Peruvian RecipesReports from the Field: Classic Peruvian Cuisine
Pisco Sour and ceviche have played such an important role in Peru’s culinary history that both the cocktail and raw fish dish have national holidays dedicated to them. There are variations to each depending on what area of the country you visit, but one thing is for certain, no visit to Peru is complete without sampling these flagship delicacies.
The five-star Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel, located at the base of the famed archaeological Inca site, offers classes to teach guests how to make its signature Pisco Sours and ceviche. During a 40-minute cooking demonstration, the hotel’s resident chef will walk you through the steps to prepare a traditional Pisco Sour and trout ceviche, which of course you get to dine on during the class.
There has been a long ongoing feud between Peru in Chile as to which country originally invented the Pisco Sour. Of course every Peruvian native lays claim to the grape brandy cocktail. The earliest mentions of the Pisco sour are found in a 1921 magazine attributing Victor Vaughen Morris, an American bar owner in Lima, as the initial inventor. One of Morris’ Peruvian bartenders, Mario Bruiget, adapted his recipe by adding Angostura bitters and egg whites, thus inventing the modern day Pisco Sour cocktail. By the 1940’s, Lima’s luxury hotels were slinging Pisco Sours to Hollywood icons like Ava Gardner and John Wayne and literary legends like Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles.
Place ingredients in a shaker (or blender) and shake for 10 seconds. Then, using a strainer, pour the contents into a glass. Finally, add 2 drops of Angostura bitter on top of the foam.
Peru’s most popular seafood dish is believed to date back to the coastal Moche civilization nearly 2000 years ago. They used a marinade of fermented banana and passion fruit juices to “cook” raw fish. When the Spanish colonists brought citrus fruits to Peru in the 1500’s, the natives began using lemons, limes and oranges to cure ceviche dishes. The modern version of Peruvian ceviche, which uses shorter marinating periods, was developed in the 1970’s by Peruvian-Japanese chefs who applied sashimi preparation techniques to the classic dish. Peruvian ceviche typically uses chunks of raw Corvina or Cebo (sea bass) served with spices, chili peppers, choclo (corn) and slices of cooked sweet potato. The Andean Sumaq recipe calls for river trout from Puno, the freshest fish in the region.
Boil the corn with a bit of anise, mixing it with half of the indicated amount of sugar, and to preserve its color, sprinkle a few drops of lime juice into the mixture.
Then, boil sweet potato previously peeled and cut into sticks together with the rest of the sugar until cooked. Marinate the trout in lemon, salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, cilantro, and onions cut into strips. After two minutes, marinate with morrón pepper.
Add a few cubes of ice to preserve its freshness and to lower the marinade’s acidity. Serve with corn and sweet potatoes, garnish with lettuce, onion, a slice of limo hot pepper cut into rings, and some threads of crispy sweet potato.