Region: 
Litoral
Regional dish information
Flavours of the region: 

Food from the Litoral Region

Sra. Lucy P. de Pescarmona

Food from the Litoral region consists of preparations which are a mix resulting from the collision between the European cultures and that of the indigenous people.

Nowadays, we can still appreciate tributes from the Guarani culture in the music, local customs, dialects and also in the food.  

Fish is the essential food  of this region’s inhabitants, which has given a new meaning to the “fish of the day” with a wide variety of dishes prepared with fresh river fish that are cooked in the oven,  grilled with lemon  or accompanied by different sauces.

Many of them are still known by their native names: surubí, pacú, mandubé and patí and others are known by their Spanish names: amarillo, pejerrey, dorado, Gran Paraná and sábalo. 

Juana Manuela Gorriti, in her book Eclectic Food quotes: “It has all the colors of the rainbow in its scales. This is the dorado fish. Its meat is so white and delicious, that the girls living by the river, when they are pretending to fish, set the rest of the prisoners free if they find a dorado in their nets”.

Zebu, a large hump back breed of cow, is one of the most consumed meats and is grilled in the Brazilian way: churrasco al espeto. 

Cayman hunting is also very common, its tail is used to prepare milanesas; as well as with the armadillos, capybaras and ducks.

The mamón and zapallo (pumpkin) are the most common sweet dish.

The influence of Paraguayan cuisine is maintained in Misiones, Corrientes and Formosa: the northern locro with meat, corn, pumpkin and mandioca (cassava) and the mbeyu or cassava starch tortas fritas, a typical Guarani specialty that is eaten with milk, salt and cheese.  

Two classics are the Paraguayan soup, that despite its name is a white corn flour bread with cheese, onion and spices and the famous chipá, a kind of bread that is enjoyed with tereré, a traditional infusion that is drunk cold and is made with yerba mate and citrus fruits. 

Regarding alcoholic drinks, the locals consume caña and cachaça.

And finally, mate which is traditional Argentine infusion typical from the Littoral, where yerba mate is grown. It is a stimulating hot tea, of greenish colour, that is shared by friends and family and even among unknown people as a sign of hospitality in this beautiful land.

Recipes: 

Chipá

This is a Guarani term for a bun made of starch flour and cassava. It is common in Paraguay, which runs along the northern border of Argentina.

Ingredients:

500 gr. cassava starch
250 gr. creole cheese
100 gr. lard or shortening
2 cups milk
2 eggs
Salt to taste

Preparation:

On a counter, distribute cassava starch in a volcano shape. Place the diced cheese, lard or shortening, salt and eggs in the crater. Mix by hand into a smooth paste.

Add milk gradually until the dough reaches a plump, soft texture. Then, make small dumplings. Place on greased sheet pan and bake at medium heat. Cook until dumplings brown and are spongy.

Kivevé

This is a thick and consistent cream made from a gourd called Andaí. This Misiones dish is also shared with neighboring Paraguay.

Ingredients (6 servings):

1 kg. pumpkin 
250 gr. corn flour
200 gr. fresh cheese
1 onion
1 cup milk
1 tbsp. sugar 
3 tbsp. oil 
1 tbsp. coarse salt

Preparation: 

Cut the pumpkin into cubes and remove seeds. Chop the onion and set aside. In a covered pan, cook the pumpkin in 3 cups of water.

Once cooked, puree the hot pumpkin with the leftover cooking liquid. In another pan, brown onion in oil. Incorporate milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, salt, and, finally, sift in corn flour, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.  

Continue cooking over low heat, stirring constantly, for 12 min. Add diced cheese, mixing quickly. Remove from heat and serve hot.

Pacú a las Brasas (Grilled Pacu)

Pacu is a fish called “the river pig” because of its delicious taste and high fat content. It is ideal to prepare grilled in the oven or on a outdoor grill .

Ingredients (4 servings):

4 fresh or freshly-thawed fillets of pacu
2 lemons
1 sprig of dill
1 sprig of coriander
1 tsp. ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Preparation:

Make a wood or charcoal file. Once ready, spread a thin layer of heated charcoal or wood below the grill. Be sure that the grill is clean. 

Place the seasoned pacu fillets on the grill. Cooking time varies but is generally done medium heat within about 10-15 minutes per side. Garnish with the lemon juice, dill and cilantro. Fat should be removed without the pacu drying. Remove and serve with the garnish of your choice.