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Many of us are fans of the spices and flavors found in Mexican cuisine. Whether you love fiery jalapeño peppers or creamy, melted cheese, Latin American dishes offer something for everyone.
Influential chefs and culinary experts have recently drawn attention to the cuisine of Peru. As one of the most culturally and geographically diverse nations on the planet, Peru offers visitors the chance to try fusion dishes that combine locally-grown ingredients with exotic, foreign flavors.
If you visit a major city with a large population, there’s a good chance you might be able to find a Peruvian restaurant to visit. If not, simplified versions of the nation’s most popular dishes can often be prepared at home.
Are you interested in sampling the flavors of Peru? Here are just a few recipes to get you started!
Featuring raw seafood cured in citrus juices and spicy peppers, ceviche is perhaps the most iconic Peruvian dish. If you’re looking to enjoy a healthy, flavorful lunch or dinner, try preparing ceviche!
Prep Time: 20 minutes (plus time for defrosting fish, if frozen)
Cook Time: 3-5 hours
1 pound (450 grams) of firm, white fish, such as halibut or bass, cut into small cubes
4 ounces (120 ml) of citrus juice (lime or lemon)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) of orange juice
1 medium white onion
1-2 medium tomatoes, seeded and cubed
1 medium bell pepper, diced
Hot peppers of your choice - 1 or 2 jalapeños, serranos, or habaneros, finely chopped and seeded
1 large, ripe avocado, diced
Fresh cilantro and herbs to taste
Salt to taste
Optional: corn or sweet potato as a side dish
1.) In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the fish, citrus juice, orange juice, and onion. Pour in enough juice so that the fish is covered and floats freely in the bowl. Add more juice if necessary. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for 3-4 hours or until the fish is opaque and no longer appears raw.
2.) Drain most of the juices from the bowl. Combine the tomatoes, bell pepper, hot peppers, herbs, and salt to season the fish. To allow the flavors to blend, refrigerate for an extra hour. Otherwise, serve immediately with diced avocado and a side dish of your choice.
Chifa is the culinary tradition combining Chinese and Peruvian cuisine. Perhaps the most popular chifa dish is lomo saltado, a dish consisting of beef steak, onions, french fries, tomatoes, and rice. Traditionally seasoned with soy sauce and vinegar, this flavorful dish brings together the best flavors from both continents!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
16 ounces (1 pound/454 grams) of packaged, frozen French fries (or an equivalent amount of potatoes, sliced into fries)
1 pound (454 grams) of beef steak, thinly sliced into strips
3 large tomatoes, seeded and sliced into strips
1 large onion, thinly sliced into strips
1-2 hot peppers, finely diced (ideally Peruvian aji amarillo peppers, though they are generally difficult to find in other countries; other spicy yellow peppers, such as chilis or habaneros, may be substituted)
2 ounces (60 ml) of distilled white vinegar
Soy sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Herbs, such as parsley, to taste
Vegetable oil or cooking oil of your choice, as needed
1.) Prepare the package of frozen French fries according to the package instructions, or fry your own sliced potatoes.
2.) As the fries cook, begin heating oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When heated, place the sliced beef in the pan and season it with salt and pepper. Fry the meat and remove it from the pan when it is slightly tender, though not fully cooked.
3.) Place the onions in the frying pan. Add extra cooking oil if necessary. When the onions have become transparent, add the tomato and hot peppers.
4.) When the tomatoes and peppers are slightly tender, add the vinegar, soy sauce, and French fries. Cover the pan and allow the beef to cook for 3-4 minutes, or until it is cooked through.
5.) Remove the dish from the pan, sprinkle with parsley and herbs, and season to taste. Serve and enjoy!
Pisco Sour Cocktail
The pisco sour, Peru’s national drink, is truly iconic. This citrusy, exotic cocktail pairs perfectly with any Peruvian entrée. Use a cocktail shaker or a blender to make this tasty beverage at home!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
3 ounces (90 ml) of pisco brandy
1 egg white
1 ounce (30 ml) of simple syrup (a 1:1 blend of water and sugar)
1 ounce (30 ml) of lime juice, preferably from a key lime
2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
1.) Mix the pisco, egg white, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Alternatively, place the ingredients in a blender and blend in a similar manner.
2.) Strain the drink into a cocktail glass. Sprinkle the Angostura bitters on top of the foam and enjoy!
If Peruvian cuisine has caught your interest, there are dozens of other national dishes worth trying! Anticuchos, marinated skewers similar to shish kebabs, are one popular Peruvian street food favorite that can easily be prepared at home. Anyone with a sweet tooth will want to try Peruvian desserts like suspiro de limeña, a rich, sweet treat featuring dulche de leche, meringue, and port wine.
If you’re looking to try more excellent Peruvian dishes, simply look up a few recipes online! Your family – and your taste buds – will thank you!
Photo: © lblinova / fotolia.com