My abuelita introduced me to chochos at a very young age. When she came over to visit, she would bring me a couple of baggies with chochos she had just picked up from el mercado. I thought it was the best treat ever and I would devour the contents of the bag in no time. One of my favorite things was actually to peel the chocho and pop it in my mouth, squeezing it between my middle finger and thumb. The thin skin remained between my fingers, while the bean popped right into my mouth! Note however, that it is not necessary to always peel these beans; eating them with skin is just fine.
In Ecuador, chochos along with many other legumes are an essential part of our diet. Chochos, or Andean lupines, are high in protein, healthy fats and minerals. Chochos are used in a variety of soups and stews, and can also be ground to make flour.
This recipe is always one of my favorites to make when I am in the mood for a crunchy and spicy snack, though in a way, almost functions like a quick salad. This dish combines the kick from the ajíes with the crunchy texture of the chochos. To balance the spice, a bit of crumbled queso fresco does the trick. I love eating this ají as a topping over some crackers, or chips. It is also great to add as a condiment to a ceviche.