While I was vacationing in Cartagena, Colombia I had a unique dish that has haunted my taste buds ever since. I scoured the Internet in hopes of finding Chef Jorge Escandon’s creation he calls “Tostones de La Madre Teresa” served at La Cevicheria.
I don’t have a proper translation or understanding of why the dish was named that, but I would like to think that perhaps its heavenly goodness inspires thoughts of Mother Teresa.
Whatever the hidden message in the name of this unique dish, I am so excited because I’ve recently discovered one of the key ingredients is available in the U.S. so wanted to share it with you!
I first tasted these sweet and tangy bite-sized fruits when I purchased them along the roadsides in Colombia. I had no idea what they were, but once I unwrapped one of these golden globes of goodness, I knew I had to figure out how to smuggle them back to the states. Thank heavens they are now legally available here.
Goldenberries (Physalis peruviana) have various aliases such as Cape Gooseberries, Ground Cherries, Inca Berries, Pichuberries, Peruvian Cherries and Husk Cherries. They are native to South America, and they’re closely related to the tomatillo – which makes sense, since they look like it, in a smaller version.
Goldenberries are traditionally used in desserts, jams, sauces, purees, meat glazes, or garnishes for plates and beverages. I love them any way I have them, but my favorite way to enjoy them will always be eating them raw. Their burst of juicy flavor reminds me of a cross between a cherry and a lemon, touched with a little South American sunshine.
Goldenberries can be substituted for tomatillas in most savory recipes. If you want to put them in a sweet spotlight, substitute goldenberries for sweet cherries.
I swapped Goldenberries for cherries in this Cherry Poppy Seed Cake that I saw on David Lebovitz’s blog.
I also made muffins from the same recipe. Delicious.
Look for Goldenberries in your local store, farmer’s market or order them online at Melissa’s Produce. If you have a green thumb you can buy seeds at Rare Seeds and grow your own.
What makes this dish so special is the Goldenberry sauce. You can also use this sauce over white fish.
Start with roasting the Goldenberries, jalapeño, onion and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet 4 inches below a broiler, until blotchy black, about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side.
Cool, then transfer everything to a blender. Add the cilantro and 2 tablespoons of water (or chicken stock), then blend to a coarse puree. Set aside.
Chop vegetables. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil over high heat; sauté zucchini and mushrooms until tender-crisp, about 5-10 minutes. Transfer to bowl.
In skillet, heat remaining oil over high heat; cook shrimp and garlic, stirring, for 3-5 minutes or until shrimp is opaque.
Add a couple of tablespoons of the Goldenberry sauce and mix with shrimp and veggies. Spread the remainder of the Goldenberry sauce on two serving plates.
Top with shrimp and veggie mixture. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and decorate the side with plantain chips.
Shrimp & Veggie Saute w/Goldenberry Sauce
- 4 ounces Goldenberries husked and rinsed
- 1 small jalapeño stemmed & seeded
- 1 large garlic clove peeled
- 6 sprigs of fresh cilantro thick bottom stems cut off, roughly chopped
- 1 slice of onion ¼" thick
- Salt & pepper
Shrimp & Veggies
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 zucchini sliced
- 6 mushrooms sliced
- 10 large raw shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 clove garlic minced
Roast the Goldenberries, jalapeño, onion and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet 4 inches below a broiler, until blotchy black and softening, about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side. Cool, and then transfer everything to a blender. Add the cilantro and 2 tablespoons of water (or chicken stock), and then blend to a coarse puree. Set aside.
Shrimp & Veggies
In a large skillet, heat ½ tablespoon of the oil over high heat; sauté zucchini and mushrooms until tender-crisp, about 5-10 minutes. Transfer to bowl.
In skillet, heat remaining oil over high heat; cook shrimp and garlic, stirring, for 3 minutes or until shrimp is opaque.
Add zucchini mixture into skillet. Add a little Goldenberry sauce; stir to mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spread the remainder of the Goldenberry sauce on two serving plates. Top with shrimp and veggie mixture. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and decorate the side with plantain chips.
If you ever find yourself in Cartagena please treat yourself to a great meal at La Cevicheria.
Trio of Ceviche at La-Cevicheria
My parents and I enjoying a Limonada de Coco at La-Cevicheria
The next recipe I am trying to recreate from my Columbian adventure is a refreshing Limonada de Coco (Frozen Coconut Limeade). I haven’t yet recaptured its magic. Must be time for another visit to Colombia…
…and then, she paused for thought and smiled.
