Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fritada de gallina

I've been thinking about Ecuadorian food lately, and so I'm very lucky to have found the blog Laylita's Recipes, which has pretty much every recipe I'd ever want to make and wish I'd gotten from my host moms. It's amazing. I've made a lot of things from it before, but it's been a while. I really like how she usually has an intro explaining the Ecuadorian context. She explained in the intro for this dish that while a traditional fritada is usually pork, this is a similar chicken version that would also work for rabbit and guinea pig (cuy). 

It would normally be made with chicha (a fermented corn drink), but that's hard to find around here so you can substitute wine or beer. (Interesting background of chicha: "The original method for making chicha was by chewing corn in one’s mouth, then spitting the chewed corn into a clay pot with spices, fruit juices, water and herbs, where it ferments for several days. The current day method uses ground corn flour (instead of chewed).") When I was making my final project in Ecuador I stayed in a small village for a couple weeks and while I was there some ladies made chicha and roasted cuy for a party - it's at at 5:30 in my video project! Warning: the cuy roasting is pretty graphic for anyone who's ever had a guinea pig for a pet! Beware! :)

This chicken is so tender and the marinade simmers down to a great thick sauce. I served it with llapingachos, a curtido of onions and tomatoes and a salad. And lemonade!

Straight from Laylita's Recipes
Adapted from Michelle O. Fried’s Comidas del Ecuador: Recetas Tradicionales para Gente de Hoy
SummaryFritada de gallina is a delicious and tender chicken dish prepared by cooking chicken in a sauce made with chicha or fermented corn drink, garlic, onion and cumin until the liquid is gone and the chicken is golden brown.


  • ~5 lbs chicken, assorted pieces
  • 2 ½ cups of chicha or 1 cup white wine + 2 cups of orange juice (can also use a mix of beer and orange juice) + ½ tsp ground cinnamon + pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 ½ heads of garlic, 1 head peeled and crushed, the other ½ head peeled and whole
  • 1 white onion, cut in large chunks
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt to taste


  1. Mix the crushed garlic (1 head) and cumin with the chicha or wine/orange juice spice mix.
  2. Marinate the chicken pieces in the liquid marinade mix for at least 1-2 hours, overnight is ideal.
  3. Put the chicken and the marinade in a wok or a large deep sauté pan, add the whole garlic cloves and the chunks of white onion
  4. Cook over medium heat, should be boiling most of the time, for about 1 ½ hours or until the liquid starts to reduce, stir occasionally.
  5. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes, but keep a close eye on it from this point, stir more frequently.
  6. Reduce the heat to low until the liquid is gone and a small amount of grease (from the chicken) replaces the liquid. Stir frequently to keep the chicken from burning and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the chicken pieces are browned.
  7. Serve with fried or baked ripe plantains, llapingachos or potato patties, tomato and red onion curtido salsa, avocado slices and aji or hot sauce. The chicken fritada can also be served with mote or hominy, boiled yuca or rice instead of the potato patties.

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