Morocho Empanadas: The football snack your tongue craves
Cuisine is one of the best attributes of the little but rich territory of Ecuador. You’ll notice that in our future posts about food since we have much to cover. Right now, I would like to introduce you to something that may be overseen by most tourists and that is a delight of locals, especially those who enjoy football (I refuse to call it soccer. Sorry USA).
Just imagine this scenario in one of Quito’s stadiums. The crowd is cheering for its favorite team with nonstop melodies and claps while the players fight for the ball possession in the midfield.
The tension grows and so does the smell of something yummy. Someone near your sit has called a girl in a green or red uniform with the word ‘snacks’ printed on the back of her t-shirt.
She has made you want to taste whatever that person is having. That’s not a sandwich, nachos nor even a hot dog. That precious smell comes from our ‘Morocho Empanadas’.
Of course, you can find that specialty in restaurants, but there’s something about the ones that they sell in the city stadiums that is incomparable.
Now, you may wonder what morocho is. Well, that’s one of the many types of corn that grow in Ecuador. This white grain has to be in water for five to six days and just then can be cooked in boiling water until it becomes soft.
Then the morocho has to be milled until you can form a mass with it. After that they usually fill it with little portions of meat, rice, carrots and peas. When the empanada is firmly closed with a fork, it’s time to put them on the frying pan (usually made out of bronze) with lots of animal fat. Within an hour they’ll be ready to scream “gooool” in your mouth.
Since they are made without wheat flour, they are safe for those allergic to gluten. Two empanadas cost USD 2.50 and no one will blame you if you want to eat more. That’s the only downside of the stadium empanadas: they are somewhat pricey. But hey, sometimes I think that I go to the stadium to watch the game… just to realize that football won’t be exciting without these exquisite treats.