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Food diplomacy at its best

Food diplomacy at its best

Maneesh Bakshi

THANKS to her mother was a passionate cook and father a military man. The nature of the job of the bread winner, the family was constantly on the move and Pamela grew up watching her mother expanding her repertoire of Ecuadorian cuisine as the family moved from region to region in Ecuador.
Pamela Godoy, besides being the wife of an Ecuadorian diplomat, is an expert cook and has proved her mettle on many occasions, especially during the Ecuadorian food festival organised by the embassy of Ecuador in collaboration with the Diplomatic Club in the recent past.
Godoy had prepared the food for over 200 guests with the support of kitchen staff of the Diplomatic Club as part of a cultural event to introduce Ecuadorian food during the gourmet dinner hosted for food lovers of Qatar. “It was a challenging task to select the menu and cook dishes that can truly represent the diverse Ecuadorian cuisine which are of four different types.” According to Godoy, the types are influenced by the geographical diversity of the country. There are cuisines of the coastal region, the mountainous region, the region of Amazon jungles and the region of Galapagos Islands.
Influenced by the large indigenous population of the country, Ecuadorian food includes a lot of rice, beans, potatoes and yucca (a root similar to potato) — plus fresh fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes and onions are a part and parcel of almost every meal, and dinner is not dinner unless there’s a soup course precedes it.
Ceviche de camaron (shrimp ceviche), one of the best-known Ecuadorian foods the world over, is an acidic, cold dish like soup but not a soup. “It belongs to the coastal region, often eaten by people at the beach, alongside popcorn,” she told Qatar Tribune.
“A typical Ceviche requires some shrimps, onions and tomatoes mixed with orange juice and squeezed fresh lime juice and a few secret ingredients,” she said jokingly. Ceviche, a standard Ecuadorian starter, can be made with fish and other seafood.
What goes into coooking of a typical Ecuadorian food? “Ecuadorian food is cooked slow, with love, and best eaten with family or friends. It may take all day, but the end result is well worth it.
Many of the ingredients such as white corn and many spices are brought from Ecuador to catch the authentic taste and aroma of Ecuadorian cuisine,” she said.
“Our cuisine is unique in many ways. Many of the names of our dishes are common in other Spanish-speaking Latin American countries such as Mexico, Panama, Peru, but our style is totally different from them.” “We have a variety of ways of cooking rice and extensive use of banana, onion, tomatoes, and corn to name some of the ingredients in our cooking,” she said.
A teacher by profession, Godoy inherited the passion for cooking from her mother. She has moved to all corners of the world.
“I consider myself lucky to get an opportunity to move to many different countries and know their customs and food habits. Being a foodie, I try my best to learn cuisines of different countries. I have lived in China and India before coming to Qatar,” she said.
“I have done courses in Italian, Indian, Mexican and Peruvian cuisines. It is always wonderful to discover a new taste. Having been in Qatar for two years now, I have been exposed to some Arabian food and am looking forward to doing a extensive course to learn the nuances of local cuisine,” she said.
So, if you are a taste adventurer looking for something new and exotic, or simply a lover of delicious dishes made with the freshest ingredients, your quest will end with Ecuador’s cuisine which has something for everyone to relish and pamper the taste buds with.

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