Pique A Lo Macho is Bolivian culinary masterpiece in my opinion!! I had tried this dish several times even before visiting Bolivia. My husband was born in Potosi, Bolivia and we live in Miami, FL. When we were dating, his family would often have big get togethers and Pique Macho was one of the dishes served. Then I had the chance to have this dish in Bolivia too, in several cities!! If you are a meat lover and comfort food lover, this dish is for you!!
My version of Pique A Lo Macho includes a little bit more vegetables than the traditional dish. Also, we replace some ingredients that are typical in Bolivia (like locoto) with similar ingredients as we can’t replicate it exactly how the dish is cooked there. Hope you like this method:).
What is Pique A Lo Macho?
So let’s start from the beginning if you haven’t tried this dish before. It is said that the traditional Bolivian Pique dish was born in the city of Cochabamba in a restaurant called Miraflores. The dish is composed of mounted ingredients on top of each other and served on a platter. The dish is spicy, but you can adjust spiciness with how much locoto peppers you add to it.
The word Pique is pronounced [pee-keh] and it’s not to be confused with Barcelona’s soccer player Piqué where the accent falls at the end of the word. Pique can have different meanings but in the case of this dish it refers to the spiciness of the dish, the sting of it!
If you can have the whole dish by yourself, you’re a macho man. However, anytime I have had this amazing dish has been in a social setting and we have shared the platter between several people.
Pique Macho platters are often served with llajua salsa and beer. Llajua will add more spiciness on top of the spice the dish already has:). We make our own version of llajua at home, instead of quilquiña herb we use cilantro.
Tips, Notes and Variations
First let me give you a very high level of this dish’s composition.
- Bottom layer is French Fries.
- Then you layer the meat/sausage with a little bit of the broth they were cooked in.
- Continue by layering peppers, jalapeños (instead of locotos) and tomatoes.
- Finally add boiled eggs cut in half and red onions cut in half circles.
- Garnish with mayo and ketchup. Serve with llajua salsa:)
See below a collage of pictures taken throughout cooking this dish. For more details, I have included a short video at the bottom of the recipe card.
So let’s go over the ingredients and substitutions. If you live in Bolivia, you already have access to all ingredients to make this dish as traditional as possible. But if you’re in US like me or anywhere around the globe and you’re trying to cook Pique Macho, these tips and substitutions will help come up with as close as possible dish to the original.
- Potatoes – let me start by saying that you don’t need to fry the potatoes yourself especially if you’re trying to make cooking this dish faster or cooking for a lot of people. You can use frozen french fries and bake a sheet pan with them. Now, if you want to make your own fries than pick potatoes that hold well to frying and don’t get too soggy since they’ll be at the bottom of the dish. I used Russett potatoes but you can use Yukon Gold too.
- Meat – In US most grocery stores will sell beef already cut in chunks. This saves times as you don’t have to cut the meat yourselves. The chunks are a bit bigger than bite size so feel free to cut them smaller if you like.
- Sausages – I use beef franks for sausages. However, we have used chorizo too in the past or sometimes a combination of sausages and chorizos. Usually the day after a BBQ at home we’d have leftover chorizos or so and we do incorporate them in a pique even though that might not be exactly traditional:).
- Locoto – this is the main ingredient missing when we cook pique at home. It’s special spicy pepper found in Bolivia. We replace it with jalapeño in its absence.
- Meat tenderizer – some recipes use papaya as the meat tenderizer. Papaya has an enzyme that helps tenderize meat. Usually you’d grind it and include it in the marinade. My husband and I use beer to tenderize the meat. We usually include it in the cooking process and let the alcohol evaporate.
Bolivian Pique A Lo Macho
- 2 lbs beef
- 8 sausages (beef franks)
- 4 eggs
- 0.5 red onion
- 1 jalapeño traditionally you'd use locoto
- 0.5 red bell pepper
- 0.5 green bell pepper
- 0.5 yellow bell pepper
- 2 tomatoes
- 2-3 chilis
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 2 tbsps soy sauce
- 1 cup beer
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup water
- 3 tbsps olive oil
- 4 Russet potatoes
- 1.5 cups avocado oil for frying potatoes traditionally you'd use vegetable oil for this or peanut oil
- Start by marinating beef chunks with mustard, salt, pepper, cumin and soy sauce. Mix very well, cover the bowl and refrigerate while you prep and cook everything else.
- Cut sausages in a slanted angle. Set aside. Peel potatoes and place in a bowl of water. Slice peppers, jalopeño, tomatoes and onions. Place onions in another bowl of water. Cut the potatoes in desired shape (not too thin since they'll be in the bottom of the platter) and let them dry on a colander.
- Boil eggs for about 10 minutes, remove from heat. Peel once cool to touch, slice eggs in half. Set aside as well.
- Get a large skillet, add avocado oil (or any vegetable oil of your choice). Wait until oil is hot then add potatoes, fry on both sides and remove with a slotted ladle. Alternatively, if you don't want to fry potatoes you can use frozen french fries and bake them.
- Once you've removed fries from skillet, add beef franks to same skillet. Cook for few minutes and remove with slotted ladle as well, set aside.
- Get another skillet, add 3 tbsps of olive oil. Add marinated meat once oil is hot. Cook until brown on all sides, use a wooden spoon and mix so meat doesn't stick to skillet. Then add beer and let cook until alcohol evaporates. This process helps tenderize the meat. Finally a minute or so later add 1 cup of water, let meat cook another 10 or so minutes. Add the sausage back in and mix everything together so flavors can mix. Set aside and turn heat off.
- Once everything is ready, it's time to mount the dish. This is my favorite part:). You can customize this step as desired!! Start by putting the potatoes first. Then add the meat and sausages with some of the broth they cooked in. Layer peppers, tomatoes, jalapeños, onions and eggs as desired. Add chili peppers too for more heat.
- Finally squeeze some mayo and ketchup on top of the platter, add a side of llajua and dig in:)). You won't be able to stop!! Enjoy / Buen Provecho!!
- If you’re looking at calories, please keep in mind that you won’t use all the calories from the frying oil.
If you would like to save this recipe for later, please save the below image in your boards in Pinterest. Feel free to ask any questions in comments or tag me in social media if you made this dish! Thank you:)
Other Bolivian Recipes
We cook a lot of Bolivian food at home, sometimes we have to modify a little based on ingredients available here in Florida. If you would like to check out some of my other Bolivian recipes, please see below: