Want to learn about Peruvian food? Looking for Peruvian recipes? Read Virgilio Martinez's guide below, then check out more Peruvian recipes.
Recipes extracted from The Latin American Cookbook, by Virgilio Martínez (£25, Phaidon).
Peruvian food is all about biodiversity. The most popular recipes and dishes are a result of many years of natural fusion of different cultures (such as the Inca, pre-Inca, etc) and landscapes, from different regions and different ecosystems, food from the sea, the coast, from Lima the capital city and from the Andes and the Amazon.
It is difficult to discuss one Peruvian cuisine, as there are probably thousands of them and most of them are related to the intense vibrant flavours and colours of the ingredients. Peru produces a huge diversity of corns, vegetable roots, tubers and potatoes, as well as cacao, coffee, Amazonian fruits, and there are lots yet to be discovered.
Eating out in Peru is very much about what we now call street food but has existed before this became a popular concept. If one is going out in Peru it will be primarily for food and drink. These are inherent to the culture. But the type of place you visit will change depending on where you are in Peru.
Most of the traditions and celebrations are related to the harvest and very iconic ingredients that we honour. So there are celebrations for corn and for the harvest season of potatoes. Also the beginning of the summer season, which is the opposite to the northern hemisphere.
Scallops are plentiful and inexpensive on the Peruvian coast, and this conchas a la parmesana Peru recipe is one of the simplest recipes in all of Peruvian gastronomy. It is also one of the biggest crowd-pleasers at a backyard barbecue.
This puca picante Peru (spicy potato, pork and beetroot stew) is wonderful served with white rice for a hearty dinner for four.
Try this classic Peruvian brandy cocktail, made with pisco, fresh lime juice and egg whites. A few drops of bitters are added to top the egg-white foam.