes using indgredients that are locally available, making this book for everyone.

“One never tires of the nonaggressive flavor of the potato.” – Andre Simon, French Food and Wine Writer

I never tire of the versitility of the mighty spud.
…and then, she paused for thought

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I received a copy of Raghavan Iyer’s cookbook to review. All opinions are my own.

Llapingachos-Ecuadorian filled potato cakes | She Paused 4 Thought

About Cathy Arkle

Cathy Arkle is a food blogger, culinary explorer, graphic artist, and cooking class junkie. Her inspirations come from her travels across the globe (50 countries) in the last 20+ years partaking in various ethnic cuisines while working as a graphic artist for major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & ESPN). She has collected a few Emmys in the field of graphic design for sports & entertainment. Cathy is also a graduate of the Pro Chef courses at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA

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14 Responses to Llapingachos-Ecuadorian Filled Potato Cakes

  1. Carolyn April 4, 2017 at 2:17 pm #

    Looks so good!

    • Cathy Arkle April 6, 2017 at 5:53 pm #

      They really were. I hope you try them sometime.

  2. Julie M Grose April 4, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

    Thanks Cathy! Looks super delicious and something fun and different we can all serve for our Spring get togethers…… elegant but SO economical to prepare not to mention gluten-free! Thanks for always working hard to take us along on your culinary adventures and help lift us out of our “what to make” doldrums! Can’t wait to try this! xo~CousinJulie~

    • Cathy Arkle April 6, 2017 at 5:53 pm #

      You are so sweet Julie, thank you. I think your family would love these.

  3. Susan Herrman April 5, 2017 at 3:20 am #

    These potato cakes look scrumptious! Thank, Cathy.

    • Cathy Arkle April 6, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

      Thanks Susan, they were quite tasty. I will be making them again and experimenting with different cheeses and herbs.

  4. cheri Newell April 5, 2017 at 1:30 pm #

    CATH… You make everything look so glamorous!!! I have to pick and choose between my sweets and carbs these days as my blood sugar is an issue!!! I think I could actually forego my chocolate for one of these babies!!!

    • Cathy Arkle April 6, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

      LOL, just make these without the peanut sauce and you should be fine.

  5. Shannon lemon April 6, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

    Ok. I’m going to be honest. This looks like the stuff dreams are made of. I love potatoes, I love potatoe cakes, I love cheese, I love peanut sauce. Making these asap!

    • Cathy Arkle April 6, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

      Thanks Shannon, I think you will really enjoy them. I also think you can mix up the ingredients in the center as well. Have fun!

  6. Manasi MDesai April 7, 2017 at 9:03 pm #

    They look so good! I got the book a few days ago and am eager to try out the recipes.

    • Cathy Arkle April 10, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

      I think you will be very pleased with the recipes in this book. Thanks for stopping by Manasi!

  7. Simone April 14, 2017 at 10:10 pm #

    That sounds like an awesome book! I love potatoes but quite frankly I think I don’t do enough with them as it is. Even though we are sometimes called potato heads haha… (our country that is, not me personally.. 🙂 Going to look this book up. Thanks for the tip!

    • Cathy Arkle April 21, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

      This book has a global look at potatoes and is quite fascinating. I think you would really enjoy it!

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