You’re likely familiar with Brazilian cuisine and, by year’s end, many foodies will be hooked on the fare of Brazil’s culinary neighbour – Peru, as Peruvian cuisine hits the consumer consciousness.
Neither overtly spicy nor safely bland, feasting Peruvian style uses a diverse menu of common ingredients transformed by rich flavours from rich soils and culture.
A typical Peruvian dish is Pollo a la Brasa, a flavoursome seasoned rotisserie chicken in a charcoal-fired oven. A traditional Chinese-Peruvian fusion is Lomo Saltado – sautéed onions, tomatoes and beef, enhanced with a splash of wine. Papas a la Huancaina laces potatoes in a spicy cheese sauce, and Rocoto Relleno presents stuffed peppers. Aji de Galina is spicy creamy chicken – Aji being the native chilli pepper – around 50 are used in Peruvian cuisine.
While Peru is synonymous with rainforests and mountains, the coastal areas are responsible for perhaps its most famous dish – ceviche, a decadent seafood morsel often an appetiser on our menus. This traditional treat is a fusion of cubed fresh fish which ‘cooks’ in its acidic piquant marinade of lime, onions, chilli peppers and cilantro (coriander). Also, raw fish, sashimi style, as in Tiradito Chifa, hails from Peru’s historical Japanese influence. And Chupe de Camarones is a succulent shrimp chowder.
Tomatoes, corn and surprisingly the humble potato – Peru has around 4,000 varieties – originated from this part of the world’s fertile land. Peru introduced us to the protein-packed grain staple, quinoa and the superfood powdered-root vegetable, maca, now revving up our smoothies.
Devour these South American delights.