Tomorrow marks Día de los Muertos in Mexico and Día de los Difuntos, in Ecuador. Growing up on the California/Mexico boarder, I’m familiar with Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) but had never heard of the Ecuadorian day of remembrance until recently.
I was admiring a houseplant at a friend’s home this summer when I first heard of Día de los Difuntos. He told me the Red Amaranth I was fingering had many uses in traditional South American dishes and went on to mention the Amaranto Skulls and Colada Morada. My head began to swim with excitement and I scribbled down a few notes on a scrap of paper for later research. When I got home, I started looking into Amaranth, and found that I could buy seed online and at most major health food stores. I made my purchase and started looking for recipes.
The blood and idol concept lead me back to colada morada and subsequently to guagua de pan. Colada Morada is thick and sweet drink made of a variety of fruits and spices, many found only in the Andes. Guagua de Pan, (pronounced waa waa) means “baby bread” and is made to look like a small swaddled child. This traditional meal is served in the fall in honor of Día de los Difuntos. Made at home, or purchased at panaderías family and friends exchange and eat them with colada morada to honor one’s ancestors. From what I’ve read, it is delicious.