Ñachi - Gastro Obscura

Meats & Animal Products


This Chilean dish turns fresh blood into savory jelly.

At first glance, a vibrant tray of ñachi looks like red gelatin. But while gelatin is made of boiled animal bones, ñachi comes from a different source: the blood of a freshly killed pig, lamb, or goat.

Ñachi is a Chilean snack, popular in rural areas (or anywhere pigs, lambs, and goats are accessible). Making ñachi means moving fast. As soon as butchers slaughter the animal, they immediately collect the blood and mix it with lemon juice, salt, cilantro, and smoked pepper. After a setting period, the blood coagulates into a solid jelly that Chileans typically cut into cubes and eat along with bread. But it can be eaten while still soup-like, too.

The word ñachi means “blood “in Mapudungun, an indigenous Chilean language. Though ñachi is a dish of Chile’s Mapuche people, it’s now enjoyed countrywide. According to anthropologists, blood has long been consumed in the region for its nutritional value. At the same time, experts caution that eating raw blood comes with a pathogen risk. But fans of ñachi consider drinking a glass of wine or chicha enough to counteract any possible stomach troubles.

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Written By
Anne Ewbank Anne Ewbank