Among the greatest cuisines of the world is that of Peru. Over the last 500 years, this cuisine has taken in influences from almost every continent, melding those influences with ingredients and dishes that are directly connected to the Incas. Peru's cuisine is renowned for the ceviche, a raw seafood dish marinated in lime juice and other herbs, but its ingredients are as varied as its preparations. From sashimi to stir-fried beef, pasta to chilies, Peruvian dishes encompass the globe. We spoke to Jose Manuel Sabrera Meza, Peruvian Head Chef of ICHU restaurant & terreza.
Chef Manuel introduces authentic Peruvian cuisine to Hong Kong diners, with the intention to recreate the casual, fun and relaxed experience you can find when dining in Lima.
1) El Aderezo
In traditional Peruvian gastronomy, the seasoning is a slow-cooked frying in oil or animal fat that combines red onion, garlic, and chili peppers and serves as the basis for a large part of the dishes of Peruvian Cuisine. El Aderezo Peruano presents various variations, the cuisine of the Coast typically includes seasonings based on yellow chili, while the dishes of the Sierra usually include seasonings of chili panca, although notable exceptions are found in both environments. On the north coast, el aderezo of yellow chili and panca plus coriander is widely used, and eventually squash loche, (Zapallo Loche) to make dishes such as Cabrito a la norteña and Arroz Con Pato.
The Peruvian Aderezo has important parallels with the Spanish sofrito.
2) El Limon
Is the key ingredient for dishes such as ceviche and drinks such as the Pisco Sour; but Peruvians usually add citrus drops to almost all fish-based dishes, in addition to any type of broth.
3) Aji Amarillo, Aji Panca, Aji Mirasol
The DNA of Peruvian food carries chili in its veins. A large number of Peruvian dishes are prepared with these peppers, which after boiling them and removing the spice, to provide a delicate and representative unique flavour of our Peruvian cuisine.
4) La Papa
This humble tuber is Peru's greatest contribution to the kitchen. Peruvian potatoes can be round or elongated; purple, almost blue, white, pink, yellow, or brown; smooth or wrinkled-skinned. Not in vain, in Peru there are over 4500 types of potatoes according of the International Potato Center. A large number of stews contain potatoes and soups, the representative dish is “La Causa”, usually prepared with yellow potatoes, Yellow Chili & Lime.
5) El Culantro
In Peru, coriander or cilantro is used in dishes such as arroz con pollo, aguadito, green tamales, pickled, and ceviche. Coriander is a basic ingredient in Peruvian cuisine, it is used as a seasoning. It is usually abundant within the departments of Loreto and Ucayali. Among the dishes within Peruvian gastronomy that use coriander are those that mostly use fish.