During another wonderful after-school activity, Fausto invited us to cook with him. The Daily Special was a well-loved local dish called Mote Pillo, a dish with which we were already familiar. Our host family made us Mote Pillo the first week we were here, and we raved about it so much that they made it a second time for us before we left! We were psyched to learn how to make it ourselves.
The process was really simple, as it only requires five ingredients – corn, eggs, cheese, green onions and cilantro. Corn is the main ingredient, and is used in almost everything here in Cuenca. (The nice thing is that while many dishes involve corn, corn *syrup* does not really exist here except in imported products.) This time I was one of Fausto’s assistants, and I had the very important job of grating the cheese. Mmmmm, queso!
We also made a delicious salsa to go with the Mote Pillo. I was worried about the aji, or chili peppers, but there weren’t enough to make this sauce too hot, even for me. The only other ingredient in the salsa is a fruit that grows here called Tomate de arbol, “tomato of tree.” It is sweet and doesn’t taste like tomatoes back home. The combination of the chili peppers and “tomato of tree” was a delicious one and went well on the Mote Pillo.
Fausto encouraged Elliott to serve out very generous portions once again. We all had a side of avocado, and everyone loved the dish. We suddenly realized we no longer needed to eat dinner! Bonus!