Bandeja is Spanish for platter; paisa is a person from Paisa, a region in northwest Colombia.
What’s so interesting about the dish is how it encapsulates the culinary influences of the indigenous peoples of Colombia, the Spanish colonists and the enslaved Africans brought over by the Spaniards.
While there is no strict recipe for bandeja paisa (there are numerous variants), its main characteristic is the sheer amount and variety of food in the platter. And it is the inclusion of so many elements that can make the preparation of the dish quite challenging.
To make it doable for home cooks, here’s a guide. Cook the rice and beans first. While they cook, fry the eggs and bananas. Plantain is traditional but that doesn’t grow in our part of the world so saba bananas were substituted.
Then, fry the sausages and pork chicharron. Chicharron is, essentially, a crackling. The most popular form is pork belly, skin on, fried until the skins are blistered and crisp. It has its origins in Spain and Portugal, and during the era of colonization, it was brought to the colonies.
The fried pork belly used in this recipe was bought precooked and frozen, and only needed to be reheated gently in oil to regain its crispness. If you are unable to get cooked chicharron, or if you’re up to the challenge of making it from scratch, see our air fryer crispy pork belly.
If cooking the chicharron from scratch, you will have to modify the order in which the various elements of the dish are cooked. You will need to cook the pork first as it takes the longest.
- cooking oil
- 3 eggs
- 6 saba bananas (see notes after the recipe)
- 3 to 6 chorizos depending on how small or large they are
- 300 to 400 grams chicharron (see notes after the recipe)
- cooked beans (we used canned)
- cooked rice
- In a frying pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of one inch.
- Fry the eggs in the hot oil, sunny side up. Scoop out and move to a plate.
- Peel the bananas and split into halves vertically.
- Reheat the oil and fry the bananas until lightly browned. Scoop out and move to another plate.
- Pour more oil into the pan to reach a depth of three inches.
- Score the chorizos and fry just until blistered. Scoop out and transfer to a plate.
- Over medium-low heat, fry the chicharron until crisp.
- Ladle rice into plates, place an egg beside the rice and add a scoop of beans.
- Arrange the chorizo, bananas and chicharron on the plate.
- Optionally, garnish with lime or lemon wedges before serving your bandeja paisa.