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You are viewing blog entries tagged tropical.

La Receta del Dia: Keki de Coco y Miel (de Panama) edit

...Bueno, bueno...ha llegado la hora en que finalmente les presento una receta que me piden muy a menudo mis lectores: "Keki de coco y Miel", muy similar al que tradicionalmente se vende en las panaderias y dulcerias de Panama (...quizas hasta mejor!). Todos (o casi todos) los que hemos tenido la dicha de vivir en este hermoso pais, tenemos memorias de cuando hemos devorado una de estas galletas con sabor profundo a miel de caña, señorial, maravilloso. Y del coco, que les digo: tostado es mejor por su aroma y sabor tropical...hmmm, que tiene matrimonio perfecto con el jengibre fresco, para no olvidar lo picoso.

El asunto es que de buscar y buscar me canse entre mis recetas. De preguntar a mis amigos y familia...a todo el mundo, quede exhausta tambien, triste, pues nadie me supo dar una tradicional receta para keki, keke, quequi, kequi, Queki...o como lo gusten llamar. Por lo que como toda una inventora, creativa de la cocina...me dispuse HOY a preparar Keki!

Entonces...sin mas preambulo, aqui les va:


Rinde: 18 galletas

8 onzas (1/2 libra) de mantequilla sin sal

1 taza de azucar

4 huevos grandes

16 onzas de harina (1 libra)

2 cucharaditas de polvo de hornear

1 cucharadita de canela molida

1 cucharadita de clavito de olor molido

1 pizca de sal

1 taza (8 onzas) de miel de caña (unsulphured molasses)

1 cucharadita de ralladura de jengibre fresco

1 taza y 1/2 de coco rallado seco, tostado


1. Batir la mantequilla con el azucar hasta que este cremoso. Incorporar los huevos uno a uno, batiendo bien despues de cada adicion.

2. Cernir la harina, polvo de hornear, sal, canela en polvo y clavito molido. Agregar poco a poco a la mezcla alternando con la miel de caña o molasses, batiendo bien despues de cada adicion.

3. Incorporar la ralladura de jengibre y el coco seco tostado. Batir hasta que este bien mezclado. Dejar enfriar en el congelador por 20 minutos.

4. Pre-calentar el horno a 350 por 10 minutos por lo menos.

5. Engrasar 2 bandejas (cookie sheets) con aceite en spray y retirar la masa de los kekis del congelador.

6. Con una cuchara grande o una cuchara para servir helados, sacar porciones de la masa de keki y poner en las bandejas bien separadas. Yo diria que unas 6 por bandeja.

7. Hornear por 15 minutos o hasta que los bordes esten doraditos (hay que estar muy pendientes). Remover del horno enseguida y dejar refrescar en la bandeja por 5 minutos. Luego, remover de la bandeja y colocar en una parrilla para terminar de enfriar por completo.

Chef M

  • by Chef Melissa
  • February 04, 2005
  • 7:07 pm

La Receta del Dia: Cake de Yuca al Chocolate y Coco (Mandioca-Chocolate and coconut cake with Vanill edit

Yuc You might know about this root by a different name. Does "mandioca", "cassava", "manioc" or "yuca" sound familiar? The root, very starchy food by all means, was used in the past as a starch for ironing at the Chinese dry cleaners in Panama City, Republic of Panama.

I also remember a home-made glue made from "almidon de yuca", or "cassava starch"....Thank God it was not toxic, because, ...to tell you the truth: I ATE it many times.

