Bolivian food

Bolivian Beef, Rice, Potatoes and Salad


As Rommy Cornejo Holman, from Cochabamba, Bolivia, taught Lindsay Sterling in North Yarmouth, ME. Photos by David Holman.

Serves: 4
Cooking time: 1 hr


  • 1 c. white rice
  • 3 yukon gold potatoes
  • 3/4 c. breadcrumbs
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • 3/4 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 3 tomatoes
  • about 1/2 cup + 2 tsp canola or sunflower oil
  • 1 jalapeño (in Bolivia she uses locoto peppers, similiar to habañero, w/o seeds)
  • small bunch cilantro (in Bolivia, she would use an herb called quilquina)
  • 4 eggs


  • small to medium pot w/ lid for cooking rice
  • medium pot for boiling potatoes
  • mixing bowl
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • 2 cereal bowls
  • 2 spoons
  • rolling pin
  • 2 dinner plates
  • 2 large saute pans
  • spatula 
  • nonstick pan or egg poacher
  • large platter or sheet pan 
  • paper towels
  • food mill, blender, or food processor (or a bottle of hotsauce)


1. Cook white rice. Put rice in a small to medium pot. Cover rice with 3/4 inch water, bring to a boil, cover, turn to simmer, and cook on low for 20 minutes. 

2. Par-cook the potatoes. In a medium pot cover potatoes with water, bring to a boil, and cook for 5-10 minutes until the potatoes are cooked half way through. The potatoes are soft on the outside but still hard on the inside. 

3. Make the salad topping. Cut one red pepper, one green pepper, one red onion, and one tomato into 1/4-inch cubes and put into a bowl. Make the dressing by mixing 2teaspoons cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons canola or sunflower oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper in a small bowl with a fork. Gently mix the dressing into the salad.

Rommy Holman teaches how to cook her favorite dish.

4. Blend fresh hot sauce. Blend the chili peppers and 2 tomatoes (cut wedges) as briefly as possible to liquify for a fresh hot sauce (or skip this step and use your favorite bottled hot sauce). For hotter sauce, include the seeds of the peppers. For milder, just use the flesh of the peppers. Put the hot sauce in a small bowl with a spoon and put on the table as a condiment.

5. Roll the beef. In a mixing bowl, massage 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper into beef with hands. Separate ground beef into 4 balls. Put the breadcrumbs in a pile on cutting board. Flatten each ball and press both sides into ground beef. Roll with a rolling pin on top of breadcrumbs sprinkled with more fresh pepper. Flip over beef patty and roll again. Continue rolling and flipping until the beef is the thinness of a crepe. Make a stack of four of these on a dinner plate. Wash the cutting board, mixing bowl, your hands, and anything else the raw beef touched.

6. Fry the potatoes. Drain potatoes, cool enough to touch, then slice across the potatoes making 1/4-inch rounds. Heat two large saute pans or flat griddle on medium with 1 Tbsp oil on each. Cook potatoes in a single layer, three to five minutes on each side or as long as it takes to turn the potatoes golden brown. Once the potatoes are golden, cool them on paper towels.

7. Sear the beef. Turn the heat to medium high under the same pan(s) you used to cook the potatoes. Add 1 Tbsp oil to each pan. Once oil is hot, add one beef patty per pan. Flip the beef when the cooked brown color starts replaces about half of the raw pink. Stack cooked beef rolls on a fresh plate, and wash the plate that the raw beef was on. 

8. Fry four eggs, leaving yolks runny. 

9. Assemble the plates. Gather all the components (rice, potatoes, beef, eggs, and salad) near a stack of serving plates. On each plate, put a scoop of rice in the center. Decorate the rim with five potatoes spaced evenly. Put the beef on top of the rice (the potatoes should be poking out from underneath). Put egg on top of beef, and the the colorful salad on top of the egg. Garnish with quilquina or cilantro. Serve with fresh hot sauce on the table as a condiment.