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August 5


Saint of the day:
The Dark Virgin of the Lake

Patron Saint of Bolivia and Bolivian people, Bolivian Navy, National Police of Bolivia

The Dark Virgin of the Lake

Our Lady of Copacabana, also known as the Dark Virgin of the Lake, is revered in Bolivia for a series of miracles she worked in the area. According to legend, in 1576, some fisherman were caught in a horrific storm on Lake Titicaca. As they prayed for their lives, the Virgin Mary appeared and guided them to safety. To show their gratitude, the fishermen built a large shrine housing a statue of the Virgin sculpted by Tito Yupanqui; a man who experienced his very own sighting of the Virgin in the same year the storm occurred. The Virgin Mary appeared in a dream to Yupanqui, who at the time wasn’t a sculptor. He was so moved by the vision that he learned how to sculpt the hand-carved, now venerated, statue. Upon completion, Yupanqui carried the statue 400 miles on foot to Copacabana where he placed it in a chapel. It is said that the crops of those who doubted the statue’s power were destroyed. To this day, the four-foot statue remains safely inside the Basilica de Virgen de la Candelaria, as celebrants believe if they take her outside, there is a risk of another turbulent storm occurring. On festival days, an elaborately dressed replica is taken out instead. Our Lady of Copacabana is the patron saint of Bolivia. She is venerated in Bolivia during her feast day of 2 February, the day of the Purification of Mary, or feast of the Virgen de la Candelaria. She is also venerated on 5 August with her own liturgy and popular celebration.
Our Lady of Copacabana artist unknown








Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana, Copacabana, Bolivia







Sonso de Yuca

Sonso de yuca is a popular Bolivian side dish made from cassava mash and grated cheese set around a skewer, which can be grilled, baked, or fried.


  • 3 pounds cassava

  • 1 pound mozzarella (or similar cheese), grated

  • 1 pound hard cheese (Edam or Gouda), grated

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1½ tablespoon milk (warm)

  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

  • Salt


  • Bamboo skewers (8 inches)

  • Grill


1.Wash the cassava roots thoroughly and peel them, then cut into small cubes.

2.Rinse under cold water. Place the cassava in a saucepan and cover with cold water, then add salt and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 35 minutes.

3.Drain and purée cassava with a potato masher.

4.Mix the cassava and the grated cheeses and knead them by hand.

5.While kneading, add the butter, egg, and milk gradually. The cheeses are salty, so season lightly with salt.

6.Knead well until obtaining a homogeneous and slightly firm dough.

7.Divide the mixture in 8 to 10 balls.

8.Spread the balls of mashed cassava around half of each skewer, leaving a small empty space at the top of the skewer.

9.Place the skewers on a hot grill or griddle until the cassava is golden brown.

10.Once the sonsos de yuca are golden brown and hot, place them on a flat surface to let them cool slightly before eating.




Salteñas (Bolivian Baked Empanadas)

Bolivian salteñas are baked empanadas with a sweet and buttery crust and
a juicy chicken filling or jigote with potatoes, chili peppers, raisins, and olives.




  • 1/2 chicken breast, skinless and boneless (11 ounces)

  • 2 quarts water

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  • 1/2 onion, minced

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced

  • 2 habaneros, minced (optional)

  • 1/4 cup green peas, peeled and cooked

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • 1 potato, peeled and diced (9 ounces)

  • 1-1/2 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin, ground

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin

  • 3 tablespoons of water

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced

  • 20 green olives


  • 4 cups flour 

  • 3/4 cups sugar 

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons annatto or achiote seeds, ground

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1/2 cup lard or butter

  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of water 


  1. Filling: In a pot, add chicken breast and 2 quarts of water. Boil until chicken is cooked. Remove it and cool on a plate, then shred it. Strain the broth, and reserve 3 cups for later use.

  2. Clean the pot and sauté the onion, green peppers, garlic, parsley, and chili if using for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add shredded chicken, chicken broth (3 cups), peas, raisins, potatoes, sugar, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and bay leaf. Once it starts to boil, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

  3. While that is simmering, in a small bowl add the gelatin with 3 tablespoons of water at room temperature, mix and let it sit for a couple of minutes.

  4. After 5 minutes of simmering, taste and see if you need more salt or more chili; remove the bay leaf and add the gelatin. Mix well and cook for 1 more minute and turn off the heat.

  5. Let it cool a bit in the pot and then move to an airtight container. Add the eggs, mix and chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

  6. Dough: In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, annatto, egg yolk, and lard. Add the water at room temperature, mix until everything comes together.

