Presenting the cuisine of the Andes
It is already known worldwide that Peruvian cuisine is among the best in the world. Local chefs are creating extraordinary recipes with native ingredients mixed with their new techniques. We reproduce an article recently published in Epicurious, a website known for its great recipes and recommendations.
"As they say, everything old is new again. And in the case of Peru, when we say old we mean ancient. Take quinoa, a nutty-flacored, 3,000-year-old Incan grain. This low-carb, high-protein, nutrient-rich "wonder food" is now showing up in contemporary Peruvian cooking just one example of how local chefs are looking past colonial Spanish influences to their Incan roots.
First, a little history
Traditional Peruvian cooking is a hybrid of Spanish and native Indian foodways. Many staples, such as potatoes, corn, peanuts, chiles, and fresh seafood, date back to the Incan empire, which flourished in the Andes for thousands of years. When Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 16th century, they brought European-style desserts and ingredients such as chicken, beef, and citrus fruits. Later, African, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese immigrants added to the mix, forming the spicy cuisine that is still cooked in many homes and restaurants today.
Back to the future
Cutting-edge Peruvian gastronomes, however, are now turning back to their ancient past - and reinventing it. Lima, a culinary hot spot where new cooking schools and restaurants seem to open every day, has given birth to the Novandina ("New Andean") movement, which draws on pre-Conquest Incan ingredients and fuses them with innovative modern preparations to create dishes like quinoa "risotto" and "ravioli" made from slices of mango. Popularized by influential chef Don Cucho La Rosa at his Lima restaurant Pantagruel, the Novoandina gospel is now being spread worldwide by chefs such as Gaston Acurio, who operates branches of his restaurant Gaston y Astrid in Lima and Santiago, Chile, and is about to open another in Bogotá, Colombia.
Can I cook at home?
You can and you'll be glad you did! Chef Emmanuel Piqueras Villaran, who has brought New Andean cuisine to the U.S. at Andina restaurant in Portland, Oregon, shared some of the creative "new-old" recipes that he teaches in his cooking classes. We've also included traditional recipes for Peruvian favorites from Copeland Marks's The Exotic Kitchens of Peru."