Guatita is an Ecuadorian stew made with tripe cooked in a sauce of potatoes and peanuts. Guatita is one of those dishes that causes predictable reactions: 1) if you’ve had it before you will look at it and your mouth will water (assuming you liked it when you had it). 2) if you haven’t ever had it before and don’t like the idea of eating cow’s stomach or tripe or if you had tripe cook in a different way and didn’t like it, then you might say yuck. Ffinally 3) if you’ve had tripe before and liked it you might be tempted to try this dish. I’ve had tripe in other dishes and I’ve liked it, but it’s one of those ingredients that I can only eat a small amount of because the flavor is very strong. However, tripe prepared this way in a potato peanut sauce with rice and pickled onions is just amazing and I can eat a lot of it. The tripe is cooked and then cut into very small pieces so you aren’t overpowered by the strong distinct taste it has, and the flavor blends in with the taste of the potato peanut sauce. Guatita is served with white rice, curtido or a pickled onions, tomato slices, avocado slices and hot sauce.
Guatita is a typical dish from Ecuador and yes, like most of our typical dishes, it is also known as a great hangover cure (I swear we are not a country of alcoholics, we just like swift recuperation for the occasional time we do drink). In each city, there are restaurants that are known for being the best places to eat guatita, and if you go by one of these restaurants on a Saturday or Sunday morning, you will find them completely packed.
My mom, during her vegetarian phase, used to make this dish with seitan or vegetarian wheat meat. It was one of the few ways she could get us to eat it and it was mainly because the potato and peanut sauce were so tasty. So if you’re looking for an alternative to tripe you can replace it with other ingredients, I’ve made it with tuna (one of those days that I was craving it and only had potatoes , peanut butter and a can of tuna fish available) and it was good; but even if you just want to try tripe once out of curiosity or are ready to give tripe a second chance I recommend that you try this dish, be adventurous as Nicolas (my husband) would say.
To cook the tripe
2 lbs beef tripe
Juice of 1 lemon
10 cups water
5 cilantro sprigs
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
To prepare the tripe stew or guatita
½ cup of peanut butter
2 cups milk
3 tbs butter
1 cup diced red onion, about ½ red onion
2 cups diced white onion, about 1 whole white onion
½ bell pepper, diced
1 tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp achiote or annatto powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
4 medium sized russet potatoes, peeled and diced into small squares
Must have sides: white rice, onion curtido or pickled red onions, tomato slices, avocado slices and aji or hot sauce
- Cover the tripe with juice from half of the lemon, water and salt, let rest for 10 minutes and repeat. Rinse well the last time.
- In a large stock pot, cover the tripe with 10 cups of water, cilantro sprigs, garlic, salt, and cumin, bring to a boil, reduce temperature and simmer until tender, about 2 hours, drain and save 2 cups of the broth.
- Mix the peanut butter with ½ cup of milk to soften it (so that it mixes in better later).
- Dice the tripe into small pieces.
- Prepare a refrito with the butter, achiote, cumin, salt, oregano, chopped onion, bell pepper, tomato and garlic, cook until the onions are translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.
- Blend the refrito, remaining milk and peanut butter sauce to obtain a smooth sauce.
- Place the blended sauce, the 2 cups of reserved tripe broth, the diced potatoes and diced tripe in a large stockpot.
- Bring to a boil, reduce temperature and simmer until the potatoes are tender and the sauce starts to thicken, about 25 minutes.
- Lightly mash some of the potatoes to help thicken the sauce.
- Taste and add salt/pepper if needed.
- Serve with white rice, onion curtido, tomato slices, avocado slices and a good hot sauce.