Guide to Food in Peru

Peru Recipes

Our Favourite Peruvian Recipes

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!

Ceviche recipe

Peruvian Ceviche Recipe

The classic Peruvian entree, ceviche is lip-smackingly refreshing and a doddle to prepare. You can use whatever fish you like, but the classic way is with a fairly firm white fish like cod or hake, so that's what we've used here.


  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 small red birdseye chillies
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1kg white fish (hake, cod, etc)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1 Lettuce
  • 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • Either 8 Peruvian Lemons or 6 Limes and 1 'Normal' Lemon

Method (recipe serves 4):

  1. Cut the fish into small pieces, chop the garlic and chilli very finely.
  2. Leave the fish to marinate in the lemon, lime, garlic and chilli for about 40 mins according to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, finely chop the coriander and cut the onion and red pepper into thin strips.
  4. Also peel and boil the sweet potato, then allow to cool.
  5. After the initial 40 mins, add the coriander, onion and pepper to the marinade and leave for another 20 mins.
  6. Serve on a bed of lettuce, spooning the marinade juices over the fish, salad and sweet potato.

Total Prep time: / Cooking time:

Lomo Saltado recipe

Lomo Saltado

This Chinese-influenced dish is a Peruvian staple and it's really quick to prepare once you have all your ingredients ready. As with many Peruvian main courses, 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 of Soy Sauce

Method (recipe serves 4):

  1. 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.
  2. Finely chop the chilli/aji, coriander and garlic
  3. Put the rice on to boil, seasoning well and adding about a third of the garlic
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Next add the chilli/aji, onion, pepper, tomatoes and oregano. Splash on salt, pepper and a bit more soy sauce as well.
  7. 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!
  8. 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:

Peruvian Arroz con Leche recipe

Arroz con Leche

And for dessert, a small Peruvian rice pudding! A doddle to prepare and served cold so you don't have to worry about timing.


  • 500g long-grain rice
  • 900ml (1.5pts) semi-skinned milk
  • 300ml (0.5 pint) evaporated milk
  • 100g cane sugar
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • Handful of raisins
  • (Optional) Splash of Brandy
  • Pinch of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon

Method (recipe serves 4):

  1. Soak the rice in hot water for 10 mins.
  2. Drain and put in a high-sided pan with a lid. Add about 2/3 of the semi-skimmed milk and stir.
  3. Cover, and bring the mixture to the boil. Once the mixture is boiling, place the pan in a pre-heated oven (180C, Gas Mark 4) for 15 minutes.
  4. While the pan is in the oven, heat the remaining semi-skimmed milk in another pan, adding the cinnamon stick, evaporated milk and sugar. Leave barely simmering for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the raisins, vanilla extract and brandy to taste. Leave to simmer for another ten minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven. The milk should be completely absorbed by the rice. Add the contents of the two pans, and cook, stirring often, for five minutes.
  7. To serve: Spoon into small bowls and leave to cool. Serve cool/cold with a very light dusting of cinnamon powder on top.

Total Prep time: / Cooking time:

Pisco Sour recipe

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):

  1. Add the Pisco and egg-white to a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
  2. In the shaker add the crunched ice cubes and stir until you can see the ice start to melt.
  3. Add the sugar and lemon or lime juice and stir slowly until the ice has melted completely.
  4. Serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon and a single drop of bitters..

Total Prep time:

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