Classic Peruvian Lunch Recipes
When we manage to get back to Lima, this is exactly the sort of food we hope to see on the menu del dia in one of our favourite local restaurants - it's perfect for spending an hour or so in company, catching up on all the gossip and discussing the inevitable new corruption scandal... Happily, however, these dishes are really easy to make at home.
One of the real joys of Peruvian cuisine is the variety and quality of the raw ingredients, and we know it can be hard to get everything you need here in the UK, although there is talk of Waitrose starting to stock some Peruvian ingredients, so you never know... Where it can be difficult, we've tried to suggest suitable alternatives, although we do often have to resort to packing suitcases full of goodies whenever we're coming back from Peru...
Here are some of the principal ingredients you'll see in these recipes:
- Aji: similar to chilli peppers and either yellow, orange or red - about the same heat as a decent birdseye chilli in the UK.
- Arroz: Peruvians use an American-style long-grained white rice and usually steam it with chopped garlic and salt.
- Papas: Most recipes call for the classic Peruvian yellow potatoes (papa amarillo) but these creamy beauties are impossible to get in the UK - Charlotte or Desiree spuds aren't too far off.
- Peruvian Lemons: Peruvian limones are used in everything from cocktails to salad dressings in Peru. They look more like our limes, but have a flavour somewhere in-between lemon and lime, so if you can't get them a mixture of half-lemon, half-lime will do the trick.
- Rocoto: From the same family as the aji, a rocoto is still slightly spicy but the same size as a 'normal' pepper in the UK so they are often served stuffed or finely sliced as a garnish.
The recipes above won't take long to prepare or cook - the arroz con leche can be prepared well ahead of time, so the important thing is to get the order right for the ceviche and the lomo saltado. The trick is to start the ceviche about an hour before the meal and leave it to 'cook' while you prep all the ingredients for the lomo saltado. Then you can serve the ceviche, clear the plates and flash-fry the lomo saltado so it's absolutely fresh to the table!
This Chinese-influenced dish is a Peruvian staple and it's really quick to prepare once you have all your ingredients ready. The recipe calls for both chips and rice but the chips are an intrinsic part of the dish so don't try and get all healthy on us...
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 500g of good beef steak
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 aji / red birdseye chilli
- 2 medium red onions
- 500g potatoes for chipping
- 400g long-grain rice
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Bunch of fresh coriander
- Pinch of ground cumin
- Pinch of dried oregano
- Splash of red wine
- Splash Soy Sauce
Method (recipe serves 4):
- Chip and fry the potatoes (of course you can use oven chips but it's just not the same, is it?). Set aside for the moment.
- Finely chop the chilli/aji, coriander and garlic
- Put the rice on to boil, seasoning well and adding about a third of the garlic
- While the rice is cooking, cut the steak into thin strips about 5cm long and chop the onions, tomatoes and pepper into good-sized chunks.
- Heat the oil in a wok or similar. Add the rest of the garlic, then the steak strips, a splash of wine, a good glug of soy sauce, sprinkle on the cumin and and cook until browned.
- Next add the chilli/aji, onion, pepper, tomatoes and oregano. Splash on salt, pepper and a bit more soy sauce as well.
- Stir and turn it onto a medium-low heat, cover, throw on the chopped coriander and leave for 5 minutes or so - under NO circumstances let it over cook!
- To serve, make a 'volcano' of rice on each plate, then quickly add the chips to the pan, stir, and spoon the lomo saltado into the crater of each volcano.
Total Prep time: / Cooking time:
Pisco Sour Recipe
Pisco is the national drink of Peru. A clear brandy, it can be drunk neat but is usually used in cocktails such as algorrobina or as a Pisco Sour, the classic Peruvian cocktail! It's up to you whether you have them as an aperitif or make a batch to get stuck into after your meal...
- 3 glasses of Pisco Puro
- >1.5 glasses of white sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1 glass of crunched-up ice cubes
- 2 glasses of Peruvian lemon juice/lime juice
- Drop of Angostura bitters
- Pinch of powdered cinnamon
Method (recipe makes 4-5 Pisco Sours):
- Add the Pisco and egg-white to a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
- In the shaker add the crunched ice cubes and stir until you can see the ice start to melt.
- Add the sugar and lemon or lime juice and stir slowly until the ice has melted completely.
- Serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon and a single drop of bitters..
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