¿Qué es Charque? Charque is dried and salted meat, originally llama. The process came from Incan times. Curing the meat allowed to store the meat for a long period. Nowadays the practice is more common with beef. But, in the Andes, where llamas roam, llama charque is very popular.
Did you know that the word Jerky comes from the Quechua word Charqui (or charki)? It is also known as Charque.
Charkecan Orureño is a very popular dish in Bolivia. I am very happy that I am able to cook it at home. Here is the recipe,
- Llama charke or beef jerky. I almost think that deer jerky might work for it.
- Mote de maiz. Goya produces 12 oz package. It also has cooked hominy.
- Hard Boiled eggs.
- Llajua Boliviana (Tomato and Hot Pepper Sauce)
- Queso Ranchero
Charque, the hardest part is to prepare the meat. First boil the dry meat for about 20 minutes, you will notice it will become softer as it re-hydrates. Then take one piece at a time from the boiling water. The meat is still hard, some people rinse the meat and add a tenderizer. But, my mom taught me to tenderize it by hitting it with a mallet (or kitchen meat hammer). So, I put the meat in a heavy freezer bag and start pounding it until it becomes stringy. Once it reaches that point I separate the strings by hand and fry them in 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. The oil has to be hot and since the meat is already cooked, frying takes a few seconds per side.
Mote, because the corn is large and is dry, it is better to soaked it overnight. Next day, boil it until it becomes soft, adding water a bit at a time so it does not get burned. I did burn it before! So, I cook my corn in a slow cooker, in that way I do not even get worried of burning it. In low heat for 4 hours, make sure you have plenty of water. Last time I made it I bought canned Hominy from the international section of my local grocery store.
Llajua, is one of my favorite salsas. In a small mixer or electric chopper, put one pealed tomato, hot pepper (without seeds, jalapeños are good), add a few leaves of Quirquiña (Bolivian coriander).and salt.
When I want to be faster I grade one tomato and add my powder locoto (hot pepper) I brought from Bolivia, dry Quirquiña and salt. .
Here is how you serve the plate,
First the hominy, charke on top, on the side peeled egg, cheese and llajua. People like to serve it with boiled potatoes also.
My kids love it and the best of all is that is the perfect finger food to enjoy it as a family. Buen provecho!