  7. On a flat, floured surface, knead for 10 minutes, or until smooth. (If you have a mixer, you can use it to knead).

  8. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Cover it with a damp cloth.

  9. After resting, divide the dough into 20 equal portions about 2 ounces.

  10. Working with one portion of dough at a time, form an even ball with circle movements between the palm of the hand and a flat surface.

  11. Place the dough on a plate, or on parchment paper (the color can dye the container), and cover with a damp cloth for 20 minutes.

  12. Working with one portion at a time, roll each ball out onto a flat, floured surface. They should be about 5 inches in diameter, and 1/8 inch thick.

  13. Place the empanada discs in an airtight bag or container (remember that the color will dye the container, but you can cover it with parchment paper so that this does not happen) and store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

  14. How to fill: Take out only 5 empanada discs at a time, and a little filling. Try to keep the rest in the fridge.

  15. If the empanada disc has a lot of flour on the edges, wet your fingertips and run a little water around it.

  16. Place an empanada disc in one hand or a plate, add 1 tablespoon and a half of the filling, and an olive. Bring the edges of the middle together and press with your fingers. Keep pressing the edges, but leave a 1/4-inch gap at one end.

  17. With both hands, press the salteña (like hugging it) so that the air comes out. Press tip that was still open, to close.

  18. With your index finger and thumb, press the entire edge again.

  19. To seal, press with your thumb and index finger, fold the corner over the edge into a triangle, and press again. Continue until the entire salteña is sealed. Bring the tip and fold it underneath the salteña.

  20. Place salteñas on a greased baking tray with the seal or repulgue facing upwards. Leave a space 2 inches between each salteña.

  21. Brush each salteña with a mixture of 1 egg white + 2 tablespoons of water.

  22. Heat the oven to 470’F degrees. In a gas oven, it sometimes takes 20 to 40 minutes.

  23. Bake the salteñas for 20 minutes and serve hot with a strawberry, banana, or peach batido (milk, fruit, and sugar).



Bolivian Peanut Soup


  • 2 cups raw peanuts 

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 10 chicken legs

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 green pepper, diced

  • 4 tablespoons parsley, minced

  • 12 cups of water or chicken broth 

  • 3 carrots, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

Serve with french fries, Llajua sauce and a French baguette


  1. Soak peanuts for 5 minutes in a bowl with hot water. Drain.

  2. Blend half of the peanuts with 2 cups of water for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth. Repeat the same step with the other half.

  3. In a large pot, heat the oil and seal chicken over high heat. Remove from the pot and keep aside while preparing the rest of the food.

  4. Using the same pot, saute the onion, garlic, green peppers, and parsley for 3 minutes.

  5. Add the peanut mixture, the rest of the water or chicken broth and the carrots. Once it boils, cook for 20 minutes on low heat; stir every 5 minutes (the broth usually rises, as when heating milk, and overflows the pan ... keep an eye on it!)

  6. Add salt, pepper, and oregano.

  7. After 20 minutes add chicken legs and cook for 15 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.

Recipe Notes

If you add peas and potatoes, add them together with the peanut mixture and carrots.

If you add pasta, add it 10 minutes before turning off the heat.

If you add rice, add it 15 minutes before turning off the heat.

If you want a lighter, no so thick soup, add more water or chicken broth.

Llajua (Spicy Bolivian Salsa)


  • 2 large jalapenos minced if you don't like it too spicy, remove the seeds.

  • 2 large tomatoes diced finely

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

  • 1 tablespoon red onion minced finely

  • Salt


  1. Mix all ingredients together and add salt to taste.

  2. You could also put the ingredients in a blender or food processor.

  3. Serve as a condiment to any Bolivian recipe




Bolivian Cinnamon Sorbet also known as the Sorrow Remover because it is suppose to left one’s spirits

Helado de Canela (Cinnamon Sorbet)


  • 2 1/2 cups water

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 tablespoon cold water

  • 1/2 tablespoon corn starch

  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice


  1. Boil the 2 1/2 cups of water with cinnamon until the water turns color and reduces slightly.

  2. Add sugar and boil for five minutes

  3. Dissolve the cornstarch in the tablespoon of cold water and add to the sugar water.

  4. Cook for another 5 minutes

  5. Remove from the heat and let cool

  6. Add in the lemon juice.

  7. Strain and Put the mixture in the freezer

  8. Before it gets completely frozen stir the sorbet so it does not get too hard

  9. Repeat a couple more times until it is ready.

  10. In Bolivian this sorbert is very red in color so one could add food coloring to get a real Bolivian looking Helado de Canela.


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