If you are not familiar with South and Central American cuisine, you have probably never heard of loroco. Even if you are a big fan of food from countries like El Salvador and Guatemala, you may have eaten it without even knowing what it was!
Loroco (Fernaldia pandurata) is a type of widespread herbaceous vine that grows in Central America and the north of South America. In many countries in the area, loroco is considered to be a crucial source of food and is used in a variety of dishes.
Some recipes (such as pupusa) are known for being stuffed with flower buds from this plant, but there are many other recipes to consider, too!
What Exactly Is Loroco?
Loroco is a perennial plant that is widely cultivated in high altitudes of South and Central America. It does well in subtropical and tropical regions and can grow as tall as six meters (20 feet).
Here, flower buds make up an integral part of people’s diets and are frequently used in a number of recipes. The primary locations for this plant include El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, but it does grow in neighboring countries, too.
The plants bloom from April to June and produce beautiful star-shaped, cream-colored flowers with five petals. This plant belongs to the Apocynaceae family. This is the same family that contains plants such as common milkweed, frangipani, and bloodflower.
It has notably woody stems and feathery leaves, and the fruit it grows has the appearance of a strange green capsule that contains seeds. The flavor of these capsules is pleasantly nutty, and it has a crunchy texture.
Flowers are often used in dishes like stews and soups in Central and South America but are also frequently used in salads and desserts, too. Their potent grassy smell can be hit or miss, depending on your preferences!
What Does Loroco Taste Like?
Loroco has a pleasant earthy flavor with a notable woody note. However, there is also a slightly tart or acidic aftertaste that you can’t get away from.
Many people who have tried this explain this ingredient as being a combination between chard, broccoli, and asparagus, with a slightly nutty flavor and creaminess.
Fresh and dried loroco have a pleasant flavor, but the ingredient becomes bland when pickled or frozen, so be wary of this if you choose to use it! When cooked, loroco becomes slightly sweeter and the nutty flavor becomes more noticeable.
With that being said, loroco is frequently enjoyed raw, where it gets chopped and combined with salt to make it taste similar to sour candy.
How Is Loroco Prepared?
Loroco is usually prepared either by steaming, boiling, or stir-frying, depending on the dish. You may also enjoy them raw, and the buds can be sliced and added to salads and similar dishes. This ingredient can even be used as a pizza topping, so it is very versatile.
What Do You Serve Loroco With?
Most people will serve loroco with pupusa, so, if you have had that, you might have already tried it! Loroco will be prepared and used as an option for stuffing the bread, usually alongside other things like vegetables, cheese, and various types of meat.
It is also common for loroco to be served with a type of cream sauce, which can be enjoyed over all your favorite dishes – including fish and chicken! In most cases, you will notice that this ingredient does not get cooked for extended periods of time.
Where Can You Get Loroco?
If you would like to try loroco for yourself, we have some bad news. While it would not be impossible to get your hands on this ingredient, it would be challenging. That is, unless you live in Central or South America already.
In some cases, you might be able to find jarred or canned loroco at your local Mexican store, or another South or Central American store in the area. Alternatively, you may need to get online to find what you are looking for.
Getting this ingredient fresh is notoriously difficult if you do not live in Central or South America, or anywhere else where the plant is cultivated. The buds have a very short shelf life, which makes exporting them more of a challenge than it would be worth.
Loroco Recipes To Try Out
If you can get your hands on loroco, we have some recipe suggestions that you should be sure to try out. Any of these recipes will give you a fantastic experience with the ingredient, and keep you coming back for more.
- Total time: 50 minutes
- Number of ingredients: 5
- Skill level needed to make it: beginner
You’ve heard about the pupusa recipe, now you can make it yourself! Take a look at this one, and love it as much as we do. It’s impossible not to! Ingredients needed:
- Cornmeal flour (1 lb)
- Loroco (½ lb)
- String or Layered cheese (½ lb)
- Olive oil
Total time: 45 minutes
Number of ingredients: 13
Skill level needed to make it: beginner
Love the idea of chicken and loroco? Try this easy and delicious dish. It’s ready in just 45 minutes, and we guarantee that it is something that you will keep coming back to time and time again. Ingredients needed:
- Chicken (whole chicken, cut up)
- Heavy cream (1 ½ cups)
- Loroco buds (5 oz)
- Butter (1 tablespoon)
- Garlic (fresh, 1 clove)
- White onion (½ cup)
- Leek (white part only)
- Sweet red pepper (¼ cup)
- Celery (½ cup)
- Pepper (⅛ teaspoon)
- Salt (1 teaspoon)
- Bay leaf (1)
- Thyme (3 fresh sprigs)
- Total time: 30 minutes
- Number of ingredients: 2
- Skill level needed to make it: beginner
Want to try a delicious loroco dip? This recipe is so easy, takes just 30 minutes, and needs three ingredients! It is impossible to go wrong with a recipe like this, so feel free to add any additional spices and seasonings you like if you would like to make it your own. Ingredients needed:
- Cream cheese (4 oz)
- Loroco (2 oz)
- Salt to taste
Loroco is a unique plant that grows in Central and South America. Its bud is frequently used in cooking and has a distinct grassy and nutty flavor.
While unusual, it is very pleasant and can be used in a versatile manner, for both sweet and savory dishes depending on how it is prepared.
If you can get your hands on this ingredient, make sure to try out some different recipes! You might just fall in love with it as much as we have.