Despite its extremely different geographical zones ranging from desert plateaus and majestic mountains, Bolivian cuisine is rich in flavor and ingredients. One of its nationally loved delights is papitas — breaded and fried quinoa balls with a special tuna stuffing served with lemon juice. Here’s how to make them!
- 5 eggs
- 1 lb quinoa
- 5 slices of white bread
- 16 oz. canned tuna in water, well-drained
- ½ cup milk (to soak the bread)
- 1 chili pepper, finely chopped
- 2 lemons
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
How to Make These Delicious Bolivian Papitas
Grab a very fine strainer and rinse the quinoa until the water is clear. Boil the quinoa for about 15 minutes in about 6 cups of water. Keep covered, and don’t salt until the end of cooking. When ready, drain the water and let the quinoa cool in a colander.
In a large bowl, mix two eggs with the cooked quinoa and add the slices of bread (that have been soaked in milk). Mix until you get a smooth paste.
To prepare the stuffing for your papitas, grab another bowl and mix the remaining three eggs with the tuna, chili pepper, lemon zest and juice, and season with salt and pepper.
It’s time to make the balls. Take a ball of quinoa, make a hole in it, and put tuna stuffing inside. Then, take some more quinoa to close the patty and shape it nicely into a flattened ball. When you’re ready with all the patties, it’s time to fry them.
Fry the papitas at about 350F for about two minutes on each side. They have to be golden brown and nicely crusted on one side before flipping them to the other to prevent breaking. When they’re ready, place them on paper towels to soak in the excess oil. Enjoy them warm or cold with some lemon juice!