Hogao, also known as criollo sauce (Creole sauce), is a traditional Colombian condiment. With mainly tomatoes and onions cooked in oil, you obtain the most traditional Creole sauce of Colombian cuisine.
Colombian cuisine is a fusion of European and African-American cuisine and practices that have created unique Creole cuisine. This culinary blend is distinguished by the great diversity of the country’s flora and fauna, which has resulted in exquisite and fresh ingredients that allow you to prepare delicious dishes.
What is the origin of hogao?
The hogao has its origins in Spanish sofrito, which is based on garlic, onion and pepper. It is the basis for many stews. In America, it was introduced at the time of the Spanish colonization and this is when the tomato was added.
Sofrito is the fundamental basis of most dishes of Latin American cuisine. Hogao, guiso, recaito, recao, sofrito, ahogao, rehogo. There are many names given by different regions and countries to this sauce prepared with ripe tomato and onion.
In Puerto Rico, it is called recao, and it is made with green chili pepper, onion, garlic, bell pepper and cilantro. In the Dominican Republic, there are onions, tomatoes, paprika, crushed garlic, oregano and black pepper. In Mexico, its ingredients are onion, tomato, garlic and chili. In Argentina, they add a lot of chili and laurel.
The different versions of hogao
Depending on the region, the hogao recipe can vary. In Antioquia, in the north-west of the country, it is prepared with tomato, scallion and salt. In Valle del Cauca, in the southwest, in addition to the above, garlic and paprika are added. In Huila and Tolima, in the north of the country, you will find tomatoes, onions and scallions, garlic, parsley, annatto and cumin. In the highlands, in Cundiboyacense, in the Andes Cordillera, it is prepared with scallion, tomato, butter, milk and grated cheese. In other areas, other products are added, such as chicken broth, cilantro and even oregano.
What is the origin of the word hogao?
The word hogao comes from the expressions ahogar and rehogar which means “choking” or “jumping”, most certainly from the fact that the ingredients are first sautéed before being stewed.
How to make hogao?
To prepare a good hogao, the secret is to simmer on low heat because it allows the combination of ingredients and the fusion of flavors. Ideally, it will be prepared in an oil cauldron, in the traditional Colombian way. The tomato should be ripe and all the ingredients should be as fresh as possible. Hogao can be prepared in large quantities and kept for several days in the refrigerator. It can even be frozen.
Hogao is a perfect example of fusion recipe in Colombia as well as Latin America. Indeed, the tomato, which was domesticated centuries ago in America, is native to the Andes and was widely cultivated by the Aztecs in Mexico. As for the onion, the variety that is traditionally used for a good hogao is onion junca, which is none other than scallion, originally from Southeast Asia and widely grown in Wales. This is a preparation that blends two worlds, which gives one of the best flavors of Colombian and Latin American cuisine.
What is hogao served with?
Considered as the basis of national cuisine, hogao is consumed with several dishes such as these very typical dishes, to only name a few:
– arepa: very popular in Colombia and Venezuela. The arepa is a round bun made with corn meal. They can be eaten plain or filled with meat, beans, cheese or eggs. They are consumed at breakfast as a bread accompanying a dish. Comparable to the famous French baguette, or the Mexican tortilla, it is found on every corner, and each region has its own variant.
– ajiaco: a soup made from several varieties of potatoes, chicken and corn. There are as many recipes as there are regions.
– bandeja paisa: one of the most famous dishes of the country, bandeja paisa is originally from the region Paisa, as its name suggests. It traditionally contains 14 ingredients: red beans, white rice, ground beef, hogao sauce, chicharron, chorizo, black pudding, fried egg, plantain patties, avocados, tomatoes, arepa, mazamorra and panela.
– tamales: made from maize flour dough, tamales are the Amerindian papillotes. Stuffed with meat, fish, cheese or prepared vegetables, they are steamed in large leaves of dried corn, banana or avocado.
– empanadas: famous turnovers throughout South America, empanadas are among the must-haves during a trip to Colombia.
– patacones: Colombia’s most popular recipe. These are fried plantains chips.
– sancocho: a typical Latin American soup, prepared in different ways, depending on the region or country.
As far as we are concerned, we enjoyed this hogao sauce with patacones. A pure treat!
- 3 tomatoes (ripe)
- 1 onion
- 2 scallions
- 1 clove garlic , crushed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Cut the tomatoes, onion, and scallions into medium sized pieces.
- Heat the olive oil and sauté the tomatoes, onion, scallions and garlic for 5 minutes over medium heat.
Reduce heat to low, season with salt and pepper and simmer covered for 30 minutes.
- Let cool, then place in the fridge.