Last years Foodie fashion and undeserving of the moving on of fickle gastro-tourists, the Peruvian cuisine is healthy and vibrant albeit challenging at times- you may not find all the ingredients in your local stores. Martin Morales, the chef-patron of Ceviche restaurant has written a book which will go some way towards satisfying the cravings of those unable to visit his establishment. An ingredient glossary and sourcing guides are included and mail order is available.
Reading like a user friendly History lesson, our favourite recipes are laced with Inca staples – Quinoa, potatoes and chiles married with ingredients brought over by the Spanish Conquistadors – pig, chicken and citrus prepared in ways evocative of the Moors who, in their time, also left their mark upon many European cultures. Slaves from Angola and the Congo brought over sugar cane and pumpkin and concocted delicious rib sticking stews and broths with them. Throw in Japanese sushi and sashimi techniques riffing off deep water South American fish stocks and you get Peruvian Ceviche. Raw fish is marinaded in palm sugar or sugar cane, lime and chile; this sharply opaque ‘Tigers Milk’ swipes the palate.
Two oft- prepared recipes in our home are the Pepian Des Pallares, a butterbean puree and Pastel De Choclo. The latter are little fried corn cakes inbued with Queso Fresco- fresh farmers cheese. Simple, inexpensive and great for kids too.