This might be my first recipe that is technically for 1 person, but you need to be a weightlifter to finish this bad boy off by yourself. Bandeja paisa is an absolute feast of a platter.
Traditionally, it includes: white rice, beans, chorizo (or sausage), ground meat, avocado, arepas, plantain, a fried egg, and chicharrónes (fried pork belly or pork rind). 9 different things, but you can substitute any for something you have on hand. With this much meat, I’d recommend one of my agua frescas to help wash it down.Jump to Recipe
History of Bandeja Paisa
Bandeja is Spanish for “platter”, while Paisa refers to the Paisa region of Colombia. So it is the platter of the people of Paisa. However, the dish in its current form does not appear in any written works before 1950. People speculate that it is a modern rethinking of a traditional peasant dish.
More recently, it has become the national dish of Colombia, equally popular with local coffee growers and tourists. There is even a diet version in the capital of Bogotá, where they change out the high calorie meats for grilled chicken breast and salad.
Bandeja Paisa Ingredients
What Kind of Meats Are In Bandeja Paisa?
First, I’ll start with the most familiar. Chorizo is a spicy pork sausage. In Europe, it will be fermented or smoked, and is edible raw. In the U.S. and Latin America, it is not safe to eat raw and must be cooked. You can substitute this for the sausage of your choice if you’d like.
Next, is carne molida, which you probably know as minced or ground beef. Black pudding is found in bandeja paisa sometimes, but my butcher didn’t have it.
The most foreign meat is probably the chicharrónes, or pork rinds. There are 2 ways to present this in the dish. Either fry up some pork skin, or you can slice up some pork belly and fry that instead. Pork belly is where bacon comes from, so you would basically be making really thick bacon. Pro tip: save the leftover pork grease to fry your egg in (and check out this sandwich if you love fried eggs).
How to Fry Plantains
Frying plantains is easy right? You just heat up some oil, toss in the long banana and bada bing bada boom. Well, I actually made a crucial mistake when frying my plantain. I used an unripe plantain. I know, I’m dumb.
If you haven’t cooked plantain before, beware that it it is very tough if it isn’t completely ripe. It kind of tasted like tree bark, very cellulose heavy. Seems like they take a long time to ripen too. 8 days have passed since I bought them, and the second one doesn’t seem close to ready. So, keep this in mind when planning your meal. You can fry green plantains, but you would be making tostones instead.
What Kind of Beans Should You Use For Bandeja Baisa?
Pinto and red beans are the most likely beans you would find in Colombia. However, I used the best kind of beans…leftovers! I still had some black beans from making baleadas (a Honduran soft taco).
The advantage to leftover beans is that you need to soak beans overnight then simmer for at least an hour, if you are starting from dry. If you use canned beans this isn’t an issue. The other ingredients are all made relatively quickly. So, it is much faster to make bandeja paisa with leftover beans or canned beans than from dry beans.
I’ll be honest, I am not an expert in making arepas at all. I actually bought the wrong kind of corn flour for this recipe. This is a common mistake, because there is a special flour just for arepas! It’s a precooked cornmeal called masarepa.
What is the difference between masarepa and cornmeal?
Masarepa is cornmeal, but it is fully cooked before it is milled, while cornmeal is milled raw. If you try to make arepas with cornmeal, they will have raw cornmeal in the middle, kind of like when you get dirt in your mouth.
This arepas recipe was highly rated so I went with that. It’s very simple, just water, masarepa, salt, and vegetable oil. Mix it into a dough, divide into balls, then press flat. Fry the patties in a skillet with a little oil, browning both sides. Then, you can cut them in half and fill with anything you want (we only need 1 for the bandeja paisa, so have fun with the leftovers)!
For more Colombian recipes, try my pan de bono (cheesy bread). Or for something Brazilian, coxinhas. Argentina’s fugazzeta is a must try as well. Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, check out over 100 dumpling recipes from around the world!
- ½ cup red beans (cooked)
- ⅓ cup white rice
- ⅙ lb pork belly
- ¼ lb chorizo (or pork sausage)
- ⅙ lb ground beef
- ½ avocado
- 1 egg
- ½ plantain (sliced)
- 1¼ cup water (lukewarm)
- 1 cup masarepa (precooked cornmeal)
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅛ cup vegetable oil
- Mix all arepa ingredients in a mixing bowl. Then divide into golf ball sized balls of dough. Flatten in your hands. Add a tbsp of vegetable oil to a skillet and heat up on medium heat.
- Add the arepas one at a time, fry until side is browned, a few minutes. Flip, brown other side. Remove and pat excess grease off.
- Cook rice according to package, usually bring water to a boil then down to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Slice pork belly into thick bacon, or into smaller chunks. Heat up a skillet on low heat, render fat off the pork belly for about 10 minutes, or until you are satisfied. Turn up to medium and crisp it up. Remove, pat grease, and add salt if desired.
- Add chorizo and ground beef to skillet. Season the beef with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like. Fry until done, about 8 minutes.
- In a separate skillet, heat up a tbsp of vegetable oil on medium heat. Add your plantains and fry until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add an egg to the skillet and fry until done, about 3 minutes.
- Assemble your bandeja paisa and enjoy!