What Is Guatitas?

A. Leverkuhn

Guatitas is a Latin American dish that some would call a soup or stew, or caldo in Spanish. This dish generally involves beef tripe or cow stomach. It is popular in Chile and Ecuador. Guatitas varies according to individual recipes, but generally includes small pieces of beef stomach served with other ingredients for a varied texture.

Guacamole is often served as a side dish with guatitas.
Guacamole is often served as a side dish with guatitas.

One of the distinctive features of guatitas is that locals in the places where it originated consider it an effective cure for the effects of excessive alcohol consumption. Many in Latin America refer to this dish as a “hangover cure.” As a result, the dish came to be served often on weekends, and eaten after a night of heavy drinking.

Tripe may be featured in guatitas.
Tripe may be featured in guatitas.

Although guatitas is traditionally made with tripe, new recipes can be made with vegetarian items like seitan, processed soy, or tofu, which can have a somewhat tripe-like consistency. Other cooks may create more unique guatitas dishes using items like canned tuna. Using alternative ingredients may allow cooks to make this dish more quickly, where cooking tripe often takes up to several hours.

Along with the meat or meat substitute, the dish will often include some stock ingredients common in Latin American cooking. These include garlic as well is cilantro, onion, and lemon juice. Some recipes will also call for peanut butter, which makes the resulting stew thicker and richer. Cooks adding peanut butter to the dish may add it from already prepared canned peanut butter, or crush the whole nuts for a fresher peanut taste. Some who have tried peanut butter versions of the dish claim that this option helps to mask the taste and texture of the tripe for those who do not generally like to eat cow’s stomach.

Various types of stock may make the base for guatitas. Cooks might also add other ingredients like tomato juice. In some cases, oregano or other herbs may also be added. Other versions of the dish utilize more regional vegetables like green bell peppers or hot pepper varieties, which are common in Latin American cooking.

In addition to all of what goes into guatitas, cooks may serve this item with side dishes. One of the most common ones is avocado slices or guacamole. Another common side dish for this soup is white rice, which complements the guatitas in a textural sense.

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