Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bolivian Salteñas

Saltenas are Bolivia's answer to the empanada or pasty. They are similar to empanadas but are known for being very moist, like a stew inside a pastry. They are football-shaped, and some people crack them down the middle and eat them with a spoon. Others say it is a test of skill to nibble it down top to bottom without spilling the juice on yourself.

They are filled with meat (beef or chicken), hard boiled eggs, peas, potatoes, raisins and olives. They are slight spicy and surprisingly sweet, including the pastry dough.

They use gelatin when making the filling, then chill it into a solid before assembling and baking. As the dough bakes the filling begins to melt and results in the soupy insides. Because of this, saltenas must be eaten immediately or the insides get mushy. Most places sell them in the morning and have run out before noon. Good motivation for waking up early.

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