Yummy! Sprouts has just opened a store near me so I’m hoping they will have Goldenberries. Love the pic of you and your parents, Cathy.
Thanks Maggie! Talk to the produce manager about ordering them if they don’t carry them.
Looks AMAZING ~ I tried eating a fresh raw Goldenberry yesterday and it was both incredible and exotic tasting…I had to hold back from eating the whole box right on the spot. This saute dish looks scrumptious and not being super big on shrimp I think I will substitute raw cubed chicken breast. Cathy, thanks for getting us “out of the box” with all your great recipes and instructions and ideas! The photo of you three is adorable and coconut limeade looks like an amazing dessert you can drink! Yes pleeeease get experimenting and re-create for all of us as we head into sizzling Summer weather – your fans need this recipe!!!
I think chicken would work great in this recipe Julie! Glad you are getting out of the box with some new ideas. 🙂
Very exciting. How long did the recipe take to cook (total)?
It was exciting. It probably took an hour with prep. Cook time for the shrimp and veggie is really quick.
Susan Herrmann Loomis
This sounds so good, Cathy. And you look just like your father!
What a fabulous recipe!! I started cracking up when I saw/read Goldenberries, because I remember last year I was in the grocery store, saw these, took a photo and texted you to see if you have ever heard of these. At that point, I had never. I have to try this recipe!! Thank you for sharing it with us!! 🙂
Judy at My Well Seasoned Life.
I love how one ingredient can take you on a gastronomic journey. I can’t wait to get my hands on some of these goldenberries. Thanks so much.
Isn’t that so true Judy! The possibilities with goldenberries is wide open.
Thanks Pamela, I think you would really enjoy this dish!
Cathy, this is a gorgeous dish — inside and out. And your photo of the single goldenberry is a work of art! I didn’t know they were related to tomatillos and the flavor description is excellent — love the pic of the 3 fruits, too. Just 100% lovely! All of it!
Thank you so much Valentina. I am so happy you enjoyed it.
Zel Allen's nutgourmet
Hi Cathy, Thanks so much for your post on goldenberries. Many years ago I thought I was planting tomatillos in my veggie garden and wondered why these little wonders just didn’t seem to get any bigger than a small cherry tomato. Then I popped one in my mouth and discovered how wonderfully sweet they were. After a search, I realized I had bought cape gooseberries. I’m so delighted to see Melissa’s carries them! Maybe Reuben and I will see you at the next Melissa’s gathering coming up.
Hi Zel, I am so excited that you were successfully able to grow Cape Gooseberries! That is on my to-do list. Looking forward to seeing you & Reuben soon.
Spectacular! I’ve heard the term Peruvian cherry but I never knew they were so much like a tiny yellow tomatillo. Salsa Rojo, Salsa Verde, and now Salsa Amarillo! GREG
That is so clever Greg!
Thanks a ton for introducing us with adorable “Golden Berries”! Thanks a bunch for the links… gardener me is soooo going to buy the goodies first and then the seeds 🙂
Madly, truly, deeply in love with your dish: protein, veggies and THAT sauce! Full-throttle bliss!
(Say hello to your parents for me, please. Tell them I’m a fan of their genius daughter) <3
Thank you so much. I really think you will love Goldenberries as much as I do. I am a fan of your work as well! 🙂
I love a good fruit sauce with fish. Now I shall have to hunt up some Golden Berries for a new taste sensation.
Lynne, I really think goldenberries are your new favorite thing. Your will have a blast experimenting with them.
You have me hooked on golden berries! Love them!!! Now I have to try the shrimp dish… it looks amazing!!! Always love the pics from your travel log! Thanks for including me in your travels!!!
Thanks Cheri for stopping by. I think you will enjoy the recipe. 🙂
I love goldenberries, Cathy! I had them a few times on the cruise I was just on and had a hard time with the translation of what they were called in Europe, but we finally figured it out.
Your shrimp dish looks simply spectacular and I know I’d swoon over it (sans the cilantro, of course) 🙂 Love the last photo and I can imagine that’s a refreshing drink too!
Cathy, these recipes look great! It’s awesome to see so many delicious recipes in one place.
Cathy, it’s really awesome! This will quickly become a favorite in our house!
Thanks Olga! It is one of my favorite recipes.
I made this dish tonight and it was spectacular. A new taste sensation and easy to whip up.
Thanks Vaughn! So glad you enjoyed it.