Lupini This province, with its high peaks, is famous for being the place where the first Spanish town of what is now Ecuador, was founded. It is also well known for the exquisite hornado [roast pork] of Riobamba, a showpiece of the local culinary expertise. Fields full of the dancing purple flowers of the chocho plants (Lupinus mutabilis sweet) embellish the landscape. Chocho, or lupini, is an annual pulse and the seed is commonly used in cooking. The name comes from the Quechua chuchu, meaning nipple or mother’s breast. The seed of this variety of pulses makes a major contribution to Ecuador’s cuisine as it combines good taste with health and nutrition. Chochos are a valuable source of protein and fat, with contents of 14% - 24% and 41% - 51% respectively. The high calcium content means that this seed can provide up to 75% of our overall requirements, so necessary for correct bodily functioning. It is an excellent source of protein of vegetable origin and helps prevent osteoporosis.
After washing and draining the chochos to get rid of their bitter flavour and then cooking and crushing them, the indigenous people would obtain a whitish liquid similar to breast milk in appearance, with which they would feed their little children; just as they would give them quinoa. Preparations such as lupini ceviche, lupini with barley flour, with capulí cherries, boiled corn or toasted corn are all expressions of the good nutrition of the indigenous and mestizo population, and they are returning to the menus of other social circles. Pasta and bread are now being made from lupini flour. A good, highland-style ceviche with chochos and seafood, as well as the famous fanesca soup, are typical ways that this seed is part and parcel of Ecuador’s national cuisine.