Loche con Chancaca

Loche con Chancaca

David Loftus

Squash with Chancaca Syrup. This is a simple side dish that features sweet, savoury, bitter and sour flavours all marrying beautifully into one. The creaminess of the queso fresco balances the sweet syrup and the grilled edges of the squash. If you are short on time, you can use yacon or maple syrup rather than making the chancaca syrup.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 butternut squash, upper part only, peeled and cut lengthways into 4 wedges
50g queso fresco or feta, crumbled
freshly ground black pepper

For the chancaca syrup (makes about 50ml)

Quantity Ingredient
15g panela, palm sugar, jaggery or light soft brown sugar
1/4 limo chilli
or 1 medium-heat red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
3 black peppercorns

For the salsa criolla

Quantity Ingredient
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 small tomato, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
a few coriander leaves, finely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or an ovenproof skillet over a medium heat. Add the squash and sear for about 2 minutes on each side until well charred all over. If you are not using an ovenproof skillet, transfer the squash to a roasting tin. Put the seared squash in the oven to roast for about 20 minutes until tender.
  3. Meanwhile, make the chancaca syrup. Put all the ingredients into a small saucepan with 10ml of water over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency (about 10 minutes). Remove from the heat and strain the liquid into a bowl.
  4. To make the salsa criolla, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper.
  5. When the squash is ready, put 1 wedge on each plate and pour over equal amounts of the chancaca syrup. Top with some salsa criolla and finish with a sprinkling of crumbled cheese. Serve immediately.
Martin Morales
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