More than just a hat and a canal, Panama has a unique national dish to offer: sancocho. In a way, it’s ‘just’ a chicken stew, but it’s not like one we’ve made before. For one thing, we’d never heard of culantro until we read about this dish. Don’t misread, either: that didn’t say cilantro (American for coriander). Apparently culantro is altogether different whilst not being dissimilar – in fact, it’s known as ‘cilantro’s pungent cousin’. It’s also what gives sancocho its distinct flavour and green hue. Unfortunately, it’s not something we were able to get hold of, so we had to use cilantro/coriander anyway. If you do make this substitute, use more cilantro than you would culantro.
Despite it being the national dish of Panama, if you do a Google search for ‘sancocho recipe’ the first page of results is made up on recipes from Colombia, Dominica and Puerto Rico, so we moved on to page two and chose the first recipe that actually mentioned Panama, which was on 196 Flavors. Continue reading