Jopara, an Argentinian Recipe of Biodiversity

10 Feb 2020

Angeles and Saul fell deeply in love with the extensive biodiversity of Posadas, in Misiones, Argentina, and decided to open their restaurant Hoy Cocino Yo in 2010. “Seeing such abundance in the street, fruits, edible weeds, was a dream.”

They stopped using imported or industrial products from large suppliers, and began to gradually incorporate local products. “We got to know the free trade fairs, products harvested the same day, from the producer to our hands, and that radically changed our way of thinking. At first, it was difficult, culturally, since very little local production was consumed in the gastronomic field in Misiones, many typical things for the general public were ‘rare’. ”

They dedicated themselves to directly investigating the natural wealth of the region, “Reading and touring the province showed us biodiversity, abundance and incredible products that are not commercialized, it led us to foraging.”

The menu of Hoy Cocino Yo changes every 3 months, adapting to what they find in their area. The cocktail bar is 100% regional, and changes with the seasonal menu. “We base our cusine heavely on the native foods, we use the mbya culture and its cuisine, native fruits, a variety of wild mushrooms, weeds and edible flowers.”

“We seek to give added value to the native forest to protect it, always taking into account practices to make it sustainable and replant what is at risk of getting lost, not only in the mountains, but also in the city’s neighborhoods. ”

They seek to create economic-social awareness, offering good food, fresh, tasty and seasonal. Supporting the farms, “We consume EVERYTHING that is planted in Missions. We are looking for an organic, agrotoxic-free, local agriculture with a fair price for the entire chain. ”

They also support human biodiversity through what they call “Crucible of Cultures” where they merge the raw material and cooking techniques of the different cultures that inhabit Missions. “We cook on blackberry stone, in tacuara, we smoke, ferment, we make different types of preserves, seeking to make the most of that seasonal raw materials that nourish our kitchen. ”

Angeles and Saul also support the community’s efforts through social projects, “We work on a Guarani cuisine project called Tatarendy, with a community in the center of the province. The cultural exchange is very enriching for us and we try to give back all that we receive. ”

They also share important information about local products in their blog De la Tierra Colorada, giving scientific name of the products, different uses in the kitchen, history and social relationship with the environment. “We do not know where we are going if we do not know where we come from, from the food we try to focus our own love base, for the land we step on, for our family and our natural environment.”

Dish: Jopara

The jopara is a stew based on Avatí (corn) and Kumanda (beans), more seasonal tubers and vegetables, and meat if desired.

The KARAÍ OCTOBER is a Guarani legend about a kind of evil goblin that goes house by house controlling that each family has resources to spend during this time of replanting the basic supplies of this region.

Jopara happens every October 1 with everything that the garden offers us in the harvest season, adding some game meat. This legend says that if the karaí enters your house it will leave 1 year of hunger and hardships. With the big pot on fire the Karaí will see that you were cautious and saved seeds for the next season and will not pass through your door.

This year for our jopara we have 9 kinds of beans, 5 native and Creole corn, we also have cassava, sweet potato, onion, oregano and parsley, plus wild mushrooms.

The jopara is the “mixture” necessary to talk about sovereign food, because the seeds are the future of the people and diversity is the way forward.

Our jopara:

Cassava and sweet potato cut into larger cubes

Beans and corn several, hydrated since last night

Pumpkin and various vegetables cut into cubes 4x4cm

Mushrooms, chopped

Stir fry: Onion, garlic, celery and leek, finely chopped

Herbs

Process:

-In a hot pot add a jet of neutral oil

-Add the mushrooms, and saute until well browned

-Reduce heat and add the sauce, taking care not to burn, until golden brown.

-Add the beans and corn and a little water, and cook until the beans begin to soften.

-Add the cassava, sweet potato and vegetables, with the heat being medium, rectify salt and pepper, and stir periodically so that it does not stick.

 

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