• Kristina de Guzman

Taste the Tropics – Tropical Foodie Contest

Updated: Mar 7

Local foodies share their Latin-inspired recipes

Ingredients to make DIY chorizos, including ancho & guajillo peppers.
Photo: Stephen Kozma

Late last year, Paraiso Tropical Latin Market announced its Taste the Tropics – Tropical Foodie Contest on social media for a chance for shoppers and home cooks to win some store goodies.

Perhaps your belated new year’s resolution might be to do some more home cooking? Well, this is just the post to hopefully inspire more of you to experiment with Central and South American ingredients and do some more cooking at home!

Before we share with you the winning foodie photo and recipe, we’ll first share with you some of the other foodie photos that topped our list. We had a chance to contact a couple of other cooks who were kind enough to provide us with more details on their homemade meals – many thanks to all the foodies out there who took part in this culinary challenge!

Chili Verde with Sausage & Pumpkin

By Megan (IG: @etownitsmeagain)

“The dish [has] a Mexican influence. I based my dinner on Aaron Sanchez’s Chili Verde with Sausage and Pumpkin recipe [and the] cooking style that [he] is known for,” shares Megan. “Much like other things I cook, I use a combination of what I have on hand and what I can find locally.”

“I bought the hominy and tomatillos from Paraiso Tropical. I tried looking for both ingredients in other grocery stores, but Paraiso seemed to be the only place in the city that had them!” she observes. “The original recipe asks for fresh tomatillos to make a homemade tomatillo salsa, but I couldn’t find any.

I was able to find canned tomatillos at Paraiso Tropical, which worked really well! I also used Japanese kabocha squash in place of pumpkin.”

Megan adds that the chili is a one-pot dish, which is great for weeknights.

Chili verde with Sausage & Pumpkin based on Food Network's Aaron Sanchez's recipe.
Photo: Megan

Ingredients available at Paraiso:

Other ingredients:

  • Kabocha Squash


1. Sauté chopped onions until they are a bit softened. Then add sausage & cook it until is brown & thoroughly cooked.

2. Season the above with oregano & garlic before adding the tomatillos, hominy & squash.

3. Let the pot simmer until the pumpkin is thoroughly cooked, but not mushy.

4. Garnish the dish with cilantro & chiles (“The recipe only calls to garnish with cilantro and chiles, but I added a bit of lime juice at the end for some acidity to balance out the heat,” offers Megan as a tip).

Brazilian picanha
IG Story: @bubathebostonterrier

Brazilian Picanha

By @bubathebostonterrier

For a simple recipe with few ingredients, check out the online grill’s post!

Ingredients available at Paraiso:

  • Black pepper

Other ingredients:

  • Sirloin cap, rump cover, or rump cap beef

  • Coarse salt (at Paraiso, we carry plain salt)

Pollo Posole Verde (Green Chicken Pozole)

By: Joe Bejcar (IG: @justjoebadger)

“This was a pretty simple recipe I found. I took a bulk of this recipe from a cookbook, but tweaked it a bit for my liking, and it turned out great,” Bejcar shares. “This was the first time my wife and I have ever had hominy and posole!

“We love salsa verde, so we thought it would be a cool thing to try something new and combine some of our favourite flavours, too.”

From Paraiso, Bejcar bought Juanita’s white hominy corn and a can of tomatillos, but there are a few other ingredients from his list that are also available in-store.

“Both my wife and I love food from Latin America, specifically Mexico,” says Bejcar. “So glad that we found your store and we will definitely be back for more ingredients!”

For his pollo posole verde, Bejcar used boneless, skinless chicken.

“I served [the finished dish] with some tortillas and a dollop of lime crema,” he says. “[Posole is] perfect for this cold weather we’ve been having!”

Ingredients to make posole verde. including hominy and tomatillos from Paraiso Tropical Latin Market.
IG Story: @justjoebadger

Ingredients available at Paraiso:

  • Approx. 4 lbs. of chicken thighs

  • 1 white onion (finely chopped)

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 1 tsp. dried oregano

  • 12 oz. of tomatillos (canned or fresh)

  • 2 fresh jalapeños stemmed (leave the seeds in for some extra spice)

  • Two 15 oz. cans of hominy

  • 2 ½ cups (or bunches) of cilantro

  • Salt & pepper

Other ingredients:

  • Approx. 4 lbs. of chicken thighs