Majao (Rice with Jerked Beef)

by Alura Gonzales
(Santa Cruz, Bolivia)

You’ll need: (for 4 portions) Majao is from Santa Cruz.
5 cups water
1/2 pound charque (dried and salty jerked beef)
1 cup rice
1/2 cup onion , thinly sliced
1/2 cup tomato, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
4 seeds urucú soaked in 1/2 water cup (paprika will also work, or red vegetable coloring)
1/2 cup water or broth
1 teaspoon salt

To Serve
1/2 fried plantain, per person
2 slices yucca (tapioca) cooked and fried, per person
1 fried egg, per person

How to prepare:
In a large pot, pour the five cups of water and set it to boil over high heat. Once it is boiling add charque and let it cook until it is tender. Remove from heat and shred the meat. To the water where meat cooked, add rice and salt. Let it cook over medium heat for twenty-five minutes more or less, until the rice is well cooked, but not dry.

In a small casserole heat 1/4 cup of oil over medium heat. Add the shredded meat and stir-fry until golden. Remove from heat.
In casserole, add the remaining 1/4 cup of oil and heat it over high heat. Add the onion and stir-fry for a while. Add tomato, urucú, water or broth, and salt. Let cook for five minutes. Then add the fried shredded meat and mix. Finally, add the meat mixture to the rice pot. Mix everything. For good results, the whole mixture does not have to be dry. If necessary, add some water or broth.

Serve hot, with the fried egg on top, and slices of fried plantain.

Note: This dish is said to be a variation of the Spanish Paella, which the Conquistadores had to prepare with dried meat, as fish and other ingredients weren`t available in Santa Cruz. Variations include the Majao de Pato and the Majao de Gallina, which use duck and chicken meat instead of dried meat.

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