Potatoes Huancaina

A friend from Uruguay gave me this recipe that reads unpromisingly yet produces a most delightful lunch dish. I prefer to substitute yoghurt for the cottage cheese and tomatoes, just drizzled with olive oil, instead of the salad leaves.


  • 1 lb (450 g) potatoes, peeled
  • 1 large Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1 small cottage cheese or 4 oz (110 g) plain yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • A little lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • A little milk
  • A few drops of Tabasco (optional)
  • A few lettuce leaves or a few sliced tomatoes
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • A dozen olives


Boil the potatoes and while they are cooking prepare a sauce by putting the cheeses (or cheese and yoghurt, if using) in a blender with the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the milk very slowly at the end so that the mixture is not too thick nor too liquid. Add the Tabasco sauce if you like.

Purée the potatoes, adding a little more olive oil. Season and shape into a round. Place the lettuce leaves or tomatoes on a large platter. Put the potato on this, cover with the cream mixture and finish with the slices of hard-boiled eggs and olives around the plate.

Since the days of the Incas, potato planting in South America has been a community activity, often accompanied by elaborate rituals and the singing of a chant in which the word ‘triumph’ is repeated.