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Sweet Plantain Smoothie (Chucula)

When I was young, one of my favorite desserts to eat was chucula (choo-COO-lah), a sweet and thick plantain dessert from Ecuador.

Though chucula is well known in my native country, as you would expect, recipes vary between families. For some, chucula is more like a drink, sort of like a smoothie, without queso blended in. In my case, when my nana made chucula for us, it was more of a pudding-like consistency: thick and topped with salty queso fresco. We ate our chucula with a spoon.

I have always loved the unexpected salty morsels surrounded by the sweetness of the plantains. I fondly remember my nana crumbling queso directly on top (even though there was already a generous amount blended in). I recall coming home after school, sitting at the table, and alternating a spoonful of sweet chucula and a bite of that sliced queso, as I did my homework. It made doing homework less painful!

If you prefer this recipe as a drink, all you have to do is omit the cheese and add more milk. And while this is not a heavy dessert, I feel using whole milk gives this dessert a bit more body and rich texture. However, feel free to substitute whole milk with skim milk if you prefer.

Whether you have it as a pudding or smoothie, chucula is a very simple yet delicious Ecuadorian dessert that I hope soothes you as much as it has soothed me over the years. Buen provecho!

Chucula

  • 5 very ripe plantains, peeled and halved
  • 4-5 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces queso fresco, crumbled

Get the full recipe.

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