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Kiveve is a creamy traditional dish of Paraguay that is made with a pumpkin with deep orange flesh and sweet taste, milk, sugar, corn flour, and fresh cheese, and may be served as a dessert, as a breakfast, or as a sweet snack during the afternoon.

Kiveve is one of the most appetizing dishes of the popular semi-sweet Paraguayan gastronomy. It has a doughy texture and is of creamy consistency. Its taste is very pleasant and the primary ingredient is a pumpkin fruit that is called by the guarani name, "andai" in Paraguay. It is a Cucurbita moschata landrace probably of pre-Columbian origin, that would be called "ahuyama" in Venezuela, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, and "calabaza" or "zapallo" in other Spanish speaking countries and in Spanish language in Paraguay. The fruit is a squash that may be elongated or spherical, and its exterior color ranges from green to orange, to reddish. The pulp is orange color (a color that in Guarany would be called "reddish", that's the translation of the term Kiveve), compact, of firm texture, and has a sweet flavor.

The "kiveve" dish is an important part of the ancestral culinary art of Paraguay and is highly valued. Because of the nature of its ingredients, the dish has a very high value in calories and proteins. According to some scholars of the social history of Paraguay, all of the currently popular Paraguayan gastronomic dishes were established by small family farmers after the Paraguayan War during which Paraguay fought the Triple Alliance (Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay) between 1864 and 1870. The foods are very high in caloric content because of a situation that overcame the country after the conflict. In the aftermath of the war, food was limited and groceries were difficult to find. So Paraguayan cooking contains a high caloric and protein content to make up for the loss of several meals during the day.

Ingredients and preparation[edit]

Smashing cubes in the pot.
Smashing cubes in the pot.
Kiveve served in a bowl with milk.
Kiveve in a bowl with milk.

Traditional "kiveve" is made using the following ingredients: a pumpkin or "andai" with a deep orange flesh and sweet flavor, cooked and pureed; sugar, a kind of cornmeal with a consistency between corn starch and polenta used as a thickening agent (called harina de maíz in Paraguay), and fresh cheese. It's served mildly warm or already cool in a bowl, each commensal pours in milk to taste.

The pumpkin is peeled, cubed and boiled in water. When cubes are tender enough the preparation is pureed with a blender or smashed in its own cooking liquid in the same pot, then sugar is added, and finally corn flour is sifted all over the bland puree in the pot while stirring the mixture in the fire, keep stirring for about 10 minutes, or until the corn flour is completely cooked. Fresh cheese finely chopped is added, stir again for a few seconds and retrieve the pot from the fire. Kiveve used to be cooked in clay pots.[1][2]

This dish is served as a sweet snack or as a dessert.[3]

Origin of the name[edit]

The name "kiveve" comes from the Guaranitical term that designates a reddish color.[4] Because the "andai", the main ingredient of the dessert, has a deep orange color, it was given the name "kiveve" (reddish). In fact, in popular slang, the word, "kiveve", is used to identify redheaded people.

See also[edit]

  • “Karú rekó – Antropología culinaria paraguaya”, MARGARITA MIRÓ IBARS