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Recipe for Llapingachos (Yapingachos) - Ecuadorian Potato Cakes with Cheese

Stephanie loves to save money in any way possible so she can spend it traveling and eating expensive food.

Llapingachos, Ecuadorian Potato and Cheese Cakes

Llapingachos, Ecuadorian Potato and Cheese Cakes

These hearty potato cakes are filling, but light.

This dish is typical of Ecuadorian cuisine- it combines African, Indian, and European elements into a tasty and exotic meal. In Quito and other Ecuadorian cities, the roads are full of locals cooking these patties over big metal braziers. Because they are not fried, they are healthy and low in fat.

Llapingachos (pronounced ya-ping-ga-chohs ) can be made as an appetizer, side, or main dish. Serve them for lunch or dinner on a bed of shredded cabbage and carrots, or make them for breakfast by serving them with a friend egg on top. You can garnish with wedges of avocado or tomato and serve hot sauce on the side.

However you choose to serve them, they always go wonderfully with Ecuadorian peanut sauce, a flavorful mixture of peanuts and spices that is usually served in Ecuador's coastal regions.


1 and 1/2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3 medium )

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black or white pepper

2 tablespoons annatto oil (divided). Check out the link at the bottom of the page for instructions on making annatto oil, and suggestions on substitutes in case you can't find the ingredients.

1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1/2 cup shredded cheese. If you can get ahold of Queso Fresco, use that. Ricotta salata or chihuahua cheeses are second best. Otherwise, muenster or mozzarella will also work and are easy to find at any grocery store.

FOR GARNISH (optional):

3 cups shredded lettuce and carrots

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 cup Ecuadorian peanut sauce (** recommended!**)

1 large hard boiled egg, chopped

Wedges of avocado and tomato

hot sauce, or ají

Llapingachos with a fried egg and peanut sauce

Llapingachos with a fried egg and peanut sauce

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1. Peel and quarter the potatoes and put them in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover them. Cook until soft (20-30 minutes). Drain.

2. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Add pepper and mix well.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon annatto oil in a small skillet over low heat.

4. Add onion and cook until soft (4-5 minutes).

5. Mix onions with mashed potatoes. Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes.

6. Stir in cheese, season with a few pinches of salt if desired.

7. Scoop mixture with 1/3 cup measure and shape into several patties (about 3" diameter and 1/2" thick).

8. Place on a large plate or baking sheet, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for about 15 minutes or longer.

9. Heat a griddle over medium heat. Brush one side of the patties with the remaining annatto oil. Place on griddle and cook until golden brown and crispy on the bottom, about 8 minutes.

10. Brush tops with more oil, turn over and let them cook on the other side. Patties should be crispy and golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside.

To serve: Line platter with salad, top with patties. Top patties with peanut sauce and chopped egg. Serve with additional peanut sauce and hot sauce.


Place patties on platter, top with peanut sauce and a fried egg. Garnish with tomato and avocado, serve with breakfast sausages if desired.

The llapingachos should look like this when they finish cooking.

The llapingachos should look like this when they finish cooking.


Stephanie Das (author) from Miami, US on November 08, 2012:

@whowas- Pancetta sounds awesome! These cakes are really delicious I'm sure you'll find them to be a good breakfast meal. Please let me know how it goes when you cook it.

whowas on October 23, 2012:

Hey I like the look of these. Very simple take on potato cakes but clearly with a little something extra in there. I think I'll go for these with the egg as a hearty breakfast option.

As I'm not a vegetarian, I might throw a little bit of crispy, cubed pancetta on top, too. My mouth is watering already!

You've done a great job with the photos here, too. Good stuff! :)

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