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Fanesca, a Tasty Dish from Ecuador

Marcelo Cadena from Ecuador

Fanesca
Photo: Laylita
Flickr Creative Commons photo

Fanesca is a soup made of grains, legumes, cereals, and fish. The number of grains and legumes we use to cook this soup varies according to the house where it is made, but there are 36 main grains like beans, lima beans, peas, and cereals like corn, barley, and chocho.

Due to the strong influence of the Catholic religion in the Ecuadorian culture, its traditional cuisine is often determined by passages from the Bible, like the passage from the New Testament that explains the death of Jesus.

In this part of the New Testament, we can read how painful Jesus' journey to the mountain was, where he was supposed to die. Ecuadorians think that Jesus made that great effort and suffered to save us. For this reason, they want to show God their sorrow about Jesus's death, so we make a sacrifice for God; we don't eat meat for forty days.

But a week before our sacrifice, we feed ourselves well. That way, we can keep our tradition of eating our meal without meat. During that week we eat a special dish that is very nutritious. It is called Fanesca. It's a soup made of grains, legumes, cereals, and fish. The number of grains and legumes we use to cook this soup varies according to the house where it is made, but there are 36 main grains like beans, lima beans, peas, and cereals like corn, barley, and chocho.

Fanesca is a thick soup, and it is heavier than the second dish that consists only of mashed potatoes and lettuce. It is the most delicious of the Ecuadorian foods. Lamentable, it is only made during one week of the year. 

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