Peruvian Ceviche

 
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Oh ceviche, how I love you! “The National Dish of Peru,” ceviche is not only delicious, but also perfect for the summer. It’s healthy – fresh, natural, low fat, low carb and gluten free. I would eat it every day if I could.

In Peru, you can find a Cevicheria, which specializes in ceviche and other seafood, on almost every corner in seaside neighborhoods as well as throughout Lima. Classic ceviche consists of pieces of fish marinated in key lime or lime that gets served with thinly julienned red onion, sweet potato (great to counteract the acidity of the lime), corn, toasted corn “cancha,” rocoto aji or aji limo, and, if available, a seaweed called “Yuyo.” “Leche de Tigre” is the marinade of the ceviche, which is normally drunk in a shot glass with a touch of Pisco (though that is not necessary). Some people say it’s great for hangovers as well as an aphrodisiac.

The key to a good ceviche is the freshness of the fish, which should be a firm, white-fleshed fish. There are many variations of ceviche, all seafood with shrimp, calamari, scallops, mussels and any other sea-dwelling creature you can think of; tuna ceviche, Japanese style; even mushroom ceviche, which is great for vegans!

 

Ingredients

Serves: 4

1 2/4lb Mahi Mahi or any firm flesh fish

1 red onion in very fine slices (Julienne)

1 Habanero Pepper, seeded and chopped finely

1 garlic clove crushed and finely chopped

1 Tbsp Rocoto Pepper puree (available at any Latin American store)

Juice of 10 limes (squeezed right before preparation)

Salt

Chopped Cilantro

Corn kernel (could be the Peruvian type available frozen in Latin American stores)

Boiled or Roasted Sweet Potato

Lettuce leave

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Steps

1. Cut fish into bite size pieces.

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2. Rinse cut onions and let drain well.

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3. In a large bowl, mix together fish with onion, season with salt and add chopped cilantro and habanero. Add the lime juice of two limes and toss.

 
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4. In a blender add the rest of lime juice, the Rocoto, and garlic, pour over fish mix.

5. Serve Ceviche immediately garnish by sweet potato, fresh cook corn and leaves of lettuce.

 
 
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Minestrone Soup

 
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You must be thinking “minestrone soup”? In Peru? Yes, the soup shows some of the many influences of Italian cuisine in Peru, brought by Italians who migrated to Lima as far back as 1530s. The base color of the soup is green from the combination of spinach and basil. But there is so much more to it than just soup – it’s a meal in itself. Filled with meat, beans, legumes and vegetables, and served with rice, one large bowl of Sopa Menestron will be enough to fill you up for the rest of the day.

My mom cooked minestrone soup on Sundays and it always came accompanied with a side of white rice, even though it had ziti-style noodles in it since my dad wanted noodles in the soup. This is how she served the soup: she’d put it in a large bowl with a piece of meat, potato, corn and vegetables. We’d get a small plate of white rice on the side and you could either transfer the white rice into the bowl or place your meat, potato and corn on the plate and eat it with the rice. Whichever way you eat it, this soup is delicious – let me know what you think of this Peruvian version of minestrone.

 

Ingredients

Serves: 6 - 8

1/3 cup olive oil

1 cup basil leaves

1 cup spinach leaves

1 garlic clove

2 qts water

2 qts natural beef stock

2 lb of cubed beef loin (preferable with the bone)

2 celery leaves

½ cup leek, small diced

½ cup pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cubed

 

3 medium white potatoes, quartered

2 oz white beans

2 oz lima beans

3 corn on the cob, husk removed and cut into three pieces

½ cup green beans, medium diced

2 carrots, medium diced

1 ½ cup ziti noodles

1 small green cabbage, cut into six wedges

Salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese to taste

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Steps

Place the olive oil, basil, spinach and garlic clove in a blender and blend for 3 minutes or until a puree forms – if needed, you can add two tablespoons of water to help it emulsify. Pour the mix in a large bowl and set aside.

2. In a large pot over medium high heat, pour the water and beef stock then add the beef, celery leaves, leek and pumpkin. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and lower the heat to medium and let simmer for 1 hour.

3. Then add the white potato, white beans, lima beans, corn, green beans and carrots. Simmer for 20 minutes, then add the noodles, cabbage and the spinach/basil mixture. Cook for about 10 more minutes until the noodles are al dente.

4. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve. Enjoy!

Chicha Morada - Purple Corn Refresher

 
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Chicha Morada (“chichi” for short) is one of the most popular non-alcoholic drinks in Peru, especially on the coast. Made of purple corn, which gives it its distinctive color and lends the name “morada” or purple in Spanish, Chicha has been a staple of every birthday party in my family, whether for children or adults.

I remember my mom and aunts making Chicha in big pots on a portable stove out on the patio hours before a party, simmering it for a long time and then making sure it cools down so it will be refreshing. Today, my kids have inherited my love for Chicha and every time we visit a Peruvian restaurant, that’s the first thing they order.

In addition to being delicious, Chicha has many healthy and nutritious properties, including promoting blood flow, reducing cholesterol and supporting healthy blood sugar levels. Also, it curbs your appetite and has incredible antioxidant levels.

Ingredients

4 lbs purple corn on the cob

3 cinnamon sticks

2 cloves

1 pineapple, finely diced, skin reserved

2 quince (you can substitute with 2 granny smith apples), quartered with skin on

4 qts water

Sugar to taste

Juice of 3 limes

1 apple, finely diced

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Steps

1. Remove the corn from the cobs and wash everything thoroughly.

2. In a tall, pot place the cobs, corn, cinnamon sticks, cloves, skin of the pineapple and quince or cooking apples, then add the water.

3. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes over medium high heat, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 1 hour. When the kernels have burst, remove pot from the heat, strain and let cool.

4. Once the liquid cools, transfer to a glass pitcher and add sugar to taste, lime juice and the chopped pineapple and apple.

5. Served fully chilled, adding ice if desired.

Artichoke Tequeños

 
 
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INGREDIENTS

24  wonton wraps 4x4

¼ cup spinach raw

1 cup artichoke hearts drained

6 oz cream cheese

1 garlic clove

 

2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

1 egg, mixed

2 cups frying oil

Guacamole for dipping

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STEPS

 

1.  In a food processor mix the spinach, artichoke hearts, cream cheese, garlic, clove, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Once mixed, set aside on bowl.

2. Place wonton wraps on top of table and using a thin cooking brush spread egg mix on edges.

3. Fill wonton with a teaspoon of mix and fold in three. Secure the edges and dust with flour so they don’t stick, place them on tray.

4. On a pot, add the two cups of oil, when hot carefully place the tequenos.

5. Fry until golden.

6. Serve with Guacamole or your favorite dipping sauce!

 

Artichoke & Avocado Toast

 
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INGREDIENTS

Yield 6 Servings

 

2 riped avocados halved, pitted and peeled

1 12oz jar artichokes drained

⅓ cup cream cheese

1 small clove garlic

 

 

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 baguette thinly sliced

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Garnish:

6oz grape tomatoes cut in half

½ red onion diced

1 lime

Chives finely chopped

 

STEPS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place sliced bread on baking sheet and drizzle olive oil, season with Salt and pepper. Bake for 10 min or until golden. When ready put aside to cool.

2. In a food processor mix the avocado, artichokes, cream, garlic and lime juice. Pulse 3 times counting to 7 to be mashed and mix all ingredients.

3. In a bowl mix garnish ingredients, season with salt and pepper.

4. To serve, divide then mashed avocado and artichoke evenly among the toasts and top with tomato garnish.

Enjoy!

 

 

Quinoa Bowl with Seasonal Vegetables

 
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Ingredients

 

Yield: 4 people

2 cups quinoa

1/3 cup Olive Oil

1 medium red onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 Avocado from Peru

½ tsp aji mirasol paste (found at Latin American markets or online)

 

½  cup green asparagus, cooked and cut into ½” pieces

½  cup roasted peppers, diced

½ cup sundried tomatoes, julienned

1/3 cup lime juice

½ tsp yellow mustard

1 tsp cumin seeds

 

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Steps:

1. Rinse the quinoa under cold water in a fine meshed strainer to remove any dirt or impurities.

2. In a medium-sized pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat, add the onion and cook until translucent, then add crushed garlic and annatto powder. Stir then add aji mirasol and cook for 1 minute.

3. Add the quinoa and hot water, mix all the ingredients together well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, leave uncovered and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa looks fluffy. Place the quinoa in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and separate it by running a fork through it. Once the quinoa cools down, add vegetables.

4. In a separate bowl, combine lime juice, mustard, cumin seeds and olive oil and mix well. Pour the mixture over the quinoa and add chopped cilantro. Adjust seasoning if necessary and enjoy!

Cooking Tip: Always season quinoa after it is cooked because adding salt from the beginning will prevent it from cooking and becoming fluffy.

 

Peruvian Roasted Chicken

 
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Ingredients

 

Yield: 4 people

1 whole chicken (about 2 -3 ½ lbs) without giblets

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp pepper

1 tbsp aji panca paste

3 tbsp garlic paste

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp huacatay (black mint) (you can buy it as a frozen paste at any Latin American store)

1 tsp rosemary, finely chopped

1 tsp oregano

1 tbsp soy sauce

¼ cup dark beer

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Steps:

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

2. Mix the rest of the ingredients thoroughly to form a paste, adding more beer if you would like it thinner. Taste the paste and adjust seasoning as needed.

3.Rub it on the chicken inside and out, under the skin if possible, making sure it does not get cut or broken.

4. Place chicken in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

5. Place chicken in roasting pan and put it in the oven for 2 hours on 350 degrees Fahrenheit

 

Peruvian Locro

 
 
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Potatoes, Buttercup Squash, Autumn Cup Squash, Butternut Squash – all these ingredients are ideal for Locro, a delicious Peruvian dish perfect for fall. Locro, or “Quechua Ruqru” in the Incan language, is a thick, hearty stew originating in the Andes, but popular in every region of Peru. It can be made with different types of squash or pumpkin.

My mom always made sure we had very nutritious meals at home and Locro definitely fits the bill. Its main components, squash or pumpkin, are great sources of potassium, niacin and iron as well as beta-carotene.

Locro is a simple, healthy and economical everyday dish and it’s great for vegetarians. You can serve it with rice but it also goes well with a piece of fried fish or just a simple salsa criolla (pickled onions in lime)

 

 

INGREDIENTS: 

Yields 6 servings

  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 medium spanish onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp aji amarillo paste
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 lb buttercup squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed (or pumpkin)
  • 1 lb autumn squash, peeled and cubed
  • 4 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • ½ cup fresh peas
  • ½ cup corn kernels, removed from the cob
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • ½ cup fresh white cheese or mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • 1 tsp chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
 
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STEPS

1. In a round, shallow pot, heat the oil over a medium flame and sauté the chopped onion until translucent.

 
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2. Add the garlic, aji amarillo paste, salt, pepper and cumin and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the buttercup squash, butternut squash, the autumn squash, potatoes, peas and corn.

3. Pour in half the vegetable stock, cover and reduce the heat to low.

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4. Simmer for about 30 minutes, adding remaining stock as necessary.

 
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5. Once all the ingredients are cooked, add the cheese and heavy cream and season to taste. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Enjoy!