If by now it hasn't crossed your mind, well I have to confess one more thing: Yes, I was the one that always TASTED everything at the "chemistry lab", ...the one who preferred to burn her tongue, instead of saying "NO!" to the possibility of enjoying ONE more tasty earthly delicacy. Or, who knows -- those chemistry lab "things" -- where they came from smile

In Latin America "yuca" is dear to our heart,...because it is used to make delicious soups, breads, cookies and cakes, among other yummy things. My last scrumptious recipe using yuca was "Yuca Croquettes with Chorizo and Tamarind Sauce", and now it is time to share with you this fantastically exotic recipe to make "Cake de Yuca al Chocolate y Coco", or Mandioca-Chocolate cake with coconut milk. Once you try it , it will have secured a very special place in your recipe drawer. I Promise it!

yuca cassava mandioca tapioca recipe receta chef melissa panama cookbook recetario panamagourmet cooking diva cooking diva personal chef uspca uspci chocolate personal chef melissa de leon douglass restaurant restaurante
  • by Chef Melissa
  • November 19, 2005
  • 8:00 am

La Receta del Dia: Camarones al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic Sauce, Panamanian Style) edit

Aj_2 Today's QUESTION: "Why is True Love like STRANSKY Steel Ware? Visit Tasty Design to know the answer!

Now, lets talk garlic:

The use of garlic is just about as old as man himself. And the herb's medicinal properties have been known for about as long. Immigrants in the early part of the past century, and our ancestors from pioneer stock, where quite happy to eat a clove or two of garlic whenever they needed an energy boost or simply to fight off a cold.

If you look through the ancient stories from just about any part of the world, you will find garlic mentioned as a curative and tonic, able to help solve minor medical conditions and a few major ones as well.

Without doubt, garlic helps digestion and elimination. Country after country, story after story all relate to garlic's ability to soothe the stomach and cleanse the system. How else do you explain the same stories cropping up in Spain, in India, in Egypt, in Iceland, everywhere there are written records? These stories did not travel from one geographic region to another. Each was created in the country of origin, and was based on the simple, empirical fact that when you give people garlic they generally get better!

If you are a garlic lover like me, do not miss my previous post and recipe: "The Joy of Garlic: Olive Roasted Head of Garlic". Besides keeping you all healthy, you will keep vampires and mosquitos away. That comes really handy sometimes!

Now, the scrumptious recipe to prepare "Camarones al Ajillo, Panamanian Style!"


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  • by Chef Melissa
  • November 25, 2005
  • 6:31 pm

Luscious Thai Curry Chocolate Truffles & Tamales Panamanian Style edit

Are you ready for something new and seductive? This is your lucky day because my recipe to prepare "Luscious Thai Curry Truffles" is being featured at The Gilded Fork.

This is an unusual combination of sweet flavors with spicy, hot sensations. Traditionally, cuisines from temperate regions of the world, as such as Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Mediterranean have always combined these ingredients. This time we are celebrating these aphrodisiac flavors in the form of truffles. Be sure to allow yourself two days to craft this recipe, as the truffles need to sit overnight in the refrigerator.

Tamal4_1 Some of you may have already read my previous post about tamales: The Corn-Quest tales "1", and "2." If you haven't, I invite you to take a look so you understand the motivation behind this tamale project.

I only hope this recipe arrives just in time for The Passionate Cook to prepare some tamales with the fresh corn ears that Cook Sister brought from Mexico as a gift for her. Otherwise, I'll send you some from Panama smile

The secret to prepare the most flavorful tamales, is to follow our ancestor's traditions and to think of the process as an act of love and preservation of our culture. The tamales are a reflection of our Latin American diversity, and no doubt they are an element that portrays unity among all the Latin American countries, and wherever their people are.

The tamale is a traditional food made from "maize masa", cooked and stuffed with different ingredients that vary from country to country.  The materials used to wrap and secure them also change in every culture.

Tamal1_1 What makes the Panamanian tamale different from others is the filling and the rich "sofrito" that adds not only color, but an unique taste to it. We wrap the tamales in banana leaves and bijao leaves for the flavor.  "Bijao", or "Platanillo", Heliconia bihai L., is a shrub that grows wild in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its flowers are called  "false bird of paradise" and add the exotic touch to the local flower arrangements.

In Panama, tamales are always present during Christmas and New Year's celebrations, as well as in parties and weddings. After all, anytime is a good occasion to enjoy this filling, tasty dish! Their aroma is so unmistakable that it would take you with no mercy to the place where it's being prepared. The characteristics of a good tamale are: the flavor, the consistency of the masa, the appearance, and the wrapping.

