These mini potato cakes are found in the mountainous regions of Ecuador where potatoes are an important staple. They often accompany a plate of chicken or pork, with a few slices of avocado or a pumpkin seed sauce. The ubiquitous fresh cheese of the Andes is much like the queso blanco found in the Mexican section of many grocery stores. Any fresh, mild cheese, such as shredded Monterey Jack or queso fresco, would be perfect to stuff your llapingachos.
- 3 pounds potatoes, peeled
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4-6 ounces fresh cheese, crumbled
- 2 Tablespoons diced green onions
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- Canola oil
- Salt and pepper
- Place potatoes in a large, heavy saucepan. Cover with water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking until easily pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
- While the potatoes are cooking, place a small frying pan over medium heat and add the butter. Once melted and bubbling, reduce the heat to low and add the green onions. Sauté until soft and starting to turn brown.
- Once the green onions have cooled, mix with the crumbled fresh cheese.
- Drain the potatoes and place in a large bowl. Let cool slightly.
- Mash the potatoes using a fork or a potato masher.
- Add egg yolks and salt to the potatoes. Mix well.
- Knead the mixture for a few minutes, forming a thick, soft dough.
- Spoon the potato mixture into the palm of your hand, making a 2-inch round potato cake. Make an indentation in the center with your thumb, and fill it with 2 teaspoons of the onion and cheese mixture. Cover with more mashed potatoes to make a stuffed patty.
- Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.
- Heat a few tablespoons of canola oil in a nonstick, 10- to 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, carefully add the llapingachos so that they are not touching.
- Fry the llapingachos until brown on one side, then carefully flip over. Brown the other side, then place on a serving tray and keep warm in the oven. Wipe out the frying pan with a paper towel, and repeat to make another batch.
- Serve warm with salt and pepper to taste.