Typical Ingredients - Peru Food & Gastronomy

Quality cuisine in Peru draws from a wide variety of unique products that Peru has bequeathed to the world.

The rich Peruvian fishing grounds, the ancient agricultural techniques of the Andes and the rivers and cloud forest of the Amazon produce an endless variety of native ingredients which

come together to the peerless flavor and aroma of Peru's cooking.

The best-known Peruvian products both at home and abroad are tubers and cereals.

Potatoes have been grown in Peru since the dawn of time, and its 4,000 varieties have adapted to several different climates. Peruvians are particularly fond of the papa amarilla, a potato with a yellow interior not grown anywhere else on Earth. Other popular tubers include the Peruvian camote (sweet potato) which is used to garnish a variety of dishes, plus the yucca (manioc), olluco and oca. Peru is also home to more varieties of maize than anywhere else on Earth, some 35. Corn is cooked in many ways in Peru: on the cob, ground with a mortar and pestle, boiled, toasted, ground into the sweet mazamorra jelly and fermented into the chicha beverage. Native Andean cereals such as kiwicha (amaranth) and quinua are also highly regarded abroad for their nutritional qualities. Another major contribution of the Andes is the ají chili pepper. Some varieties such as the rocoto are used in spicy sauces, while others like the brightly-colored ají colorado are boiled and gutted to soften the hot chili pepper taste for use as a mild seasoning.

The Peruvian sea teems with over 700 fish species, from flounder to Pacific Bonito, and 400 types of shellfish, including lobsters and sea urchins. Highland lakes, meanwhile, offer superb trout fishing, while the enormous paiche fish species abounds in the jungle rivers.

Peru has also made a major contribution to the world's dessert trolley with four extraordinary fruit varieties: chirimoya, guanabana, granadilla and lucuma.

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