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  • by Chef Melissa
  • January 31, 2006
  • 7:20 pm

Arrollado de Chocolate y Mango edit

6_2 Rinde 10-12 porciones

Ingredientes para el cake:

  • 6      claras de huevo
  • 6      yemas de huevo
  • 3/4  taza de azúcar
  • 1      cucharada de miel de abejas
  • 1      cucharada de café fuerte
  • 1      taza de harina, todo propósito
  • 1      cucharada de polvo de hornear
  • 2      cucharadas de cocoa en polvo


2_10 Pre-calentar el horno a 400 ° F por 10 minutos. Engrasar con aceite en spray (o mantequilla) una bandeja para hornear galletas (cookie sheet) de 30x40 cm. Forrar la bandeja con papel encerado y engrasar ligeramente nuevamente.

Separar los huevos y batir las claras a punto nieve.

En otro recipiente, batir las yemas con la miel de abejas y el azúcar hasta que el volumen se haya doblado y adquiera un color pálido. Agregar la cucharada de café y mezclar. Con mucho cuidado incorporar esta mezcla a las claras de huevo batidas a punto nieve.

Combinar los ingredientes secos (harina, polvo de hornear y chocolate en polvo). Con la ayuda de un colador seco y fino, cernir estos ingredientes sobre la mezcla de huevos. Envolver solamente hasta que la harina desaparezca. Es importante que en este punto no se bata demasiado, pues la mezcla   perderá volumen y el arrollado no quedará esponjoso. Verter la mezcla en la bandeja preparada y hornear por 10 minutos solamente. Remover del horno y dejar enfriar.

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  • by Chef Melissa
  • February 07, 2006
  • 10:21 am

Panama: Feria Nacional de Artesanias (2 Videos) edit

Dsc02735_1 Dearest friends and readers, I am leaving you now with two of my recent amateur videos. They are from the "Feria Nacional de Artesanias," and were taken yesterday. The first video is a folkloric Panamanian dance with a tasty Afro-Caribbean beat and a kind of tasty movements that we all have inherited from our ancestors. The performers were high school kids, as part of a cultural program to rescue our  traditions.

The second video is an interview with the only Panamanian wine makers: Vinos Tropicales, based in the Chiriqui province. Their raspberry dessert wine won the gold medal at a 2003 international wine expo. The interview is in Spanish. Tomorrow I'll post more photos and anecdotes from this colorful event.

If you are in Panama right now, do not miss this great opportunity to visit this national talent showcase. I am greatly surprised, AND will do my best to go one more time before Sunday 10 PM.

A big hug!

Un abrazo!



Let's celebrate BlogDay2006! It is going to be a fantastic event, do not miss it. The deadline: August 31, 2006. Hurry up---get ready grin

Do not forget to Visit:

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  • by Chef Melissa
  • July 28, 2006
  • 9:24 pm

The foodie reason: Why 2007 is Panama’s year! edit

Jan2007_1 Panamá is an easy country to fall in love with. The tropical bounty, gifted by our location and climate offer a spectacular opportunity to experience some of the most exotic and unique produce that mother and father nature have to offer, ranging from the complex herbs and seasoning of the tropical forest used by the indigenous tribes to the organic farms of vegetables and edible lowers.

From my terrace, in an 80-year-old building overlooking the Pacific Ocean, I can see all the lights that at night silently invite you to visit the hot spots and restaurants. Sometimes, if the lucky mood arouses, the flashy colours from the casinos will hypnotize you. The new ones showcase with endless luxury the glorious tropical-delicious and international food at very reasonable prices. Now you are warned.

Guac_1_1 Panama City is full of energy and excitement, with unlimited options to having an epicurean adventure every time, including the delight that would be to eat one of the creations from the internationally famous chefs that have found home in this land.

Of course, Panamá can be approached in a hundred different ways, but for those who don't already know it well, there are three emblematic places that you might want to visit, three snapshots that will give some perspective on the heart and soul of the country.

