E is for Ecuador: Cazuela de Camaron (Shrimp and Plantains)

Unattractive but delicious: shrimp in peanut and plantain sauce

Unattractive but delicious: shrimp in peanut and plantain sauce

For the first time in this project, I wasn’t hoping to get a particular country for the letter “E.”  I’m not hugely familiar with any of the cultures and thus was game for whatever fate threw at me.  So when I pulled Ecuador, I was more than ready to start researching what “typical” cuisine was.  And, apparently, there isn’t one all encompassing national dish.  Instead, various regions have their own local fare.  While the coastal areas tend to rely on fresh and light seafood based dishes, the mountainous areas feature heartier meat and potato type dishes.

The one result my research yielded was that the people of Ecuador tend to universally enjoy a meat called cuy.  Upon further investigation, I discovered that cuy is actually guinea pig.  Now I don’t know about you, but I figured my local butchers would look at me like I had six heads if I asked for three fillets of guinea pig, fat trimmed off.  And, much like they did when I was a young child begging for a puppy, my parents refused to take me to the pet store.  I always assumed that there was a line where my parents’ adventurous natures would abate and their skeeviness would set in for this project; it turns out that line is guinea pig.

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