Daily Archives: April 2, 2015

A Bolivian myth: Could an angry person prepare a spicier llajua?

Bolivian hot spice is known as llajwa or llajua, we used in most our foods, it is like the ketchup for some Americans, who eat it with all their food…

Alejandra Pau reports for Pagina Siete:

Could an angry person prepare a spicier llajua?

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 8.16.04 AMA group of students from the Escuela Hotelera [Hotel School] in La Paz, conducted an experiment to test the mito. Could a grumpy person make a spicier llajua? A group of students from the first half of the Gastronomy Professional career at the Escuela Hotelera in La Paz decided to find out if the story they hear from the time of their grandmothers was true.

They considered, for this experiment, two individuals. One was subjected to a hostile environment hours before the traditional hot sauce. The other was in an atmosphere with music that promotes relaxation and surrounded by attention.

It is the most famous spicy sauce in Bolivia, while the international fast food chains that entered the country had to include it on their menu.

“The llajua, the myth of spicy” is the experiment that four students decided to make in order to prove or disprove the myth that says that an angry person makes a spicier llajua. That is, your mood influences its taste.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 8.15.49 AMThe use of pepper in Andean culture dates back to pre-Hispanic times and appears in various book chronicles, centuries later referred to Copacabana and purification rituals. Has not been established exactly when llajua as such appears, but it is known that it was during the colonial period.

The manners’ scholar, Elizabeth Col expressed in different interviews with Pagina Siete, that in cold weather it is always assumed that the hot spicy allows to keep the body warm. Therefore, it appears more frequently in the diet of these places, including dishes or served separately, not least because moisturizes dry dishes.

“When testing a spicy llajua grandmothers were saying. So ugly, so spicy that the maid must have been angry when preparing the llajua,” said the student Eduardo Mendoza Vicencio.

As students, people from the highlands used more spicy than those who lived in the East as a matter of digestion.

In the batan [sley]

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 8.15.26 AM“To the first person we spoke of negative issues, we would say words that bothered him personally. Gradually, we saw that was frowning and was defensive,” says gastronomy student Jorge Alí Sánchez.

Approximately two hours after, the person was asked to prepare llajua in a fulling mill and the basic ingredients: Locoto [Capsicum pubescens], tomato and quirquiña.

Another person was commissioned to test it and called it very spicy, a view that was ratified by the executors of the experiment.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 8.15.37 AMThe second person was introduced in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere where good treatment and the kind words made him comfortable before making the llajua. The same person, who tested the first salsa, calling it too spicy, when tried the second said it was nice, ascertained by the four students of gastronomy resolution.

Question of concentration

Students observed that when the person was angry, he was not concentrating on the development of llajua. One of the first signs was that did not bother to remove all the seeds of Locoto before starting the process.

“The person crushed ingredients so that they did not mix or integrated properly. By contrast, there were whole pieces of locoto [Capsicum pubescens] that were left as they were,” said Julio Cesar Limachi Tambo.

The person who was in a relaxed and friendly environment, focused on merging the ingredients and remove all the seeds of Locoto before processing.

“The conclusion we draw is that it is not the mood that magically convey the flavor of the llajua, it is lack of concentration,” says the student Kevin Condori Duran.

The student team said that this experiment is the first step to further investigation and why not, other than derail certain myths or being tested in a more academic way.

The experiment was conducted in the field of Research Methodology, by the teacher Alvaro Espinoza Gutiérrez.

“A reality on the subject of gastronomy is that there is no research in our context. Gourmets have a duty to pursue academic knowledge and complement them with popular wisdom,” Gutierrez said.

Small studies like this, help to stimulate curiosity and desire to investigate the myths in the Bolivian gastronomy, say students.

“The conclusion may seem obvious, but there is a method of research that helped us get to it. There are very interesting topics such as myths surrounding the llajua that are worthy of study” concludes Gutiérrez.


For those of you abroad, I suggest you buy, when in Bolivia, llajwa from Dillman, which is basically the locoto [Capsicum pubescens] pure, you can later on add tomato or just ketchup, just fine.