Christmas Eve: A Time for Family, Food, and Fun

During the holiday season, NPH Bolivia cooks a large traditional Christmas Eve meal and enjoys a day filled with love and sharing.
December 11, 2019 - Bolivia

Gilberto serves Christmas Eve meal to the children. This meal is one of our children's favorites.

Christmas in NPH Bolivia and around the world is a time for families to come together and share a meal. At NPH and the surrounding area, it is tradition to prepare a meal consisting of pork, rice, salad, and yucca (similar to a potato).

Pork or beef is traditional for Christmas Eve dinner because those meats are more expensive; they are not eaten as often as less expensive options like chicken. While this meal is traditional, this does not mean everyone has the means to prepare this dish for the holidays.

According to The World Bank, about 12% of people live on less than US$3.20 per day. For a family of four, the cost of this meal is around US$7.80 or 54 Bolivianos. This one traditional Christmas meal costs more than double the amount a typical family has to live on for one whole day, on average.

Here is the breakdown of the costs for this traditional meal for a family of four followed by recipes so that you can make this Bolivian-style meal at home.

Ingredient Costs

1/2 kilogram rice — 5 Bolivianos

1 kilogram tomatoes — 7 Bolivianos

2 onions — 3 Bolivianos

1 head lettuce — 4 Bolivianos

1.5 kilogram pork — 30 Bolivianos

1 kilogram yucca — 5 Bolivianos


Rice: First, rinse the rice well to get rid of the starch dust that will prevent your rice from sticking. Put 4 cups of water in a pot. Bring the water to a boil. Add rice plus salt and some butter to give your rice extra flavor. Cover the rice. Once it returns to a boil, turn the heat to low. After about 18 minutes, check to see if the rice has absorbed most of the water, which means it is ready. Once ready, remove rice for heat, drain the remaining water, put the lid back on, and let the rice sit to finish cooking.

Salad: Wash the tomato, onion, and lettuce. Cut into desired size pieces. Mix all ingredients together, add a pinch of salt for flavor, and then set aside.

Yucca: If you are not able to find yucca, you can substitute for potatoes for this recipe. Wash the yucca root then cut both ends off to remove them. Cut along the long side of the yucca making sure to cut through the thick skin. Then use your hands or a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Cut the yucca in half and remove the tough spine in the middle. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the yucca, as you would potatoes, until soft and set aside.

Pork: You can use whatever cut of meat you prefer. In NPH Bolivia, however, the popular cut is a pork chop-style portion prepared over a grill or fire. The pork is placed on the grill and seasoned with only salt and lemon. Once cooked thoroughly and crispy on the outside, the meat is taken off the grill and left to rest or cool down.

Once all cooking and food preparation are complete, it is time to serve the food and enjoy a traditional NPH Bolivia Christmas Eve meal with your friends and family.

Children’s names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Brad Bobel   
Communication Officer




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