Traditional Peruvian Cuisine

In light of our up-coming Peruvian dinner outing this Friday (for which a few spots remain, click this link) I thought I would write a bit about the traditional cuisine. This blog also brings back fond memories of my trip to this truly amazing country. Go if you have a chance.

Peruvian cuisine combines the flavors of four continents: South America with its Inca heritage; Europe following the conquest; and Africa and Asia from immigrated and enslaved labor workers. The food is also highly influenced by the various climates found within the country. Recipes from the Pacific coast are quite different then the ones found in the Andes or in the jungle.

Probably the most traditional dish is the Ceviche which is found in almost all Peruvian restaurants….including El Limon Verde. In its classic form, ceviche is composed of chunks of raw fish and seafood, lime or lemon juice, sliced onion, herbs and spices. Potatoes abound in Peru (about 200 varieties) so another common dish is the Papas a la Huancaina, a dish consisting of sliced boiled potatoes, served on a bed of lettuce with a slightly spicy cheese sauce. There are many chicken recipes, a favourite being the Aji de gallina, consisting of thin strips of chicken served with a creamy yellow and spicy sauce.

Perhaps less pleasing to our North American palate, the popular Anticuchos (marinated beef heart brochettes), alpaca meat (lamas) and THE Andes specialty of guinea pig, are a common sight on all menus in Peru. I can say first hand alpaca is good but did not try the other two.

The Peruvian beverages can be fun to explore. The traditional cocktail, Pisco Sour, is made from Pisco (a kind of brandy), lemon juice, the white of an egg and sugar. The soft drink of choice is Inka Cola, quite reminiscent of our cream soda. Often found in Montreal restaurants specializing in Peruvian food, the local Cuzqueña beer is made in Cuzco. The Chicha is made of fermented corn and aromatic herbs.

Hope that got you all salivating a bit and that we will see you Friday.

Hugs and biscuits,
Evelyne

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