Ñoquis – an Argentine staple

“Don’t make dinner tonight,” Emmanuel told me earlier.  “I’m making ñoquis.”

“You’re making what?!”

Ñoquis,” he replied.  “It’s kind of a potato pasta or potato dumpling.”

We couldn’t wait to try it.

This evening Emmanuel gave us our ñoquis-making class.  What a great tradition!

“Argentines traditionally make ñoquis on the 29th of every month,” he told us as he dumped boiled potatoes out of the pot onto a large wooden cutting board.  “We have what is called a ñoquiada where we invite people over to our house and we make ñoquis.  Traditionally, the host of the ñoquiada places money under everyone’s plate – they use that money to buy groceries the next day.”

Ñoquis are made with mashed potatoes and flour, so are very cheap to make.  They are made at the end of the month, when money is tight and people await their next paycheck.

To start the process, spread flour on a large cutting board and dump cold boiled potatoes on it.  With a fork, smash the potatoes until they are very finely mashed.

Mashing potatoes for ñoquis

Sprinkle flour on top of the potatoes, then start gently kneading to mix in the flour.  When the dough is sticky, add a bit more flour.  Keep kneading until the dough is about the consistency of playdough.  You have added too much flour if the dough falls apart when you try to roll snakes.

Making noquis

making noquis

Taking a handful or two of dough, roll it with your hands into a snake.  Keep rolling until the snake is about the diameter of your pinkie.

making noquis

Using a gentle touch, cut pieces about 2 cm long off the snake.  Sprinkle with a small amount of flour to prevent them from sticking together.

making noquis

The next step is quite tricky and takes some practice.  Place one piece of ñoquis at the base of the prongs of a fork.  Using your thumb, gently roll the ñoquis along the fork, pressing hard enough to force the dough between the prongs, but not hard enough to cut through the dough. When you reach the end of the fork, the piece of ñoquis should fall off the fork with prong indentations on one side and a small cup on the other.

making noquis

Very gently, place the ñoquis in boiling water, and stir gently to prevent them from sticking together.  Allow them to boil for a few minutes – when they float, they are done.

making noquis

 

making noquis

Serve ñoquis a la crema by stirring in butter and cream, or use whatever pasta sauce is your favorite.  Pesto with chicken is especially delicious!

noquiada

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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8 Responses to Ñoquis – an Argentine staple

  1. Talon (1Dad1Kid) January 20, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    Another melding of Italian into S. American. I love the Argentinean pronounciation of ll and the nice Italian lilt to it. Glad to see the boys helped out. Tigger loves to make gnocchi and pasta with me. So fun to get your hands dirty. LOL

    Did someone hit a growth spurt? Looks like he’s catching up to his brother!

  2. Neil January 20, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    Is this the first you’ve had? Gnocchi (as the Italians call it) is a major staple in our diet, too.

    Mind you the production process is a bit different here…it mostly involves exchanging a couple of dollars for a package from the store.

  3. Becky January 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    That’s funny. I learned to love Gnocchi in Italy!

  4. Brynn January 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    mmm, me too! I started making my own gnocchi after I got back from Italy. How are the flavors? Do they taste any different from these noquis? Either way, they look deliicous!

  5. Marraco January 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    In Bariloche, there are Swiss/German architecture, Spanish language, Italian customs. It’s Argentina.

  6. Marraco January 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Now, ask for Baña Cauda!

  7. Grand Canyon Harry January 20, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    Hey – that guy looks like a Cal Poly graduate! (like me). LOL

  8. Hans January 21, 2011 at 3:21 am #

    Many years ago, I met some Argentinians who told us that eating Gnocchi on the 29th of each month brought good luck.
    I think the ‘end of the month’ explanation you give is better!

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