First, the Chiriqui province, where the coffee plantations and most of the dairy farms are. The weather is outstanding, and the fresh wild trout served are simply scrumptious.

Pescao_1_2 Second, the Panama Canal and the Gatun Lake, there you will enjoy the most unique fishing experience. At the end of the day, your guide will help clean the fish so you can take it and cook it for dinner.

Kun_1 Third, take a trip to islands of San Blas or Bocas del Toro, the less explored path of the Caribbean, where the turquoise waters and the simplicity of their people embrace your hunger for adventure and the most incredible food. People say their tribal concoctions are magic, let’s find out!

Un abrazo,

Chef Melissa

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  • by Chef Melissa
  • January 10, 2007
  • 8:06 am

Chef Brings a Taste of Panama to Austin edit

This has been a marvelous trip! Austin is a beautiful City and I have been delighted to cook here. I will sure blog later about my experiences, but now I am leaving you with this review that Kay Marley posted in her Dancin' Down Congress Avenue Blog: Chef Brings a Taste of Panama to Austin. Thank you Kay!

"One mouthful and I fell in love with a country I’ve never visited. A coconut explosion of lime, mint, cilantro and lemongrass marinated tilapia that has woken up my taste buds to the wonders of Panamanian food. The baked banana leaf wrapped fish, paired with rice and black beans and accompanied by a baby greens salad with coffee vinaigrette was the main attraction of an evening this week with Chef Melissa De Leon." Read the complete review by visiting Kay's blog...

I have posted some photos at My Facebook, and I will be posting more soon...so stay tuned!


(Photo credits: Kay Marley...Thank you!)

  • by Chef Melissa
  • September 21, 2007
  • 9:48 am

Enofilos Panama: November 2007 Wine Tasting in Cerro Azul & Video (ES) edit

Vino1 Somos un grupo de entusiastas que hemos emprendido un viaje juntos para descubrir las bondades y secretos del místico elixhir de uvas. Los mismos que, con los brazos abiertos, invitamos a los interesados en este tema a que se unan a alguno de nuestros eventos que son realizados durante la tercera semana de cada mes. Para mayor información subscribirse al grupo Enofilos, o dejar un mensaje en este post!

Ahora, con mucho cariño compartimos con Uds. los resultados e impresiones de la cata de vinos realizada el pasado 18 de Noviembre en la residencia de Cooking Diva en Cerro Azul, Ciudad de Panamá.

Que tengan una deliciosa semana...


Buen Provecho Enófilos! He aquí nuestra Cata del Mes de Noviembre.

  • Comenzamos con un Viognier 2005 Escorihuela Gascón de Mendoza, Argentina.  Es un vino ligero de una uva del Rodano, que ha sido escogido para comenzar nuestra cata por ser nuestro único blanco seco para preparar el paladar al gran Moscatel. Un vino que es menos seco que un Sauvignon Blanc y menos dulce que un Cabernet.  Muchos novatos nos acompañaron, por lo empezamos a explicar como apreciar un vino, tomando de ejemplo el Viognier.
  • by Chef Melissa
  • December 01, 2007
  • 9:58 am

Video From the Tropics: Chocolate Snowballs with Almonds (en/es) edit

We love the land and the many gifts Mother and Father nature share with us, specially in the Tropics. After traveling the world and experiencing the wonders and learning one step at the time, we feel proud for always coming back to our country Panama to share the bounty. Just share what you know and love, after that...everything will make total sense. It maybe is your purpose in life or just a hobby, but just do it and you will feel reinvented and well loved.

It feels fantastic to me, but...how about you, how do you feel when you share your love?

Oh! Regarding the video, it is show #6, cooking segment of "Living Made Simple in Panama." It has been really exciting to work with Aimee Arnold de Lindo. Now you will be able to learn how to prepare "Chocolate Snowball Cookies with Almonds." Let us know how do you like them!

There will be many good things to come, we will keep you posted. Its a promise!

Have a fantastic and extra tasty rest of the week!


  • by Chef Melissa
  • February 06, 2008
  • 1:28 pm



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