Peru Food – Andes
Since the Inca Civilization people living in the Andes have based their diet on potatoes, maize and meat. Soups and stews are among the most popular dishes. Everything goes into it including meat, many kinds of potatoes, maize, carrots, local spices and hot peppers. They are cooked for hours because of the lower oxygen at high altitude.
Pachamanca is a cooking method which has been used in the Andes for centuries and it is still very popular all over the Andean region. Placed underground on a bed of hot stones seasoned meat, herbs and vegetables are slowly cooked for many hours. Because it takes a long time to cook it is usually a special treat and it is done during celebrations.
Cuy chactado is grilled or fried guinea pig which can also be cooked as part of a pachamanca. Guinea pigs have been part of the Andean diet for centuries, even before the Incas ruled Peru. It is the most popular dish in the highlands.
Olluquito con charqui is another traditional dish of the Andean cuisine. Olluco is a yellow tuber similar to a small potato but crunchy when cooked. Charqui is similar to jerky meat, traditionally made from alpaca or llama, but today is commonly made from sheep.
Rocoto Relleno is a traditional dish from Arequipa. Rocotos are large oval shaped very hot chilis that are stuffed with ground beef or pork, diced onions, eggs, olives and local spices. They are covered with cheese and placed in the oven.
Papa a la Huancaina is a traditional dish from Huancayo. It contains boiled potatoes in a creamy yellow sauce called Huancaina. This sauce is made from sweet red and orange hot peppers, cheese, milk and Peruvian yellow hot chili. It is garnished with lettuce, olives, corn and hard boiled egg.
In the Coast, seafood is the heart of its many dishes. Perhaps the most popular dish is ceviche.
Fried bananas is the most common garnish to every dish. Fresh water fish and local fruits are the base of many dishes.
Crops endemic to Peru have been consumed since pre-Colombian civilizations. The potato is the main ingredient in many Andean dishes.