As is customary in many Latin cultures, at noon during the week my family would get together for ‘almuerzo’ (lunch).  The almuerzo would be our main meal of the day, and we would all come home from school or work to share it together.  One of the dishes that was always welcome was Silpancho.  Silpancho is a popular Bolivian dish that comes from the Cochabamba region of the country.  While Silpancho is a regional specialty, you can easily find restaurants that serve Silpancho almost anywhere in Bolivia.  

Silpancho consists of rice, fried sliced potato, a fried piece of pounded steak, coated in breadcrumbs, a tomato salsa and is always finished with a fried egg.  A heavy meal by all accounts (and certainly not for carb watchers) but as it is generally eaten mid day we normally have all day to work it off.  

If you have the opportunity to visit Bolivia, you will see that the meat portion is so large that it will almost be spilling over the sides of the plate.  Since we were having ours for dinner we made a smaller portion as you can see.  Make the portions as large or as small as you like but you will find that even a little bit of meat will go a long way – as you pound it, you will notice that a simple steak grows fast, and can be used to serve several people dinner.  We hope you enjoy it.  

Ingredients / Ingredientes

For the meat / Para la carne

  • 2 Steaks, preferable thin cuts  / filetes de carne bien delgados
  • 150 grams bread crumbs / harina de pan
  • Salt and pepper to taste / sal y pimienta al gusto
  • 2 Tbs canola oil / cucharadas de aceite
  • 2 Eggs / huevos

Rice and potatoes / Arroz y papas

  • 1 Cup white rice / taza de arroz
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil / cucharada de aceite de oliva
  • 1 Garlic / ajo
  • 2 Cups of water / tazas de agua
  • Pinch of salt / pizca de sal
  • 1 Potato / papa
  • 1/2 cup of canola oil / taza de aceite


  • 1 Tomato / tomate
  • 1/2 Red onion / cebolla
  • 1 Jalapeño / jalapeños o locotos picantes
  • 1/2 Tbs olive oil / cucharada de aceite de oliva
  • 1/2 Tbs white vinegar / cucharada de vinagre
  • Pinch of salt / pizca de sal

Instructions / Instrucciones

  • For the salsa that accompanies the Silpancho dice the tomato, onion and jalapeño, mix together in a bowl with the olive oil, vinegar and pinch of salt.  Set aside in the fridge while preparing the rest of the meal. / Para la ensalada que va a estar encima del Silpancho tienes que cortar finamente el tomate, cebolla y jalapeño. Poner en un recipiente y mezclar agregando la sal, aceite de oliva y vinagre. Poner al refrigerador mientras preparas lo demás.

Silpancho, pounding the steak

  • Place a sheet of parchment paper over a flat surface and place the meat on top of the parchment. Cover the entire steak with some bread crumbs and salt and pepper.  Place another sheet of parchment paper over the meat and start pounding the steak as much as you can, you will want the meat the be as thin and large as possible. Turn the meat to the other side, add more bread crumbs and salt and pepper and keep pounding. this will take about 15 to 20 minutes. The bread crumbs will keep the meat from breaking apart so keep adding bread crumbs as you go.  When the steak is at your preferred thickness, set aside. / Colocar papel pergamino sobre una superficie plana y poner la carne encima con la harina de pan, sal y pimienta. Poner encima otro papel pergamino y comienza a golpear la carne hasta que esté bien delgada y haya crecido. Volcar la carne y agregar harina de pan, sal y pimienta y continuar golpeando la carne. En todo momento agregar más harina de pan ya que así la carne no se romperá en pedazos. Poner a un lado cuando esté listo.
  • To cook the rice add some olive oil to a pan over medium heat, once the oil is heated, add the minced garlic and cook for about 10 seconds. Add the rice and let it cook with the garlic and olive oil until it gets toasted – continue to stir the rice to avoid burning.  moving the rice around the pan should change the color to a light brown – this will take between 3 and 4 minutes.  Add the water and let it cook uncovered until done. / Para cocinar el arroz poner en la olla el aceite de oliva y cuando esté caliente agregar el ajo molido o cortado finamente y cocinar por 10 segundos. Poner el arroz y cocinarlo junto al aceite y ajo por 3 a 4 minutos, batiendolo constantemente para no quemarlo. Podrás ver que el arroz cambia de color, agregar el agua y dejar cocinar hasta que esté listo.

Silpancho, toasted rice, salsa

  • Peel the potato and boil it whole for 10 minutes, remove the potato from the boiling water and slice into pieces a quarter of an inch thick. You will see that the potato is not completely cooked through but don’t you worry because you will cook it more later. / Cortar la papa y ponerla a hervir por 10 minutos, sacarla del agua y cortarla en rebanadas, puedes ver que la papa aún está un poco cruda pero no te preocupes porque la cocinarás más luego.
  • Add the oil to a fry pan and set over medium heat, when hot add the potatoes and fry them until golden brown. Transfer the potatoes to paper towels to drain excess oil / Freir las papas hasta que estén doradas y poner a un lado sobre toallas de papel.
  • To cook the meat you won’t need a lot of oil.  You can reuse some of the oil from the potatoes. I would say 2 Tbs oil of will be perfect but you can use less, as long as you can cook the meat with it. / Para cocinar el Silpancho no necesitas mucho aceite, puedes reutilizar el aceite en el cual freistes las papas y si es mucho puedes sacar y dejar sólo dos cucharadas de aceite.
  • Fry the Silpancho until golden brown. Don’t forget that it will cook fast, there’s not much meat and it is thin. When ready remove from the pan and place onto paper towels to drain any excess oil / Freir el Silpancho hasta que esté dorado. No te olvides de que cocinará super rápido debido a que la carne es delgada. Cuando esté listo colocar sobre papel toalla.
  • Fry the eggs over easy with a little bit of olive oil / Freir los huevos.
  • This recipe serves two people but if you will like to serve more people just add more steaks and eggs depending of the number of persons you are having. / Esta receta es para dos personas pero si quieres para más personas solo aumenta más carne y huevos a la receta.

Plating Silpancho

  • To serve your Silpancho, start the plate off with a mound of rice, add the sliced potatoes, the meat, the eggs and top it all off with a spoonful of the salsa. Serve immediately… and enjoy! /  Poner arroz en el plato, encima las papas, la carne el huevo y el ensalada . Servir caliente, Provecho!

Silpancho... provecho!