Turns out cooking classes are very difficult to find in Bolivia! However, upon looking at all the pieces of paper pinned on the noticeboard in Condor Cafe (highly recommended place to eat!) in Sucre, I came across an offering by La Boca del Sapo (the Toad’s Mouth).
Moises, who runs the classes, decided to run cooking classes to help save up while waiting to obtain his visa to the UK- very entrepreneurial! And he runs them out of his own kitchen, with a maximum of 4 participants.
Unfortunately I was really not feeling well this day, but went along anyway to learn how to make Papas Rellenas – one of the most popular and common street foods in Bolivia. As the name suggests, these are mashed potato balls that are filled with something – in our case egg or cheese.
It is a remarkably simple dish, the most “difficult” part of which is making the sauce that accompanies it. And even this is not difficult – chopping up tomatoes, onions and capsicum and then cooking them.
The fiddly bit is getting rid of all the eyes out of the potatoes, but then they too are super-easy — you just cook them in water until they are ready to mash. The trick is to get the mash very fine – which turned out to require a fair amount of shoulder power when using forks to achieve this end.
Meanwhile, we also made some llajua – a spicy Bolivian sauce that is served with just about everything. Crushed tomatoes, chilli and herbs basically – but I thought this stone and crusher that were inset into the bench were super-cool! Had to be careful though not to crush fingers!
We then got a production line going with making the potato balls that had the egg or cheese (and in a couple of sneaky cases – egg AND cheese) inside. These were then dipped in egg wash and flour before being deep fried.
The final product!
To be honest, papas rellenas is far from my favourite Bolivian dish. Quite bland in fact… But it is what a lot of Bolivians eat!
Cost: $100 Bolivianos (assuming 3 or 4 people)
Time: 3 hours