Achiras de Huila: Cheesy Colombian Crackers
Achiras de Huila are typically found hanging in little stalls on the side of a road alongside arepas, corn and other baked or fried local carbs, this seems to be the ideal and common found companion while traveling in Colombia. Achiras are usually found in clear, thin plastic cylinders hanging from the roof stalls.
They might not look like much at first, but they grow on you and become increasingly addictive with each passing bite. As of today, and a few hundred digested achiras later, I am absolutely smitten.
More than a crunchy cracker, Achiras de Huila is not your plain old Ritz biscuit. Instead of wheat flour, Achira is made from Achira flour…Um ok…What?
What is Achira? It comes from the cana edulis family, in which also belongs ginger and banana. Achira is native to the Andes region and grown between 500-2700 meters of altitude. Typically cultivated in Ecuador, Peru and Colombia it is also known as ‘sagu’. It is used commonly used in the form of flour to bake
cakes and crackers as well as the famous traditional and regional ‘Achiras de Huila’.
These baked, cheesy and buttery goodness are ridiculously addictive. I bought a large bag the other day for my partner as I cleaned off the last bag he bought and out of my control, I ended up eating the whole thing once again before he even came home. It was totally beyond my willpower.
It’s hard to say that the baked combination of fresh cheese, Achira flour and butter, is entirely healthy, but they are part of that cheesy bread family all Colombians love. To make you feel a little bit better, at least they’re gluten-free… Whatever that means…