Banana Ball Soup

Tienes aji?” was my catchphrase throughout my trip to Ecuador last year. In every restaurant, I asked if they had hot pepper sauce. It is not that I eat everything spicy, but I do eat things with lots of flavor. Some of the Ecuadorian dishes were delicious; for example, the yapingachos, a fried potato and cheese patty. (Who wouldn’t like that?) Overall, I felt that the food I tasted lacked a lot of flavor.

Not long before my trip I had made a Ecuadorian soup and loved it! Not once did I find it listed on a menu in Ecuador.

I even asked in various restaurants if they could prepare it for me. Out of luck throughout my whole trip!

Now that I have a plethora of plantains in my home, I thought it quite time to make that soup ounce again, and this time spice it up to my liking!


  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of finely chopped onion
  • 3 1/4 cups of beef broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2/3 cup of tomato paste
  • 1 minced jalapeño
  • 2 cups of choclo (or use hominy)
  • 2 ripe plantains, each cut crosswise into 3 pieces
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 pound of ground beef
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup of beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter


  1. While the soup is simmering, prepare the filling by cooking onion and beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add garlic, and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 1/4 cup broth and peanut butter. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thick. Set aside.To prepare soup, heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté 5 minutes or until browned. Add beef broth, water, cumin, salt, tomato paste, and chili pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; add hominy and plantains, and simmer 15 minutes or until plantains are tender.
  2. Remove plantains from soup; let cool slightly. Place plantains in a large bowl; mash with a potato masher until smooth. Add flour to mashed plantains; stir until combined. Add egg; stir until combined. Turn dough out onto a floured surface; knead 3 times. Divide dough into 12 equal portions, shaping each portion into a ball. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), place dough on a floured surface. Flatten; make an indention in center using thumb. Spoon about 1 tablespoon beef mixture into indention. Gather edges to encase filling, pinching to seal. Gently roll, using both hands, to form a ball. Repeat procedure with remaining dough and beef mixture. Add zucchini to the soup and then gently drop balls into simmering broth; cover and cook 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro.

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