Recipes for Change: Chairo soup

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Recipes for Change: Chairo soup

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Climate change is contributing to increased temperatures and changing growing seasons in Bolivia. Small farmers are finding it harder to decide when to plant and when to harvest. This adversely affects staple food crops such as potatoes.

Extreme weather events are also causing unprecedented rainfall and drought leading to a loss of harvest.  IFAD's Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP)  offers solutions for smallholder farmers in Bolivia. 

In the next episode of Recipes for Change that will be released in the coming weeks, the Bolivian chef Marco Bonifaz who is based in La Paz and is owner of the Flanigan's Cave Gourmet restaurant, travels to Corocoro, in Pacajes Province. Here he learns more about Bolivia's world famous food culture, and finds out exactly how climate change is threatening the ingredients that make the local cuisine so unique.

He joins a local farmers family to make Chairo soup. This is a chunky broth flavoured with herbs and types of grains. The soup's main ingredient is Chuño – freeze-dried potatoes. These are a staple ingredient in the Bolivian diet and are made by leaving frost-resistant potatoes out overnight in sub-zero temperatures then exposing them to the hot sunlight in the daytime. This happens five or six nights in a row. The resulting product is then stored and can be kept for months, sometimes years.

Climate threat to potatoes

  • Increased temperatures
  • Changes in growing  seasons
  • Increased incidence of extreme weather

IFAD solutions

  • Introduction of more  appropriate and  hardy varieties of potatoes
  • Improved water  management and  cultivation practises with yields maintained or even increased

The Recipe

Chairo soup

Serves 4

Nutritional value per serving:

• Calories: 300 • Fat: 9g • Carbs: 33g • Protein: 21g


  • 2lb shoulder of lamb, cut into 4 pieces
  • 100g lamb or beef jerky
  • 400ml water
  • 100g ‘chuño'/potato
  • 2 peeled and& thinly sliced potatoes
  • 70g soaked wheat grains
  • 70g thinly sliced carrots
  • 70g thinly sliced turnip
  • 130g fava beans
  • Herb bundles of basil, coriander and& parsley
  • 130g ‘mote'/dried maize
  • A spring onion, chopped

Cooking instructions:

 24 hours ahead of cooking

To make chuño take 500g of small potatoes, cut in half and place in freezer until hard. Usually 24 hours. Place maize and wheat grains in    water to soak overnight.

  1. Wash  meat  thoroughly put  in a large  pot  with a lid and  cover with the water. Place over medium heat.
  2. Bring  to  boil and  foam  will start  to  appear on  top. Remove foam. Repeat this 3-4 times.
  3. Add all other ingredients to the boiling stew. Turn down heat and simmer for 20-30 mins. Keep lid on. Stir occasionally.
  4. Serve. Add salt and pepper to taste.



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