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Majao is a truly unique Bolivian dish. It features “charque” which is a sort of “shredded beef jerky” cooked together with rice and other vegetables. The first time I tried Majao I was extremely pleased with the subtle textures and excellent blend of flavors. This Majao recipe uses yellow pepper powder, but a variation is to use red pepper powder. Both taste great, it is just a matter of how you wish your Majao to look.

(Photo Attributed to Author: Aosinagag)

(Photo Attributed to Author: Aosinagag)

Majao Recipe-


(serves 8)

  1. Slice the pound of flank or skirt steak into 1″ wide strips lengthwise, and place in a pot of boiling water with 4 tablespoons of salt for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the beef (retain the water in the pot) and set it aside to cool.
  2. When the beef is cool enough, crosscut the slices a few times, and then shred the chunks with your hands or two forks.
  3. Sauté the onion in a little oil in a skillet until soft, fragrant and translucent, then add in the diced tomato and the powdered yellow (or red) chili pepper powder and cook 5 more minutes.
  4. Now add in 1 cup of the beef-boiling water, the 2 crushed cubes of beef bullion, stir all together, and adjust heat to a gentle simmer.
  5. While the skillet is simmering, add three cups of fresh water to the beef-cooking water you kept in the boiling pot. After the skillet ingredients have simmered for about 10 minutes, add them all into the same pot.
  6. Add the 2 cups of rice into the pot, stir everything together, and cook the rice in this water along with everything else. Bring to a vigorous boil, then reduce to a lively simmer, and cook until the rice is tender.
  7. While the rice is cooking, peel the plantains. They are much tougher than bananas, you will need to use a knife. Cut them lengthwise into halves. Fry the plantains in hot oil just until golden browned on the outsides but still soft on the insides.
  8. When the rice and beef are well cooked, serve your Majao hot, with a fried egg on top of each serving and the sliced plantains on the side.

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