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Peruvian Cuisine and Recipes

Peruvian Recipes, Food and Cooking

Cooking by Country - February 2003


Scroll down for Traditional Recipes from Peru



Go to:-   Peru Speciality Dish  | Peru Featured Ingredient  |  Cooking by Country Main Page



Land of the Incas, The Republic of Peru is situated in South America.


There are three main geographical regions: desert along the western coastline bordering the Pacific Ocean, mountainous in the central region and in the east and  low-lying tropical plains in the Amazon River basin each with varying climates which affects the food grown and eaten in the different regions.


Ancient Times, History and Influences on Peruvian Cooking


Between 1100 to 1300, the Inca tribe migrated into the area although one of the oldest dishes of Peru which is still prepared today, dates back 1500 years, pre-Inca. It's called Pachamanca which means "food cooked under ground." In this recipe, meat,  root crops and corn are placed in the bottom of a leaf-lined pit and seasoned with cinnamon and cloves. A final layer of leaves are used to seal the food in, then the whole thing is topped with hot stones, covered with earth and left  to cook for 12 hours.


With the varying climates in the three main regions, Peru had a wealth of "indigenous" crops and livestock to feature in everyday cooking, with its staple foods being corn and potatoes and not forgetting fish and seafood which were abundantly caught along its extensive coastline. Grains such as Kiwicha and Quinoa were also staples of the Inca diet, being high sources of protein. 


In 1532 the Spanish  invaded the country in search of riches and found them in the form of large deposits of gold and silver. They stayed until 1821 by which time they had introduced vegetables and herbs such as lettuce,  onions,  coriander, parsley, oranges and  limes,  plus wheat, chicken, pork and lamb as well as elements of their culture and cuisine.


Current Day Peruvian Cuisine


Peruvian cooking differs by region. Whilst potatoes, corn and rice are still the staples of everyday cuisine, the three varying climates each have their own influences on what is cooked.


Along the costal region, as one might expect,  the concentration is on  seafood and shellfish with other favourites being kid and chicken.  In the central highlands, a more substantial style of cooking prevails: meat served with rice or potatoes being the mainstay of the diet.  In the Amazon jungle regions, the diet consists mainly of fish such as river trout, supplemented with tropical fruit and vegetables such as sweet potatoes and plantains. Wild boar, turtle, monkey  and piranha fish are some of the more exotic ingredients used. 


A common ingredient used throughout Peru is Ají, a hot chili pepper which is used to spice up many dishes.


Click here for lots of Peruvian Recipes

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