Peru or Bust, one couple's journey to represent USA abroad and aid in ways small and large.

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Barro Especial..

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This recipe seems to be the best we’ve found to create a layer of special mud (‘barro especial’) inside the combustion chamber of the cookstove.  It takes about 8 days to dry solid but after which the user of the cocina has a great surface to burn whatever size fire they’d like.  Lasts quite awhile as well, since using this for over a year in our area we have yet to run into problems.  Being that there’s no trade secrets here in Peru, I present to you the secret recipe.

1. 1/2 large bucket (‘Cil’ or Oil bucket, 20L) of smooth clay soil (‘Greda’).. make sure it’s smooth and kneaded and you remove by hand all rocks.

2. 1/2 large bucket of fresh cow poop, or better yet, older cow poop that’s been humid or sitting in water for at least a couple weeks (mix into the smooth soil).

3. 1/2 large bucket of sand, make sure to sieve to remove any large chunks or rocks.

Yup, sand.

Yup, sand.

4. 1/3 large bucket of ash, from their regular stove; this you also want to sieve because they’re often be nails from the wood or large chunks of ‘carbon’ or charcoal chunks.

Pure ash is hard to come by, ditch the carbon chunks and metal pieces.

Pure ash is hard to come by, ditch the carbon chunks and metal pieces.

5. 4 tops of chancaca , make sure to melt this ahead of time with 1L of water to have a ‘miel’ or honey or liquid to pour into the mix hot (keep mixing by hand to have a smooth uniform paste).

6. 1kg (or 1L, or 1/4 of a small bucket) of wood glue, you can often find this ‘cola’ for about 20 soles a bucket and this little amount is enough for one cocina.

Dump in just a bit, 1/4 of small pale is all you need.

Dump in just a bit, 1/4 of small pale is all you need.

7. 1/3 large bucket of clippings or sawdust from a chainsaw, this is important that it’s the thick cuttings and NOT sawdust.  These clippings are to substitute for the hay or ‘paja’ and will spread out in the mix easier then anything else.

Once all prepped, toss this on the inside of the cocina anywhere heat will be exposed and save a bit of the excess to give to the family.

While drying the inside of the cocina will start to split a little bit and the family can use the excess to patch or smooth out the small cracks.  As mentioned, in 8 days it should be dry and solid enough to fire up and start enjoying the cocina mejorada.

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Written by galbavy

August 8, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Posted in Improved Cookstoves

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4 Responses

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  1. You could make some awesome fire pits in the U.S. like that??

    Aaron Browne

    August 9, 2014 at 11:30 am

  2. […] commercial version of the cocina mejorada requires material planning and the same special mud (HERE) for use within.  The difference is getting ahold of a nice solid metal ‘plancha’ or […]


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