Monthly Archives: January 2009

Glossary of Chilean Cuisine

Got an epicurean curiosity about the gastronomic wonders of Chilean cuisine? Here’s a start on your road to becoming a Chilean gastronome, a true “sibarita.”

This glossary will soon appear as a constant at the top of the page and will be updated regularly, so check back frequently!

Asado (ah-SAH-do): Chilean barbecue, more aptly referred to as a meat fest. No hot dogs or hamburgers allowed.

Barros Jarpa (BAH-rros HAR-pa): Hot ham & cheese sandwich.

Barros Luco (BAH-rrohs LOO-ko): Hot beef and cheese sandwich.

Cachaça (kah-CHAH-sa): Brazilian distilled spirit used for making caipirinhas. Popular in Chile.

Caipirinha (ky-peer-EEN-yah): Brazilian cocktail made with cachaça and limes. Refreshing and popular in Chile.

Casera (kah-SAIR-ah): (1) Homemade, as in mermelada casera (homemade jam) or (2) a friendly term used by vendors in the feria to refer to their female customers.

Chela (CHEL-lah): Slang for beer.

Choclo (CHO-klo): Corn for human consumption. Animals eat maíz. The choclo commonly found in Chile is very large with thick kernels, similar to what is called “field corn” in the US.

Cola de Mono (CO-la day MO-no): Alcoholic milk based punch typically served cold at Christmas time.

Completo (kuhm-PLEH-to): Chilean style hot dog loaded with ketchup, mustard, relish, chopped tomato, sauerkraut, pickled green chili pepper, mashed avocado, and mayonnaise.

Empanada (ehm-pah-NAH-da): Typical dish of Spanish origin and a favorite in Chile, especially for Independence Day celebrations (September 18), asados, Sunday dinners, or snacks. They are made of fried or baked dough stuffed most commonly with pino (ground meat mixture) or cheese, but have many variations, such as marisco (shellfish) and others.

For the complete glossary, see the Culinary Glossary above.

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By Margaret Snook, January 25, 2009



Even though caipirinha is Brazil’s national drink, it’s very popular in Chile–and for good reason. It–and the Cuban mojito–are among the most delicious and refreshing cocktails in the world.

Made from cachaça (pronounced kah-CHA-sah), a clear distilled spirit made from sugar cane, and limes, a caipirinha (or 2) has got to be one of the best ways around to beat the heat… And if you ever have the chance to spend the afternoon sipping away on a Brazilian beach, you’ll know you’re one step closer to Nirvana. But watch out, they pack a whallop, so have 3 and you’re on your happy way to hell…

I usually order them dry–as in not sweet. Chileans like everything sweet and bartenders aim to please their public, but if you ask them to go easy on the sugar, they usually comply. These citrusy thirst-quenching drinks go down very easy, which can be dangerous… as in headache in a glass, so here’s a trick I’ve picked up along the way.

I order a bottle of mineral water (light sparkling is nice) and add it to my drink as I go along. Yes, I hear the purists screeching, but hey, I’m pretty thirsty most of the time and when I start drinking alcohol for thirst, I know the next day is going to be a rough one, soooo, to save my head (and my dignity), I add water, which keeps me happily drinking increasingly lighter limeade. And then… if I’m still thirsty, I can do it again!

Do it yourself Caipirinha (serves 1):
Remove the ends and then slice a lime in quarters (or finer). Some people remove the pithy middle.
Toss the lime into an old fashion glass.
Add a spoonful or two of regular white sugar.
Use a muddler (wooden mortar-like bar tool) and mash the fruit and sugar together. Don’t overdo it or the drink will be murky instead of crystal clear.
Fill the glass with crushed ice then add cachaça to taste- at least half the glass, or fill it up if you dare…
Add a couple cocktail straws and you’re good to go!

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