Aaron a passionate “foodie” guide in Lima, Peru has taken culinary tours to the next level by throwing open the doors of his mother’s kitchen to visitors. (You can read more about that tour here.) Today he’s going to tell us a bit about Peruvian food, including five dishes he thinks every traveler should try.
Peru is becoming well known around the world for its products and food. The people who lived in Lima in 100 B.C. used to worship the wheals and the Pacific Ocean was the major food resource. Today Peru grows around 500 different kinds of potatoes, while asparagus and quinoa cereal (increasingly popular in North America) is exported around the world. Our yellow and purple corn surprises people by its size and taste. And then we have the Aji, our Peruvian chilies that are not just hot but flavorful.
In some point during my life I fell in love with Peruvian food. From my Mother’s kitchen I understood that one of the things that enriches my heart is to see how people enjoy every dish of Peru’s gastronomy. Below, I’m going to share with you five of my favourite Peruvian dishes:
CHICHA MORADA - Purple corn drink
Before starting any tour you must have enough energy for the walking. I always love to start by drinking a glass of refreshing Chicha Morada, a combination of purple corn, cinnamon, cloves and pineapple gives an original and natural taste.
PAPA A LA HUANCAINA – Potatoes in a Peruvian sauce
I think the huancaina sauce can be combined with any potato: white, yellow or native ones. Here in Peru we have around 500 kinds of possible potatoes to mix. To prepare the sauce we use green chilies, crackers, milk, fresh cheese and oil. Huancaina shares the name of the region it’s from, a 12 hour train ride from Lima, spectacular views in an unforgettable train trip.
CEVICHE – Raw fish marinated in key lime juice
The best place to have an original ceviche is along the coast of Peru, where the white fish we use to prepare this dish usually have been fished out of the ocean the same day. Can you find something more fresh than that? To prepare this spectacular dish we need white fish cut in pieces, onions, garlic, aji, key lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
ARROZ CON POLLO – Chicken with rice
Parsley and cilantro are the two principal ingredients for this dish, they gave the flavor and color to the rice, the green aji give the final touch, but do not be afraid! These chilies are not making this dish hot at all. Carrots, peas and corn are part of the garnish. Personally I love the leg from the chicken - let me know if you like it too when you book the tour!
The grapes arrived in Peru in the 16th century via the Canary Islands, and the perfect place to grow them was the desert lands of Ica. The climate was appropriate to grow a quality of grape perfect to produce a distillation named Pisco. A Pisco Sour is the perfect way to finish a long day tour. I am always in charge of making it for all of my guests. To prepare it I mix Pisco, simple syrup, key lime juice, ice, bitters and egg whites.
Are you hungry already? The variety of dishes is truly diverse around the country: I invite you to visit and taste the flavors of Peru.
Aaron has just introduced a new culinary tour in Lima - you can read all about here: Aaron's Gastronomy Tour.