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Hanukkah in Colombia


Fried Plantains


Rabbi Juan Mejia, who grew up in Colombia, is proud that his native country has begun to draw global attention for its vibrant street art culture in Bogata and world class cuisine. Last year, he helped organize Be'chol Lashon Alternative Spring Break Trips to Colombia, highlighting the diversity of Jewish life his home country. Of particular pride for Rabbi Mejia is the small but vital community of Santa Marta. Idyllically located on the Caribbean sea, this congregation - Chavurat Shirat Hayyam - is made up entirely of converts to Judaism who have their own unique approach to bringing together ancient traditions with local culture. Instead of frying latkes in oil on Hanukkah, they serve up patacones, a classic Colombian dish. Plantains fried in oil, like many other Hanukkah foods, recall the miracle of oil at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in ancient times.

Read about Be'chol Lashon's Trip to Colombia with Vanderbilt Hillel

Patacones Recipe

Patacones are made from green plantains peeled and cut cross-wise. Patacones are fried twice. Patacones are served in restaurants all over Colombia as a side dish for fish dishes or as an appetizer with guacamole, hogao (tomato and onion sauce) or ají (hot salsa).

5 Large green plantains
1 cup water
1 tbsp salt
Juice from 1 lemon
1 1/2 tbsp achiote*
2 1/3 cups of oil
Pepper to taste
Recipes serves 15 people

1. First peal the green plantains and cut them in thick discs, getting about six pieces from each plantain.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and put in the plantain pieces until they brown. Remove them and crush them with a cup or any object that allows you to crush them.

3. Later submerge them in a mixture of water, salt, achiote, lemon juice and pepper for a brief moment. Immediately return them to the frying pan, and fry them to make them crispy.
*To substitute for Achiote/Annatto, use a mixture of 1/2 Tumeric and 1/2 Paprika

4. Remove them from the pan and serve. You can serve this recipe with a piece of cheese that you can melt either in the microwave or oven. Guests can dip the Patacones into melted cheese.

Receta de Patacones

5 plátanos verdes grandes
250 gr agua
20 gr sal
1 limón meyer (zumo)
20 gr achiote
500 gr aceite
pimienta al gusto
Esta receta es para 15 personas.

1. Primero pelamos los plátanos verdes y cortamos en discos gruesos sacando 6 patacones de cada verde.

2. En un sartén calentamos el aceite y colocamos los patacones hasta dorarlos retirándolos y aplastándoles con una taza o un recipiente que nos permita aplastarlos.

3. Luego los sumergimos en el agua con sal, achiote, jugo de limón y pimienta por breves momentos e inmediatamente los volvemos a freir hasta hacerlos crocantes.

4. Retiramos del fuego para quitarle el exceso de aceite y servimos, esta receta podemos acompañar con un trozo de queso lo llevamos al horno por unos minutos para que el mismo se derrita.